AG, consumers ramp up efforts to stop robocalls

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — There’s a renewed, nation-wide push to end robocalls. Indiana and several other states are coming together to fight for consumer privacy after more than 13,000 people reported robocall scams last year, in Indiana alone. Not only are the calls annoying, they are illegal.

There’s a petition online from the Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, asking the Federal Communications Commission and phone companies to crack down on robocalls.

Nearly 200,000 people have already signed, asking the FCC to let phone companies use technology to block robocalls. The petition is also asking phone companies to block robocalls for free.

This comes as Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller just returned from a meeting with the FCC, pushing the commission to better protect consumers. Zoeller said some banking associations have now gone to the FCC, asking for loopholes in the ban, so they could legally robocall cell phones in many cases.

Indiana and several other states including Missouri, New York and Utah are fighting the loophole requests, because Zoeller says the robocall problem is already out of control.

“It’s now computer generated, a lot of them are overseas. I can’t even sue the people who are violating our statutes, and again without any help from the Federal Communications Commission I’m afraid there’s nothing we can really do,” said Zoeller.

With that technology, Zoeller said robocallers can dial 100,000 phones in just two minutes. Some of the most common robocall scams offer a medical device, promise a business opportunity, or demand money from the IRS. The scammers already get past the Do Not Call List.Zoeller said the best way to avoid these calls to get rid of your landline because it’s the easiest way for robocallers to get a hold of you. 

If you do get a robocall the best thing you can do is hang up immediately. Several people in Indianapolis told 24-Hour News 8 they try to talk to the scammers, and convince them to stop calling. Zoeller warns against that.

“If you press 1 or press 9 or if you listen to the whole message, you’ve increased your likelihood that you’ll be on a list of someone who listens and pays attention so they’ll sell that information to the next robocaller,” said Zoeller.

If you want to learn more about robocalls and how to protect yourself click here.