Pa. AG Henry gets tough with telemarketers in recent lawsuits; joins national effort

‘Robocall scams are not just an annoyance, they are illegal. And they are used to take advantage of our most vulnerable populations,’ Attorney General Michelle Henry said

By: - May 24, 2023 2:34 pm

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Just four months after taking office, state Attorney General Michelle Henry is taking a zealous stance against telemarketers who repeatedly call Pennsylvanians on the “Do-Not-Call” list. 

Pa. Attorney General Michelle Henry (Commonwealth Media Services photo).

Days after reaching a $250,000 settlement with New York based Fluent LLC and its subsidiaries that allegedly placed millions of calls to Pennsylvania residents, Henry announced a suit against  Avid Telecom and top executives from the company, alleging that it initiated and facilitated billions of illegal robocalls to millions of Americans. 

“Robocall scams are not just an annoyance, they are illegal — and they are used to take advantage of our most vulnerable populations,” Henry said in a statement. “Pennsylvanians have made it clear that robocalls are not welcome here, and I am proud to stand with my colleague attorneys general to announce this important action in the fight against illegal robocalls.” 

Henry joined with attorneys general in 47 other states and Washington D.C in the action against Avid Telecom. It was filed in the United States District Court in the District of Arizona.

The company sells data and phone numbers to its customers to help customers make mass robocalls. Henry’s office said in a statement that between December 2018 and January 2023, Avid Telecom either sent or tried to send more than 24.5 billion calls, most of which lasted less than 15 seconds

The calls alleged to be Social Security Administration, Medicare and auto warranty companies, among other scams. Henry’s office provided recordings of Medicare rewards and Social Security scam calls that attempted to obtain personal information. The lawsuit is pending.

In a statement, the company refuted the charges, CNBC reported.

“Contrary to the allegations in the complaint, Avid Telecom operates in a manner that is compliant with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations,” Avid said in the statement, according to CNBC. “The company has never been found by any court or regulatory authority to have transmitted unlawful traffic and it is prepared to meet with the Attorneys General, as it has on many occasions in the past, to further demonstrate its good faith and lawful conduct.”

On May 19,, Henry announced the settlement with Fluent LLC, which allegedly caused millions of unwanted telemarketing calls to be placed in Pennsylvania. The company sent fraudulent promotional offers to Pennsylvanians, asking them for personal information including telephone numbers which were sold to telemarketing companies, Henry’s office said in a statement.. 

Information gathered by Fluent LLC included the numbers of thousands of people on both the Pennsylvania and Federal “Do Not Call” lists. 

“‘Do Not Call’ means just that, and my office will continue to do all we can to aggressively target those who illegally cross the boundaries,” Henry said. “Millions of people registering for gift cards or other prizes with familiar retailers had no idea they were also signing up for invasive telemarketing calls.” 

The settlement prevents Fluent and its subsidiaries from contacting Pennsylvanians on the “Do Not Call” list or selling, transferring, and sharing data that would result in consumers receiving a pre-recorded call. 

The court-ordered $250,000 that Fluent will pay to the Office of Attorney General will be used for public protection and educational purposes.

The National Association of Consumer Advocacy provides recommendations and information on illegal telemarketing calls and robocalls. To report phone and scam texts, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website. 

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