AG Zoeller launches national Do Not Call summit

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI) – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller launched a national summit Tuesday aimed at helping state and federal agencies with Do Not Call List violations.

Zoeller and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster launched the first national No Call Law Enforcement Summit Tuesday in Indianapolis. The summit’s theme, Building a No-Call Case from the Ground Up, focused on new technologies, investigation and prosecution techniques, and interstate and federal cooperation.

Participants at the event included representatives from 20 attorney general offices and federal agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.

Zoeller’s office reports that they received more than 14,000 Do Not Call complaints in 2013, with 50 percent of those being automated calls known as robocalls.

“Consumers nationwide are fed up with receiving unwanted calls, and that’s why we have gathered our state and federal partners to identify solutions,” Zoeller told News 18 in a release. “It’s important to recognize that many of these annoying calls stem from sources outside the U.S, which falls outside the states’ jurisdictions. States need assistance from the federal government, specifically the Federal Communications Commission, to do more in terms of regulating these types of calls.”

According to Zoeller, Indiana’s top Do Not Call complaint in 2013 stemmed from calls offering credit services, followed by home security and home improvement calls. View the whole Top 10 List below.

Indiana’s Top 10 Do Not Call Complaint Categories for 2013:

1. Credit Services
Credit card interest rate reduction scams often originate with a robocall promising to lower rates for a hefty upfront fee. These phony sales pitches claim consumers can pay off their credit card debt three to five times faster and save them thousands of dollars in interest and finance charges. These companies are offering services that consumers can already do for themselves at no cost, by calling the credit card company and asking for a reduced rate.

2. Home Security
Consumers should be on alert for callers offering free security systems which are often attached to pricey, long-term system monitoring contracts. A salesperson may also say your current security company has gone out of business or was purchased by the salesperson’s company, or may even use scare tactics by mentioning a rash of burglaries in your neighborhood.

3. Home Improvement
These callers range from roofers, contractors to window installers and may target areas hit with storm damage. Don’t feel pressured into making quick decisions without fully vetting the company. Repairs on your home can carry a hefty price, which means consumers can never do too much homework before deciding on a contractor.

4. Prizes and Sweepstakes
Scammers may call you and claim you were chosen to win millions of dollars and a new car, but don’t assume it is your lucky day. If a contest or sweepstakes requires that you purchase an unrelated product to improve your chances of winning, or pay upfront taxes, fees, or shipping charges in order to collect your prize, it’s a scam.

5. Computer Services
A phony tech support person may call you and claim that they are from a well-known software company. The caller says your computer is running slow or has a virus and it’s sending out error messages. Scammers may even ask you to visit a website that gives them remote access to your computer. If the caller obtains access, they can steal personal or financial information. In some cases, the caller may even ask for a wired payment or credit card information to “fix” your computer.

6. Insurance
While Indiana’s licensed agents are allowed to make calls under the Do Not Call law, third-party companies often generate sales leads for insurance companies by making illegal calls. Consumers most commonly report receiving robocalls offering life or health insurance.

7. Debt Consolidation
Similar to the “Credit Services” calls, consumers report receiving robocalls offering to consolidate debt into one lower, monthly payment – for a large upfront fee.

8. Vacations
An illegitimate telemarketer may call and offer you a “free” or “low cost” vacation, but you will likely end up paying hidden costs. Some of these vacations never take place, even after you’ve paid. Callers may use high pressure sales tactics and only promise the low rates at the time of the call.

9. Debt Collectors
Illegal or unfair debt collection practices are a source of frustration for consumers – especially when the debt isn’t legitimate. Many complaints phony creditors call and threaten arrest and jail time if payment is not made. If you receive a debt collection call, make sure you determine whether you are being contacted for a legitimate debt. It’s important to know your rights and how to recognize abusive collection practices.

10. Health Care
Be cautious if you are contacted by a company offering diabetic or other medical-related supplies. Don’t give your personal, financial or medical information to anyone you don’t know or a company you are unfamiliar with.

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