Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul today filed a lawsuit, alongside 48 attorneys general, against Avid Telecom, its owner Michael Lansky and vice-president Stacey S. Reeves, for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule and other federal and state telemarketing and consumer laws. Avid Telecom allegedly initiated, facilitated, and transmitted more than 7.5 billion illegal robocalls to millions of people on the National Do Not Call Registry. Between December 2018 and January 2023, more than 290 million of those calls were to Illinois residents.
Avid Telecom is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider that sells data, phone numbers and dialing software to help its customers make mass robocalls. It also serves as an intermediate provider and allegedly facilitated or helped route illegal robocalls across the country.
“Robocalls violate consumers’ privacy and unnecessarily cost them time and money. Companies responsible for this illegal practice must be held accountable,” Raoul said. “I am happy to work with fellow attorneys general addressing this problem in Illinois and will continue to protect consumers’ rights by fighting against these unlawful actions.”
Between December 2018 and January 2023, Avid sent or attempted to transmit more than 24.5 billion calls. 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 and private companies.
Avid Telecom 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.
The USTelecom-led Industry Traceback Group, which notifies providers about known and suspected illegal robocalls sent across their networks, sent at least 329 notifications to Avid Telecom that it was transmitting these calls. Avid Telecom allegedly continued the calls.
The legal action arises from the nationwide Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force Raoul joined in August 2022 along with 50 bipartisan 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 (FTC) and the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General provided investigative assistance in this matter.
Attorney General Raoul has been a consistent advocate for protections against illegal robocalls. In 2022, Raoul joined a coalition of 33 attorneys general in filing a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court defending the anti-robocall provisions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. In August 2019, Raoul joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from all 50 states and Washington D.C. in partnering with 12 phone companies to create a set of principles for telecom companies to fight robocalls. In June 2019, Raoul, in cooperation with the FTC, announced a major crackdown on robocalls that included 94 actions targeting operations around the country that were responsible for more than 1 billion calls. Raoul has also submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission urging the adoption of its proposed rules on enforcement against caller ID spoofing.
Joining Raoul in filing the lawsuit are the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.