JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey joined a coalition of 48 states in filing suit against Avid Telecom, its owner Michael Lansky, and its vice president Stacey Reeves, for sending more than 7.5 billion calls to telephone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. The lawsuit alleges that Avid Telecom initiated and facilitated billions of illegal robocalls to millions of people, thereby violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and other federal and state telemarketing and consumer laws.
Attorney General Bailey has already filed suit against one of Avid Telecom’s customers. Avid Telecom assisted that customer in sending more than four billion robocalls between May 2019 and March 2021.
“I want to protect consumers, which is why my office is working to hold accountable those who illegally plague Missourians with unwanted phone calls,” said Attorney General Bailey. “Consumers have a right to be free from robocallers, as codified in both state and federal law. My office’s Consumer Protection team will continue to fight this unlawful communication scheme with every tool at its disposal.”
Avid Telecom is an Arizona-based Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider that sells data, phone numbers, dialing software, and 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 fewer than 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 from private companies.
The attorneys general assert that Avid Telecom 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.
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 51 bipartisan attorneys general. The task force investigates and takes legal action against those responsible for routing significant volumes of illegal robocall traffic into and across the United States.
Attorney General Bailey is joined in filing today’s complaint by the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, 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.
Missourians who receive unwanted calls can fill out the form to be placed on both the federal and state No-Call List at ago.mo.gov and can report violations of this list to the AGO at (800) 392-8222.