But they’re not the only persistent ones. The FTC’s contribution to Operation Call it Quits includes four new cases against 22 individuals and corporations and court orders in three pending actions. Here’s the low-down on the operators the FTC says inundated consumers with illegal calls.First Choice Horizon. According to the FTC, nine defendants operated a labyrinth of operations that used robocalls to pitch bogus offers of credit card interest rate reductions to cash-strapped consumers, including many whose numbers were on the National Do Not Call Registry. Claiming during the calls to “confirm” consumers’ identities, the defendants allegedly tricked people into turning over personal financial information and then often opened credit card accounts in their names. A federal court in Florida has entered a temporary restraining order and granted the FTC’s request for an asset freeze and the appointment of a receiver.8 Figure Dream Lifestyle.The FTC has sued nine defendants for allegedly dishing up a deceptive stew of illegal robocalls, live calls, text messages, online ads, email, social media, and live events to pitch purported money-making opportunities under the names 8 Figure Dream Lifestyle and Online Entrepreneur Academy. Often claiming people could make between $5,000 to $10,000 in just two weeks, the defendants allegedly bilked them out of thousands of dollars, leaving many consumers even deeper in debt. A California court has entered a temporary restraining order and frozen the defendants’ assets.Derek Jason Bartoli. When it comes to illegal robocalls, teamwork makes the scheme work and the FTC continues to take action against behind-the-scenes players. The FTC alleges one go-to guy was defendant Bartoli, who developed and operated autodialers to blast out robocalls. In one six-month period, Bartoli sent more than 57 million illegal calls, often using fake Caller ID information. A proposed settlement bans him for life from robocalling, prohibits other practices, and imposes a $2.1 million penalty, which will be suspended based on his financial condition. Media Mix 365. The three defendants in this case called consumers to develop leads for home solar energy companies, but according to the FTC, their conduct was shady. The complaint alleges they called millions of numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, frequently with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass consumers. One number received more than 1,000 calls in a single year. To settle the case, the defendants are permanently banned from robocalling and from engaging in other illegal conduct. The $7.6 million civil penalty will be suspended after a payment of $264,000. Of course, illegal calls have a human cost, too. A recent report recounted the potentially life-threatening impact robocalls are having on hospital phone lines. And businesses tell us that staff time and resources are wasted by intrusive calls. That’s why a total of 45 federal, state, and local partners are spreading the word from coast to coast about three key steps consumers can take to help reduce unwanted calls: Hang up. Block. Report.Hang up. If you pick up the phone and get a recorded sales pitch, hang up. The call is illegal. Don’t speak to them. Don’t press a button to supposedly remove your name from a list. (That could result in even more calls.) Hang up. Furthermore, alert your employees that if they see a call that says it’s from the IRS or Social Security Administration, don’t trust it. Scammers know how to fake the Caller ID information. Block. You can reduce the number of unwanted calls you get by using call-blocking technologies. Visit ftc.gov/calls for advice, depending on the type of phone service you have.Report. After you hang up, report the unwanted or illegal call to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The more information we have about the call, the better we can target our law enforcement efforts. The FTC and state and federal partners teamed up today to announce Operation Call it Quits, the latest salvo in the ongoing fight against robocalls and other illegal telemarketing.