FCC designates ‘Royal Tiger’ robocalling ring as a threat to consumers

C-CIST classification identifies an international robocalling group dubbed ‘Royal Tiger’ as a consumer threat

For the first time, the Federal Communications Commission is designating a persistent international calling fraudster ring as a threat to consumers, in an action meant to help telcos target its scam calls and prevent them from reaching intended targets.

The federal watchdog is classifying a group of entities and individuals that it is calling “Royal Tiger” as as a Consumer Communications Information Services Threat (C-CIST). The classification, as described by the FCC, is “an additional tool that allows the Bureau to formally name threat actors that are repeatedly using U.S. communications networks to perpetuate the most harmful, illegal schemes against consumers.” The agency called Royal Tiger a “repeat robocall bad actor” and said that such perpetrators often use multiple companies, shifting addresses and names, and complicated corporate structures to try to evade detection or enforcement.

According to the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, the Royal Tiger group and its associates operate in India, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S., with its U.S. companies identified as PZ Telecommunication LLC, Illum Telecommunication Limited and One Eye LLC, all of which are led by an individual named Prince Jashvantlal Anand who has also used the alias Frank Murphy, and an associate named Kaushal Bhavsar, who appears to maintain a residence in India and may have previously resided in Delaware.

Identifying the known individuals and companies associated with Royal Tiger in a public notice can help telecom service providers to figure if those parties are using their networks and block the associated traffic.

The Royal Tiger fraud calls themselves involve impersonation of banks, utility companies and government agencies, sometimes claiming to need purchase authorization for orders supposedly placed by the targeted individual, or offering fake credit card interest reduction deals in order to get individuals’ personal financial information.

“The Bureau classifies a party as a C-CIST when the party’s misconduct—in either nature or scope—poses a significant threat to consumer trust in the integrity of communications information services,” the FCC said in a release, adding: “Impersonation calls are particularly nefarious because they can result in substantial financial loss and erode public trust in the telecommunications network.”

“As our investigative targets use more and more sophisticated and clandestine means such as generative AI voice-cloning technology and ‘spoofing’ to obtain sensitive data and defraud consumers, the C-CIST classification tool will allow us to better coordinate with our state, federal, and global regulatory and law enforcement partners to take on these bad actors,” said Loyaan A. Egal, who is chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau and chair of the Privacy and Data Protection Task Force. He added: “The C-CIST designation of Royal Tiger, and similar future designations, will assist industry stakeholders in better protecting their customers and their privacy.”

“We can’t keep playing whack-a-mole to shut down bad actors who keep creating new companies so they can spam us with robocalls. I’m grateful to the FCC for being a close partner in our efforts to put a stop to these nuisance calls,” said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, the founder of the state attorneys general Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force.

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