Networking, Content

FTC Issues VoIP Service Provider Warnings

VoIP service providers need to block coronavirus-related scam robocalls, or those providers risk losing access to the U.S. telecommunications network, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warned today.

The agencies sent warning letters to three VoIP service providers:

  1. SIPJoin, which has an agent partner program;
  2. Connexum (homepage unknown); and
  3. VoIP Terminator/BLMarketing, which has a reseller program.

Cease and Desist: The Background

The VoIP service providers must stop routing and transmitting scam robocall traffic related to Coronavirus, and request that they cease these actions immediately or face potential law enforcement actions.

“The FTC will not stand for illegal robocallers that harm the public, particularly in the middle of a health crisis,” said Chairman Joe Simons. “These warning letters make clear that VoIP providers who help illegal robocallers prey on fears surrounding the Coronavirus are squarely in our sights.”

“When it comes to scam robocalls, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. These phone companies need to cut off this traffic and protect consumers from these scams. The choice is simple: Move forward as responsible network providers or see themselves cut off from the phone system,” warned FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

FTC: Earlier Warnings to VoIP Service Providers

The FTC has been cracking down on VoIP service providers for alleged missteps.

  • The FTC on March 27 sent nine warning letters to VoIP service providers and other companies, warning them that they may be assisting illegal telemarketing relating to the Coronavirus. The letters were sent to VoIPMax; SipJoin Holding, Corp.; iFly Communications;Third Rock Telecom; Bluetone Communications, LLC; VoIP Terminator, Inc., also known as BLMarketing; J2 Web Services, Inc.; VoxBone US LLC; and Comet Media, Inc.
  • In January, FTC sent letters to 19 VoIP service providers warning them that “assisting and facilitating” illegal telemarketing or robocalling is against the law.
  • In addition, the FTC recently brought claims against a VoIP service provider called Globex Telecom.

The FTC may take legal action independently if it finds VoIP service providers or others are assisting a seller or telemarketer who they know, or consciously avoid knowing, is violating the agency’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), the organization said.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.