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[ATG] AG Zoeller urges Congress to pass HANGUP Act, ban all robocalls to cell phones
Start Date: 2/10/2016 All Day
End Date: 2/10/2016
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller today urged the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to pass the ‘‘Help Americans Never Get Unwanted Phone calls Act of 2015’’ or the ‘‘HANGUP” Act. The Act would repeal a recent amendment to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) allowing debt collection robocalls to peoples’ cell phones. 

In a letter, Zoeller and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, along with 23 state attorneys general, called on the Committee to defend the telephone privacy rights of citizens by passing the HANGUP Act and keeping the ban on robocalls to cell phones intact.

Prior to the amendment, the TCPA prohibited all robocalls to cell phones. As amended, the TCPA now permits citizens to receive unwanted and previously illegal robocalls to their cell phones if the calls are made pursuant to the collection of debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States. 

“My attorney general colleagues and I work aggressively in our states to stop unwanted, harassing calls to peoples’ landlines and cell phones,” Zoeller said. “This is a huge annoyance to our citizens, and we hear from them every day about it. It’s even more frustrating when the federal government actively works to weaken our efforts aimed at protecting and serving our citizens. I urge Congress to stop allowing loopholes that legitimize robocalls and open citizens up to a barrage of unwanted or misplaced calls.”

Zoeller added that because robocalls have been banned, people generally associate these calls with scammers. Moreover, the proliferation of scammers who impersonate government agencies, for example the IRS impersonation scam, will add an additional layer of confusion for people and likely create more opportunity for fraud.

In recent years, Zoeller and Missouri AG Chris Koster led the charge to defend consumers’ telephone privacy rights. In 2015, at Zoeller’s and Koster’s urging, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) clarified that federal law did not prohibit phone carriers from blocking robocalls and robotexts upon a customer’s request. The FCC formally released its Declaratory Ruling and Order allowing for more expansive call-blocking options in July 2015.

Zoeller said this clarification moved enforcement efforts forward and armed consumers with ways to prevent unwanted calls. He said the recent TCPA amendment is a significant step back in the fight against robocalls. He has been personally advocating against the change to the TCPA since it was first introduced earlier this fall. Here is a link to a video of his comments in November.

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office received nearly 14,000 complaints about unwanted calls in 2015, a majority of which were about robocalls.

Zoeller reminded Hoosiers to sign up for the state’s Do Not Call list at or by calling 1.888.834.9969. The next quarterly deadline to sign up is Tuesday, Feb. 16. People do not need to re-register unless their address has changed.

Additionally, Zoeller urged Hoosiers to take advantage of available call-blocking options to help stop scam calls. The Attorney General's Office created a non-exhaustive, call-blocking reference sheet to inform the public about available options and encourage development of new options. This reference sheet outlines different call-blocking applications and information about each option, including who is able to use it, the cost, benefits, weaknesses and how to get it.

People who receive an unwanted call or are targeted by a phone scam can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by visiting or calling 1.888.834.9969.

Contact Information:
Name: Molly Gillaspie
Phone: 317-232-0168
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Government
  • Residents
  • Agency Name
    Attorney General

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