INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana lawmakers are looking for new ways to address illegal and unwanted
telephone calls as telemarketers are using advances in technology to skirt
the state’s telemarketing law.
There are 2.1
million phone numbers on Indiana’s “Do Not Call” list, which is stricter
than the federal list, The Journal Gazette reported.
The state saw
immediate results when the law went into effect in 2002, but advances in
technology are allowing telemarketers to find loopholes. Some telemarketers
now use “spoof” numbers to make it appear as if a call is coming from a
Ryan Hatfield of Evansville said Indiana’s current efforts don’t appear to
be working or doing enough to address the situation.
“I would favor a
complete overhaul of the system,” he said. “I find it unacceptable that we
throw up our hands and say we can do nothing.”
Jeff Ellington of Bloomington is preparing a bill to address the issue for
the 2019 legislative session, which begins in January. The bill will propose
increasing fines, which could lead to faster settlements with telemarketers.
Indiana needs to invest more to combat the issue that he characterizes as an
“intrusion on residential homes and businesses.”
“I’m just fed up
and hopefully we can accomplish something,” he said.
Former state Sen.
David Long was behind the original telemarking law, which allows residents
to register their numbers on a telemarking do not call list. There are
exceptions for charities, political calls and businesses that residents have
an existing relationship with.
“We came up with a
solution that was fair and reasoned,” Long said. “It’s very possible that
the whole concept needs a review. I get calls constantly.”
Betsy DeNardi, the
director and chief counsel of Consumer Protection for Indiana’s attorney
general’s office, said there are a few issues hampering the law. She said
the attorney general’s office doesn’t have jurisdiction over calls placed
from outside the U.S., which means a large portion of calls are untouchable.
DeNardi said the
biggest issue is that many calls aren’t coming from legitimate
telemarketers, but are from scammers looking to steal money or information
for identify theft.
“They don’t care,”
Curtis Hill said he’s committed to continue working to protect Indiana
residents against nuisance callers.
“I especially want
to continue working with federal authorities to combat nuisance calls coming
from overseas and to counter the cutting-edge technologies used by nuisance
callers to avoid being identified and penalized,” he said.