[r75] Bacon's Legislative Thoughts, Toughening up on Do Not Call list violators (9/14/2012)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Start Date: 9/14/2012 Start Time: 4:30 PM
I know many of us have received unwanted calls on either our home phones or our cell phones over the years. In fact, some scams are even conducted via text message to our cell phones. This can be a great nuisance and is illegal if you have registered your phone number on Indiana’s Do Not Call list. 

Just last year, my colleagues and I in the General Assembly passed legislation which clarified the law so all wireless phones could be added to the Do Not Call list, including messages sent via text.  

The Attorney General’s office is very clear about who may or may not call individuals who have registered for the Do Not Call list. Most telemarketers are forbidden from calling and texting; they are also not allowed to make robo calls, which are pre-recorded messages that begin when you answer the phone. Robo calls are prohibited in Indiana unless a live phone operator obtains permission before playing the pre-recorded message. 

There are a few exceptions to those who may contact you even if you are on the Do Not Call list, including: charitable organizations, newspapers, and licensed insurance and real estate agents. 

In a recent announcement by Attorney General Zoeller, his office is hosting a roundtable series to find better ways to crackdown on Do Not Call list violators. I attended one of the first meetings in Evansville to gain knowledge about their current procedures. 

Attorney General Zoeller said the number of Do Not Call complaints submitted to his office for the first half of 2012 is more than double that of last year. According to the Attorney General’s office, about 53 percent of unwanted call complaints were regarding credit card interest rate reduction scams, and 13 percent were regarding sweepstakes-related scams – such as the spam text messages sent earlier this year offering free Walmart gift cards.

There are also a number of calls that the Attorney General’s Office cannot pursue because they originate outside of the U.S. or caller ID spoofing technology thwarted investigators. In fact, his office estimates that at least 70 percent of unwanted calls are scams. 

It is clear to Attorney General Zoeller and his office that even though we have worked together to create tougher laws concerning this matter, scammers are finding ways around the system. It is for this reason that the Attorney General has held these roundtable discussions and will continue to host these meetings across the state so investigators, experts, and industry leaders can be included in finding more effective and comprehensive solutions to protect Hoosiers. 

The next sign-up deadline to register your number(s) on the Do Not Call list is Nov. 20. You may include all landlines and cell phones, as well as your children’s if you wish. If you would like to go ahead and sign up, I encourage you to go online at www.IndianaConsumer.com or call 1-888-834-9969. Once your phone is registered, and after the quarterly list update has registered, if you receive a call or text you believe to be a scam you may also file a complaint online at www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/. 

We will continue working together to protect Hoosiers from these scams. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at h75@in.gov or call me at 317-232-9674. Thank you for your continued support.

State Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler)

Bacon's Legislative Thoughts, Toughening up on Do Not Call list violators, 9-14-12.docx