PROVIDENCE, RI — Tuesday, RI Attorney General Peter F. Neronha joined dozens of states suing Avid Telecom, its owner and vice president, alleging it initiated billions of illegal robocalls, violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule and Rhode Island’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Neronha is one of 48 state attorneys general suing the company Michael D. Lansky, LLC, doing busines under Avid Telecom, as well as its owner, Michael Lansky, and its vice president, Stacey S. Reeves, alleging the violations and violations of other federal telemarketing laws, Neronha’s office reported.
As alleged in the complaint, filed in the United Stated District Court for the District of Arizona, it is estimated that, between December 2018 and January 2023, Avid Telecom (Avid) sent or attempted to transmit a total of more than 24.5 billion calls nationwide, including more than 7.5 billion illegal robocalls to telephone numbers currently on the National Do Not Call Registry, and more than 25 million calls to Rhode Island.
“As alleged, this company knowingly sent millions upon millions of distracting, disruptive calls into Rhode Island,” said Neronha. “More than a mere annoyance, this problem is pervasive, it is a waste of resources, and it is against the law. Our Office is committed to protecting Rhode Islanders from this type of aggressive and illegal behavior, and this lawsuit with attorneys general across the country does just that.”
Avid is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider that sells data, phone numbers, dialing software, and/or expertise to help its customers make mass robocalls. It also serves as an intermediate provider and allegedly facilitated or helped route billions of illegal robocalls across the country. More than 90 percent of those calls lasted less than just 15 seconds, which indicates they were likely robocalls. Further, Avid helped make hundreds of millions of calls using spoofed or invalid caller ID numbers, including more than 8.4 million calls that appeared to be coming from government and law enforcement agencies, as well as private companies.
Avid allegedly sent or transmitted scam calls about Social Security Administration scams, Medicare scams, auto warranty scams, Amazon scams, DirecTV scams, credit card interest rate reduction scams, and employment scams. Examples of some of these scam calls in the illegal robocalls suit are available to listen to here and here.
The US Telecom-led Industry Traceback Group, which notifies providers about known and suspected illegal robocalls sent across their networks, sent at least 329 notifications to Avid that it was transmitting these calls, but Avid continued to do so.
Neronha’s legal action arises from the nationwide bipartisan Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force of 51 attorneys general. The task force is investigating and taking legal action against those responsible for routing significant volumes of illegal robocall traffic into and across the United States. The Federal Trade Commission and the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General provided investigative assistance in this matter.
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