Robocaller could be fined $10 million

The FCC has proposed the fine for a telemarketer whose robocalls spread misinformation about a political candidate.

A telemarketer could be fined almost $10M for a spoofed robocall scheme.
Josh Miller/CNET

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has suggested a robocall telemarketer be fined almost $10 million, after an investigation found he spoofed a competitor's phone number to spread misinformation about a candidate during California's 2018 primary election.

The $9,997,750 fine could be imposed on Kenneth Moser and his company Marketing Support Systems, with the FCC saying they made 47,610 spoofed robocalls over the course of two days in the lead-up to the election. The FCC's Enforcement Bureau found the calls contained pre-recorded false accusations against a state assembly candidate, and pretended to be coming from a rival telemarketing company called HomeyTel, which the FCC says Moser has "a long and contentious relationship" with.

HomeyTel received multiple complaints and a cease-and-desist letter from the political candidate, according to the FCC.

The manipulated caller ID info violated the Truth in Caller ID Act, with the FCC also finding Moser violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending over 11,000 pre-recorded messages to wireless phones.

The calls took place on May 30 and 31, 2018, from San Diego. The case was referred to the FCC by the California Secretary of State.

Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed a bill to help stop robocalls.