WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb today joined a bipartisan coalition of 49 Attorneys General in suing Michael D. Lansky, LLC, which does business under the name Avid Telecom, along with its owner Michael Lansky, and its vice president Stacey S. Reeves, for allegedly initiating and facilitating billions of illegal robocalls to millions of people in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and other federal and state telemarketing and consumer laws. Avid Telecom sent or transmitted more than 7.5 billion calls to telephone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. Between December 2018 and January 2023 approximately 8.6 million of those calls were to numbers in the District.
“Robocalls are not only disruptive, unwelcome, and annoying. They result in scamming millions of consumers out of tens of billions of dollars every year. Avid Telecom was repeatedly notified to cease facilitating illegal, harmful robocalls but refused to take any preventive action,” said AG Schwalb. “Now, our office and forty-eight other Attorneys General are suing to protect consumers in the District and across the country from scammers and con artists who use illegal robocalls to take their hard-earned money. We are proud to stand with our state AG colleagues in sending a message that illegal robocalling and consumer scamming will not be tolerated.”
Avid Telecom is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider that sells data, phone numbers, and dialing software that allow its customers make mass robocalls. It also serves as an intermediate provider that allegedly facilitated or helped route illegal robocalls across the country. Between December 2018 and January 2023, Avid sent or attempted to transmit more than 24.5 billion calls. More than 90 percent of those calls lasted less than just 15 seconds. Further, Avid helped make hundreds of millions of calls using spoofed or invalid caller ID numbers, including more than 8.4 million calls that appeared to be coming from government and law enforcement agencies, as well as private companies.
In an attempt to lure in consumers, Avid Telecom allegedly sent or transmitted scam calls about Social Security Administration scams, Medicare scams, auto warranty scams, Amazon scams, DirecTV scams, credit card interest rate reduction scams, and employment scams. Examples of some of these scam calls are available to listen to here and here.
The USTelecom-led Industry Traceback Group, which notifies providers about known and suspected illegal robocalls sent across their networks, sent at least 329 notifications to Avid Telecom that it was transmitting these calls, but Avid Telecom continued to do so.
Today’s legal action arises from the nationwide Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force of bipartisan attorneys general. The task force is investigating and taking legal action against those responsible for routing significant volumes of illegal robocall traffic into and across the United States. The Federal Trade Commission and the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General provided investigative assistance in this matter.
Attorney General Schwalb is joined in filing today’s complaint by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
A copy of the complaint is available here.
This matter was handled by Emily Barth, AAG, Office of Consumer Protection and supervised by Adam Teitelbaum, Director, Office of Consumer Protection, and Jenn Rimm, Deputy Directory Office of Consumer Protection
OAG’s Efforts to Combat Robocalls
This partnership is part of the OAG’s ongoing efforts to help stem the tide of pre-recorded robocalls. In 2018, OAG joined a bipartisan coalition of 35 attorneys general in urging the FCC to strengthen protections against robocalls. In 2019, OAG joined a group of attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission in a public education campaign called “Operation Call it Quits,” teaching consumers how to stop unwanted calls on a mobile phone, on a landline, and if they’re home phone uses the internet. In November 2021, OAG joined the Attorneys General of all 50 states in supporting the FCC’s efforts to reduce robocalls. In January, 2022 OAG joined a bipartisan group of attorneys general calling on the FCC to crack down on international robocalls to help protect residents from scams and harassment. OAG is also a member, along with other state AG offices and federal agencies, of the national Robocall Working Group.
OAG works to educate District residents about their rights regarding robocall scams, responds to individual consumer complaints, and takes appropriate enforcement action when possible. Learn more about your rights and how to avoid telemarketing scams.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a telemarketing scam, you can submit a consumer complaint online at https://oag.dc.gov/consumer-protection/submit-consumer-complaint, or call the OAG Consumer Hotline at 202.442.9828.