Hoosiers have filed more than 19,000 complaints about unwanted calls with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office to date in 2012 – that’s more than the total number received in 2011. Almost 60 percent of those complaints concern phone calls playing automated messages known as robocalls. The Federal Trade Commission, which also brings actions against telephone privacy violators, reports that the number one complaint nationally involves these same types of calls.
Federal and state leaders agree that accessibility, affordability and caller-ID spoofing technology have helped create this flood of robocalls. Illegitimate businesses and scammers using VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol can make thousands of calls per minute – at a low cost – from anywhere in the world. Caller ID spoofing technology allows scammers to disguise the source of the call, so the number on your caller ID is often phony.
In Indiana, most robocalls are illegal regardless of whether or not your number is registered on the Do Not Call list. Exceptions include calls from school districts to students, parents or employees and businesses advising employees of work schedules. It is also legal if a live phone operator first obtains your permission before playing a pre-recorded message.
The Attorney General’s Office is working hard to identify ways to better trace illegal calls, prosecute violators and combat caller-ID spoofing.
The Attorney General’s Action Plan
- Continue enforcement actions against robocallers and Do Not Call violators
- The Attorney General’s Office has obtained 50 settlements or judgments since 2009. The total awarded to the state since 2009 is more than $4.8 million and the total collected is more than $650,700.
- The Attorney General’s Office has obtained 299 settlements or judgments since 2002. In total, the state has collected more than $1.5 million from robocallers and Do Not Call list violators. Money collected is used to defray the cost of enforcing the state’s telephone privacy laws.
- Discuss solutions with industry leaders, elected officials and consumer groups
- In Sept. 2012, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller conducted a series of roundtable discussions with industry experts, elected officials and consumer groups to find more effective ways to prevent Hoosiers from receiving unwanted calls and text messages.
- In Oct. 2012, Zoeller was selected to bring his ideas from the roundtable discussions and present them during a key panel at the Federal Trade Commission’s Robocall Summit in Washington, D.C.
What to do if you Receive a Robocall
- Hang up immediately. Pressing any number only confirms your line is a working number and may lead to more unwanted calls.
- If possible, check with your service provider to identify ways to block the number.
- File a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by visiting http://www.indianaconsumer.com/or by calling 1.888.834.9969.
What to do if you Receive a Sales Call from a Live Operator and your Number is on the Do Not Call list
- Write down as much information as you can, including the name of the telemarketing company, the location from which they are calling, the name of the person calling, the phone number and the product or service they offer.
- File a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office at http://www.indianaconsumer.com/or by calling 1.888.834.9969.
Why do I still Receive Unwanted Calls and Text Messages even though I’m on the Do Not Call list?
- Indiana’s Do Not Call law protects registered numbers from receiving legitimate telemarketing calls. Telemarketers are required to purchase the list quarterly in order to filter out newly registered numbers. Unfortunately, illegitimate businesses and scammers skirt the law by not purchasing the list and trying to deceive consumers with phony sales pitches. That’s why if you are on the Do Not Call list and receive a sales call or text message you can count on it being a scam. File a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office at http://www.indianaconsumer.com/or by calling 1.888.834.9969.
- Since 1988, the Autodialer Act has regulated the use of automatic dialing machines. Click here to read the law.
- Since 2002, the Do Not Call law has protected registered landline numbers from unwanted sales calls. In 2011, the Do Not Call law was amended to add wireless and VOIP telephone numbers to the Do Not Call list. Click here to read the law.