Attorneys General join forces to solve “Robocall” problem

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — More than 20 attorneys general from across the U.S. gathered at the Indiana Statehouse to develop a plan to attack the state’s problem with robocall scams.

Robocalls are automated recordings that call phone numbers, even if they are on the Do Not Call list. Hoosiers made more than 14,000 complaints to the Attorney General’s office last year, and more than half of those complaints were about robocalls.  Indiana’s Greg Zoeller and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster organized what they are calling a No-Call Law Enforcement Summit with attorneys general, the Department of Justice and the FCC, in order to combat the problem.

The attorneys general said that technology has given scammers an advantage and current security checks cannot keep up.

“Technology advances have allowed the bad guys, the scammers and the robocallers to fight back,” said Koster.

The scammers often call through foreign numbers, which make the phone calls difficult to trace. Zoeller is pushing the FCC and Department of Justice for more regulation on foreign calls.

Jerry Hodges of Greenwood sometimes gets multiple robocalls per day, despite being on Indiana’s Do Not Call list.

“I religiously get on that Do Not Call list and it makes no difference,” said Hodges.

Hodges has filed multiple complaints with the Attorney General’s office about the unwanted phone calls. He writes down the number, date and time every time he gets a scam phone call.  He says he’s worried about the safety of his personal information and frustrated with the annoying phone calls.

“When I say ‘hello’ and it starts in, I’m so aggravated and so angry with them … It’s just maddening,” said Hodges.

Almost every phone call brings about the same recorded message from “card member services” asking Hodges if he’s interested in lowering his interest rates. The Attorney General’s office says these credit service scams were the top reported complaints of 2013.

Zoeller’s office is working on finding a stronger solution to the problem, but in the meantime his office warns Hoosiers to guard themselves against the robocallers.

“We already have a really strong statute in place. Basically is says if you’re on the no call list, these businesses shouldn’t be calling you. So that’s a red flag. If you’re on the no call list and somebody calls you, they’ve already broken the law. Don’t answer the phone. Certainly don’t fall victim to whatever it is that they’re trying to sell you,” said Terry Tolliver, deputy director of Consumer Protection for Zoeller.

To file a complaint, visit the Attorney General’s website here.

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