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Five companies selling anti-virus software must pay over $640,000 for making telemarketing calls to Canadians
March 10, 2016 – Ottawa–Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer today issued Notices of Violation to three Canadian-based companies and two Indian-based call centres with penalties totalling $643,500. The notices allege that the five companies failed to respect the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules.
The CRTC’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer launched an investigation in response to complaints filed by Canadians. The investigation revealed that the telemarketers made calls to Canadians whose phone numbers are registered on the National Do Not Call List (DNCL), during which they falsely identified themselves as representatives of Microsoft Inc., the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or Government of Canada officials.
The telemarketers were attempting to sell anti-virus software to Canadians. During some calls, the telemarketers asked to be given remote access to the home owner’s computer under the pretext of removing viruses and other malicious software.
In addition, the companies made unsolicited telemarketing calls without being registered with the National DNCL operator, and without having purchased a subscription to the list.
As part of its investigation, in November 2015, the CRTC for the first time executed a warrant to enter and inspect a property serving as one of the companies’ base of operations in Brampton, ON.
In the Notices of Violation issued to the three Canadian-based companies, the penalty amounts set out are:
- Thee Future Web Ltd. – $194,000
- 8166200 Canada Inc. – $76,000
- NextGen Webstore Ltd. – $56,000
The companies have 30 days to either pay the penalty or file representations to the CRTC.
The Notices of Violation issued to the two India-based call centres are currently with the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation for service on the two companies. One Notice of Violation is accompanied with a penalty of $292,000 and the other $25,500.
Once served, the Indian-based companies will have 30 days to either pay the penalty or file representations to the CRTC.
The CRTC received the collaboration of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Peel Regional Police, the Forensic Accounting Management Group (Public Works and Government Services Canada), the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement in India.
To date, the CRTC’s investigations have resulted in almost $6.5 million in penalties, which are remitted to the Receiver General for Canada.
About the National Do Not Call List
The National DNCL was launched in 2008 to protect Canadians from unsolicited telecommunications. Canadians may register permanently on the List at no charge. Over 13 million numbers are currently registered on the List.
Canadians can register their numbers, verify whether a number is on the List or file a complaint about a telemarketer by calling 1-866-580-DNCL (3625) or visiting www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca
- Three Canadian-based companies and two Indian-based call centers were issued Notices of Violation with penalties totaling $643,500 for violating the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules.
- The Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules are a set of strict rules that individuals, companies and organizations must follow when making telemarketing calls.
- The CRTC is committed to protecting Canadians and is continuing to enhance its monitoring to ensure that all telemarketers follow the Rules.
- The CRTC can discuss corrective actions with individuals, firms or organizations engaged in telemarketing, which may lead to a settlement that includes a penalty and other corrective measures.
- The CRTC can also issue warnings and citations, conduct inspections and issue notices of violation.
- Canadians who suspect that an unsolicited telemarketing call may be fraudulent are encouraged to report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
“When making calls to Canadians, companies must follow the telemarketing rules, regardless of where they are located. As this investigation shows, we are prepared to use all the tools at our disposal to protect Canadians from unwanted telemarketing calls which originate in Canada or abroad. We would like to extend our appreciation to the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation for their assistance in this matter.
In the spirit of Fraud Prevention Month, the CRTC reminds Canadians that they should be careful about providing confidential personal information, especially banking or credit card details, to callers. If you have doubts about a caller, your best defence is to simply hang up.ˮ
Manon Bombardier, CRTC Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer
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Toll-free 1 (877) 249-CRTC (2782)
TTY (819) 994-0423
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