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The CRTC takes action against telemarketers offering anti-virus software

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, October 3, 2012 — Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) took enforcement action against two companies based in India for breaking Canada’s telemarketing rules. The CRTC is requiring Pecon Software Limited and Avaneesh Software Private Limited to put a stop to their current telemarketing practices and to pay $495,000 and $12,000, respectively, in monetary penalties. The CRTC also conducted inspections as part of this ongoing investigation.

The CRTC found that these companies were making unsolicited telemarketing calls to Canadians who had registered their numbers on the National Do Not Call List. The caller would typically warn consumers that their home computer was infected with a virus and encouraged them to purchase online technical support or anti-virus software. In certain cases, the callers would request remote access to the computer.

 “Foreign-based telemarketers have been put on notice that they must comply with our rules when calling Canadians,” said Andrea Rosen, the CRTC’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer. “Canadians who receive these types of unsolicited calls are encouraged to file a complaint and should never give an unsolicited caller access to their computers or personal information.”

The CRTC’s investigation was part of a broader strategy involving close collaboration with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Australian Communications and Media Authority.Today, the FTC announced that it has filed a complaint in U.S. federal district court against the American office of one of the Indian companies involved in this investigation.

“We were pleased to work alongside the FTC during its investigation and we applaud its efforts to curb unsolicited calls from foreign-based telemarketers,” Ms. Rosen added. “Tracking down individuals and companies who violate telemarketing rules is a global problem. The coordinated actions taken by our agencies today send a strong message that telemarketers cannot use national borders to evade detection or pursuit by enforcement agencies.” 

About the CRTC’s enforcement measures

The CRTC applies the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules in order to reduce unwanted calls to Canadians. According to its enforcement process, the CRTC can take corrective action with telemarketers, issue warnings and citations, conduct inspections and issue notices of violation. To date, the CRTC’s efforts have yielded over $2.5 million in penalties and over $740,000 in payments to post-secondary institutions.

The CRTC also serves as co-chair of the International Do Not Call Network. This network facilitates cooperation among its members, which consists of a dozen agencies that enforce telemarketing rules in their respective countries. Members meet annually to establish best practices and encourage the development of robust telemarketing laws around the globe.

About the National Do Not Call List

The National Do Not Call List (DNCL) was launched in 2008 to shield Canadians from unsolicited telemarketing calls and faxes. Canadians may register on the National DNCL at no charge or file a complaint about a telemarketer by calling 1-866-580-DNCL (3625) or visiting www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca. Once a number is added to the National DNCL, telemarketers have 31 days to update their calling lists. Over 11 million numbers are currently registered on the list.

The CRTC

The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.

 

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