You may have received them late at night or while at work, robocalls have become a consistent issue locally, across the state and the nation.
Now, Oregon is taking action against one company that Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said initiated billions of illegal robocalls.
Rosenblum has sued Michael D. Lansky, LLC, which does business under the name Avid Telecom, 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.
What the lawsuit claims
Avid Telecom sent or transmitted more than 7.5 billion calls to telephone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, according to a release from Rosenblum.
“Robocalls are annoying, intrusive — and they are also downright dangerous,” Rosenblum said. “We are glad to be part of this lawsuit as this issue affects every one of us— particularly older Oregonians who are more likely to be preyed upon by scammers and predatory businesses that engage in robo-calling.”
The legal action arises from the bipartisan nationwide Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force of 51 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.
Avid Telecom is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider that sells data, phone numbers, dialing software, and/or expertise to help its customers make mass robocalls. It also serves as an intermediate provider and 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, which indicates they were likely robocalls. 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.
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.
This suit is not the only action to crack down on robo-callers being taken by Attorney General Rosenblum’s office. The Oregon Department of Justice is supporting legislation sponsored by Representative Paul Holvey (D-Eugene) to help combat illegal robocalls that originate outside the United States. The Attorney General is urging the Oregon Senate to pass House Bill 2759, which the Oregon House passed in April.
HB 2759 will amend Oregon’s anti-robocall statutes so that telemarketing companies who carry traffic they know (or consciously avoid knowing) is illegal are liable for those calls to the same extent as if they originated the call themselves.
“Currently it is illegal under Oregon law to call someone on the do-not-call list or to make scam robocalls,” Rosenblum said. “But because so many of these calls come from overseas it can be nearly impossible to hold the call originators accountable under Oregon’s current statute. HB 2759 will help close that legal gap.”
To learn more about how to report robocalls and what you can do about them, check out the Oregon DOJ’s new information sheet, “Tired of Robocalls?”
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