By Ryan Velez
For most of us, the idea of making 100 million phone calls in your lifetime is difficult to fathom, let alone over the course of 3 months. Celebrity Net Worth tells the story of one Miami man who managed to nearly hit that number, but in doing so, he broke the law.
Adrian Abramovich is being accused of making 96 million illegal telemarketing robocalls over the course of three months. He is also being accused of tricking people into signing up for timeshares by altering caller ID systems, as well as sending people calls over lines meant for medical professionals and emergency services. The FCC is not treating this as any laughing matter, proposing giving Abramovich a massive $120 million fine, and calling the situation “one of the largest—and most dangerous – illegal robocalling campaigns that the Commission has ever investigated.”
Abramovich’s operation has been annoying and deceiving people for years, with people reporting that they would receive telemarketing calls saying that they could sign up for free trips and vacation offers through companies like TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Hilton. At this point, customers would be redirected to a call center where people got them to buy unrelated time shares. The scheme unraveled when TripAdvisor themselves got word that their name was being used in these schemes. The company ended up launching an investigation that would lead them to Abramovich’s company, Marketing Strategy Leaders. TripAdvisor would notify the FCC, and after obtaining his records, they realized he was responsible for over 1 million robocalls a day.
“On December 13, 2016, Bureau staff subpoenaed Abramovich’s call records for the three-month period from October 1, 2016, to December 31, 2016,” read FCC documents. “According to subpoena responses received by the Commission, Abramovich, purportedly doing business as Marketing Strategy Leaders, made 96,758,223 calls during this time period, averaging over a million calls a day.” Part of what enabled Abramovich to be so effective is using a technique called neighbor spoofing. This matches the caller’s area code to the victim’s location, increasing the likelihood of them picking up. Most of us think of telemarketing as a minor annoyance, but it’s easy to forget that if done in an unscrupulous manner, it can be a crime with actual victims. It makes sense that the FCC would want to make an example out of such a high-scale offender.