- The Washington Times - Friday, July 22, 2022

The Federal Communications Commission has ordered phone companies to stop carrying the traffic of a robocall scam hawking auto warranties.

The agency announced an order to all U.S. voice service providers on Wednesday to stop carrying the traffic of a robocall operation involving “Roy Cox Jr., Aaron Michael Jones, their Sumco Panama companies, and international associates.”

The FCC specified in its press release that, “The robocalls include … prompts to speak with a ‘warranty specialist’ about extending or reinstating their car warranty.”

The FCC initially contacted eight service providers with cease-and-desist letters to stop carrying this traffic on July 7. These companies’ nonresponse prompted the FCC to order all service providers to refuse the robocalls.

Mr. Cox, Mr. Jones and their international partners are accused of “making more than eight billion unlawful pre-recorded message calls to American consumers since at least 2018,” according to the FCC’s order.

The group is also accused of hiding its true caller identification from recipients by making it appear as if the calls originated locally. This practice is known as “neighbor spoofing.”

The FCC order states that “the Cox/Jones/Sumco Panama Operation purchased nearly 500,000 numbers from at least 229 area codes in November and December 2020 apparently to make the calls appear to consumers as if they were originating locally.”

Up to this point, Mr. Cox, Mr. Jones, and their co-conspirators were still sending out millions of illegal robocalls on a daily basis.

In addition to this order, the robocall operation is also subject to an FCC Enforcement Bureau investigation and a lawsuit from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

In a press release on July 7, Mr. Yost said, “Our lives are plagued by robocalls like a swarm of flies. This particular operation prompted more than 1,600 unwanted-call complaints to my office. It’s time to get out the fly swatter.”

FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel agreed, saying, “billions of auto warranty robocalls [came] from a single calling campaign.”

“Auto warranty scams are one of the top complaints we get from consumers and it’s time to hold those responsible for making these junk calls,” she said.

• Brad Matthews can be reached at bmatthews@washingtontimes.com.

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