10/03/2012 01:27 EDT | Updated 12/03/2012 05:12 EST

CRTC fines telemarketers for do-not-call violations

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission took legal action Wednesday against two Indian companies for breaking Canada’s telemarketing rules.

They found Pecon Software Limited and Avaneesh Software Private Limited guilty of making unsolicited telemarketing calls to Canadians who had registered their numbers on the National Do Not Call List. The companies have been fined $495,000 and $12,000, respectively, and have been required to stop all calls immediately.

An investigation carried out by the CRTC alleges these companies would contact consumers and falsely warn them that their home computer was infected with a virus. They would then encourage them to purchase online technical support or anti-virus software, and in some cases even 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.

U.S. and Australia also investigate

The investigation was launched in collaboration with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Australian Communications and Media Authority. The FTC announced Wednesday 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," 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."

The CRTC is warning Canadians about the dangers of providing personal information over the phone and encouraging anyone that receives these types of calls to file a complaint immediately.