FTC, federal court halt alleged robocall operation

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A US District Court judge in Chicago has temporarily frozen the assets and stopped consumer-facing calls from SBN Peripherals. The Federal Trade Commission, which requested the action, says the company and associated organizations placed more than 370 million calls to US consumers in the past year.

The FTC said in a statement that it received tens of thousands of complaints about SBN robocalls in the past year. One telephone service provider told the FTC that SBN sent 2.4 million calls to customers on one day alone in April 2009, according to an agency statement.

Stephen Baker, the FTC's Midwest regional director, said the FTC sued Johan Hendrik Smit Duyzentkunst and Janneke Bakker-Smit Duyzentkunst, who ran an organization doing business as Asia Pacific Telecom, Asia Pacific Networks, Repo BV, SBN Peripherals and SBN Dials, to stop the calls. A judge issued a temporary restraining order against the defendants on May 26, but that order was sealed until June 10.

The FTC alleges that SBN identified itself as “sales department” on consumers' caller ID systems. The operation also used robocalls to contact many consumers on the National Do Not Call Registry, according to the FTC.

“We're looking for complaints, and we encourage people to call if they have one,” said Baker. “We would also urge marketers to not use illegal robocalls”

Calls seeking comment to a listed SBN phone number were not answered.

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