Joint state, federal initiative to combat illegal telemarketing 

According to a recent press release, Attorney General Josh Kaul with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and other law enforcement partners nationwide, including attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, announced a new crackdown on illegal telemarketing targeting operations responsible for billions of calls to U.S. consumers.

The joint state and federal “Operation Stop Scam Calls” initiative builds on the efforts of Wisconsin and other state and federal partners to combat illegal telemarketing, including robocalls. This initiative targets telemarketers and the companies that hire them as well as lead generators who deceptively collect and provide consumers’ telephone numbers to robocallers and others, falsely representing that these consumers have consented to receive calls. It also targets Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers who facilitate tens of billions of illegal robocalls every year, which often originate overseas.

As part of Operation Stop Scam Calls, Wisconsin announced Attorney General Josh Kaul sued 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 and violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and other federal and state telemarketing and consumer laws.

In addition to the law enforcement actions announced today, the FTC has a variety of English and Spanish materials aimed at helping consumers block unwanted telemarketing calls. The FTC also has a new educational webpage that includes examples of real illegal robocalls and steps people can take to avoid robocall scams.

To learn more about scams and how to file a complaint against an illegal telemarketing call, contact the DATCP Hotline.