FCC Proposes $13 Million Fine for Provocative Robocalls

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a fine of nearly $13 million against an Idaho man for organizing the placement of thousands of allegedly racist and anti-Semitic robocalls.

According to a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture issued in late January, Scott Rhodes apparently made more than 6000 unlawful spoofed robocalls to residents in at least six states between May and December 2018. The calls reportedly targeted voters in districts during political campaigns, or residents living in communities that had recently experienced events “related to or involving white nationalism, immigration or other public controversies.”

The calls directed recipients to a website called “theroadtopower,” which contained several videos featuring Rhodes providing commentary similar to that contained in robocalls.

Following complaints from consumers in the targeted areas, the FCC Enforcement Bureau traced the robocalls to a specific dialing platform that identified Rhodes as the originator of the calls. Rhodes reportedly altered his caller ID information so as to appear to be a local resident of the targeted areas, which is illegal under the Truth in Caller ID Act.

The FCC says that the proposed fine against Rhodes is part of its effort to crack down on unlawful robocalls by taking action against the most egregious spoofing schemes.

Read the Commission’s Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture in connection with Rhodes.

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