Zoeller offers tips to guard against telephone scams

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTHI) – Due to a recent surge in reported phone scams, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is urging Hoosiers to sign up for the state’s Do Not Call list.

Recently, there has been an increase in complaints against telephone credit scams, often referred to as “Rachel Calls,” which claim to offer lower interest rates and other credit-related services for an up-front fee.

“If your number is registered on the Do Not Call list and you receive a solicitation call, it is a violation of our law and you should assume it’s a scam and hang up immediately,” Zoeller said.

Zoeller noted that his office has also received complaints of Caller ID spoofing, where a scammer falsifies their phone number to mimic a local number. This practice can trick consumers into answering calls they think are coming from someone they know.

“We have filed a number of lawsuits against known telemarketers but advancing technology has given criminals new tools to mislead and harm consumers,” Zoeller said. “The best protection against these scams is to know the warning signs and stay alert.”

Zoeller offered consumers the following tips to protect against telephone privacy scams:

-If you don’t recognize the Caller ID number, consider letting the call go to voice mail;

-If the call is pre-recorded, don’t press any numbers; and
If your number is on the Do Not Call list, be aware that any telemarketing call you get may be a scam

-In Indiana, most robocalls are illegal regardless of whether or not a consumer’s 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 next quarterly deadline to help reduce annoying sales calls and text messages is Tuesday, Aug.19. Consumers can register their residential landline, cell, VOIP or prepaid wireless numbers.

Individuals do not need to re-register unless their address has changed. To sign up or to confirm a number is already on the list, visit http://www.IndianaConsumer.com or call 1.888.834.9969. Out-of-state area codes can also be added as long as the billing address is located in Indiana.

Those consumers who are registered and receive an unwanted call can file a complaint by visiting http://www.IndianaConsumer.com.

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