FCC names and shames Royal Tiger AI robocall crew

Agency is on the lookout for a Prince among men

The US Federal Communications Commission has named its first robocall gang, dubbing the crew "Royal Tiger," and detailed its operations in an attempt to encourage international action against the scammers.

Royal Tiger uses AI voice cloning to impersonate staff at government agencies, banks, and utilities. These robocalls purport to offer credit card interest rate reductions or fake purchase authorization orders. The gang also use spoofing techniques to obtain consumer's financial and other sensitive data, which then allows them to target individuals.

Because they didn't obtain consent from consumers, these calls violate the US Telephone Consumer Protection Act and/or Commission rules for robocalls to wireless telephone numbers, the FCC ruled.

The crew, comprised of individuals and voice service providers operating out of India, the UK, the United Arab Emirates and the USs, is led by an individual named as Prince Jashvantlal Anand and his associate Kaushal Bhavsar [PDF]. 

As with other robocall operations, Royal Tiger uses multiple companies and constantly shifting addresses to evade law enforcement, according to the agency .

Anand uses the alias "Frank Murphy," and has served as CEO of Illum Telecommunication and PZ Telecommunication, both of which are US-based companies operating on behalf of Royal Tiger, the FCC asserts. PZ Telecom maintains office locations in Anaheim, California, and Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. 

Bhavsar is the CEO of One Eye, another one of the US-based companies linked to the robocall operation, and director of Illum Telecommunication. The FCC enforcement bureau sent both Illum and PZ Telecommunication a cease and desist letter in October 2021.

It sent a similar letter to One Eye in February 2023, demanding the VoIP business stop serving as a gateway provider for illegal traffic. Then in May 2023, the FCC required downstream providers to block One Eye's traffic.

In addition to the US-based companies, Royal Tiger's UK affiliates include PZ Telecommunications UK, which dissolved in October 2021, UK Tell and Opulix Digital. Two of these, Illum Telecommunication and Opulix Digital Private, are also registered in India.

In addition to naming and shaming, the FCC also classified the Royal Tiger entities and individuals as a Consumer Communications Information Services Threat (C-CIST) because of the "significant" danger it poses to "consumer trust in the integrity of communications information services." [PDF]

"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 Egal, chief of the FCC enforcement bureau and chair of the Privacy and Data Protection Task Force in a statement [PDF].

"The C-CIST designation of Royal Tiger, and similar future designations, will assist industry stakeholders in better protecting their customers and their privacy," he added. ®

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