The FTC took a step this week in cracking down on the widespread—and annoying—problem of illegally spamming robocalls. The agency stopped and fined four prolific robospamming operations, which had been using automatic dialers to flood customers with billions of predatory calls, reports Gizmodo. The FTC announced that Higher Goals Marketing, Veterans of America, Pointbreak Media, and NetDotSolutions agreed to settle up over alleged robocall schemes. One (NetDot) had been responsible for over a billion calls a year, according to the FTC. Veterans of America had allegedly been scamming people into donating to the fake charity, even securing boats and cars that were then sold.
"It’s a noteworthy step, but it’s only one small piece of solving the robocall problem," writes Adi Robertson of the Verge. The court order imposed millions of dollars of fines on the four companies, which had been aggressively pitching everything from auto warranties to home security systems. Pointbreak's robocalls suggested the company represented Google, and the calls warned businesses that their search results might suffer unless they paid a sum. (John Oliver was doing some robocalls of his own.)