U.S. files lawsuits over robocall scams, cites 'massive financial losses'
By David Shepardson and Diane Bartz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S.
By David Shepardson and Diane Bartz
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government on Tuesday sued five U.S. companies and three individuals, alleging they were behind hundreds of millions of fraudulent robocalls that scammed elderly Americans and others into "massive financial losses."
The U.S. Justice Department lawsuits said most of the calls originated in India and used voice over internet protocol (VoIP) carriers, which use internet connections instead of traditional copper phone lines.
The companies named in the suits include Tollfreedeals.com, Global Voicecom Inc., Global Telecommunication Services Inc and KAT Telecom Inc. The Justice Department said the robocalls led to "massive financial losses to elderly and vulnerable victims across the nation."
U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue, who overseas the Eastern District of New York office, said that for the first time, the Justice Department was targeting "U.S.-based enablers" and seeking temporary restraining orders to block further calls. The government said the firms were warned numerous times they were carrying fraudulent robocalls.
Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a measure aimed at cracking down on the billions of irritating and deceptive robocalls that Americans receive.
The companies did not respond to requests for comment.
The Justice Department said calls facilitated by "gateway carriers" had "falsely threatened victims with a variety of catastrophic government actions, including termination of social security benefits, imminent arrest for alleged tax fraud and deportation for supposed failure to fill out immigration forms correctly."
The Justice Department alleged TollFreeDeals.com carried 720 million calls during one 23-day period, and that more than 425 million of those calls lasted less than one second, which suggests they were robocalls.
The government said in a court filing Tuesday that "with little more than off the shelf VoIP technology, an autodialer and a business relationship with a gateway carriers, any individual or entity with a broadband internet connection can introduce unlimited numbers of robocalls into the U.S. telephone system from any location in the world."
Robocall frauds are a significant issue. In 2019, the Federal Trade Commission received nearly 400,000 complaints allegedly imposter fraud claims of $152.9 million, which the Justice Department said "substantially underestimates the extent" of fraud because many do not report losses.
(Reporting by David Shepardson and Diane Bartz; Editing by David Gregorio)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.