Culture

Justice Department gets tough on robocalls with two court cases

These calls target vulnerable people and cause financial destruction.

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The Justice Department is getting tougher on robocallers and their enablers. According to The Wall Street Journal, prosecutors have named two telecommunication carriers in a case alleging they allowed millions of scam robocalls, most coming from India, to harass people.

In specific, the Justice Department seeks court orders to restrain the New York and Arizona companies. The publication noted that the legal action seems unprecedented in nature. The case has yet to specify what kind of penalties these companies could face if they continue allowing these calls. But based on the kind of robocall legislation the Congress passed in 2019, bad actors can expect criminal charges if they don't straighten up.

Financial harm — Per CNET, the Justice Department's Civil Division Assistant Attorney General Jody H. Hunt stated in a press call on Tuesday, "Each year, fraudsters steal hundreds of millions of dollars from consumers." A worrying number of these calls go out under fake IDs under Social Security and the IRS. In millions of cases, elderly Americans become victims of these fraudulent calls and have naturally started to avoid picking up their phones out of stress and fear.

During the press call, Hunt stated that telecommunication carriers were aware of the questionable nature of the calls and still allowed them to go forward. "[They] pass along hundreds of millions of calls every month," Hunt accused, "despite knowing of the calls' fraudulent nature."

Threatening the vulnerable — As CNET noted, many of these fraudsters ensnare their victims by claiming that these calls are being issued by Social Security and the IRS.

In some cases, these scam robocalls have pressured people to transfer cash or risk deportation or arrest. Not knowing what to do, many have capitulated to their demands. It is undoubtedly a source of mental distress and agony for everyday people. Hopefully, prosecutors send a clear message to all telecommunication companies with this case.