The Federal Communications Commission dealt out its largest-ever fine to a robocall network in Florida responsible for close to 100 million calls over a period of three months last year.
The agency posed a $120 million fine against Miami resident Adrian Abramovich for flooding consumers with 96 million spoofed calls.
"The FCC is taking major, unprecedented action against what appears to be the most egregious neighbor-spoofing robocalling scheme that we have ever seen," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement.
Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, the only Democratic member of the FCC, said the $120 million penalty is the "largest in the FCC's history" and "shows just how serious we are in stamping out the largest spoofed robocall campaign we have yet to investigate."
The robocalling agency used a tactic known as "neighborhood spoofing," where consumers receive calls from area codes that match their own, which trick them into answering, thinking the call may be coming from someone they know, according to Pai.
"Upon answering a call, consumers are typically offered what appears to be an ‘exclusive' vacation deal offered by a well-known travel or hospitality company, like TripAdvisor, Expedia, Marriott, or Hilton," Paid said. "Consumers are prompted to 'Press 1' and are then transferred to a call center, where live operators give them the hard sell on low-quality vacation packages that have no relation to the companies previously referenced."
Citing Abramovich as anything but a passive member of the operation, Pai pointed out that the scam artist targeted the elderly, misleading them to spend up to thousands of dollars.
The scam also appears to have disrupted an emergency medical paging service by overloading its network.
"By overloading this paging network, Mr. Abramovich could have delayed vital medical care, making the difference between a patient's life ad death," Pai said.