For several months last year, I received more robot calls than there are fruit flies in a banana republic. I let them ring without answering and, recently, they’ve stopped. I don’t know if ignoring them is the reason, but I’m grateful for the silence. To say these interruptions were annoying is like saying perpetual nausea is annoying — an understatement.
Recently, one robot-call king was caught for his misdeeds and justice delivered. Personally, I believe the proposed fine is far too lenient. (“Press 1 To Hear More,” by Alex Palmer, Wired, April 2019, pg. 87-95.) The guy had floated 96,758,233 robot calls before being stopped. And, he’d probably still be at his game if one of his victims hadn’t been a computer nerd.
Tripping up people who profit from this kind of scamming is difficult. Equipment to set up robot-calls is cheap, and the machinery provides numerous ways to cover a trail. But the nerd, wanting vengeance, kept up his investigation until he found a thread and turned it over to the authorities. The trail led to a fancy brick home in a gated community in Florida. When a sheriff eventually arrived with a court summons, the resident slammed the door in the officer’s face. Naturally, the sheriff was unhappy. The next day, he returned with three squad cars for backup, their sirens blaring. As armed men leaped from their cars and stormed up the driveway, the neighbors’ curtains fluttered with curiosity.
Not long afterward, Adrian Abramovich, the robot-call king, appeared before the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC). Now, he awaits the outcome, which is said will cost him $120 million in fines. (ibid pg. 93.) Abramovich insists he’s too poor to pay that kind of money. He also insists he is being treated unfairly and that no one cares.
As to his last complaint, I’m sure he’s right. Most of his victims would do more than levy a fine if justice were left to them. I’m guessing they’d strap him into a chair, as well, and force him to listen to 96,758, 233 robot calls.