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Robocalls to be key issue in 2016

Posted at 6:49 PM, Jan 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-01 18:49:29-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Attorney General’s office plans to address the growing problem of robocalls in 20I6 by pushing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and phone companies to better address the issue.

Unwanted calls and texts are the most common complaint to the Indiana Attorney General’s office, with more than 13,000 complaints filed each year.

Robocalls are the automated calls and recordings you receive, which companies and scam artists generate using computers.

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“In over an hour, they can blast out literally a million calls,” said Greg Zoeller, Indiana Attorney General. “We’ve really had a massive increase in robocalling.”

Zoeller said it’s hard to catch the robocallers because many of them originate from outside the United States.

“I can’t stop an overseas call. I need help from the federal government,” said Zoeller. "If you react at all, if you don't just hang up immediately, they'll sell that to credit card companies and say ‘they stayed on the line, they pressed one.”

MORE | Indiana Attorney General's Office gives tips on anti-robocall apps

Zoeller has joined 45 state attorneys general in calling on major phone companies like AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile to offer call-blocking technology to customers.

“I was really expecting a quicker action,” said Zoeller.

Currently, some carriers offer call-blocking, but those services often have limitations and do not offer more mass blocking options that would stop calls before getting to the consumer, according to the AG.

Zoeller said he plans to work with the FCC and phone providers in an effort to end illegal robocalls.

The Attorney General said in the meantime, you can ditch your landline which tend to get more unwanted calls.

Also, don’t play into the caller’s pitch.

“Don’t get mad and don’t sit and talk to someone, don’t push any buttons,” said Zoeller. “Hang up as soon as possible, because that will get you fewer of the calls because it won’t register and someone who listens to the call.”

Call 6 Investigates reached out to several phone providers to ask about robocalls.

A spokesperson with Comcast said their Xfinity Voice service allows a customer feature, Nomorobo, to help manage robocalls.

A statement from T-Mobile said: 

We think customers should be empowered with the tools they need to block unwanted robocalls and we’re exploring options that we may be able to offer to our customers in the future. If you would like to give your viewers some tips, the industry organization CTIA has a number of recommendations you can find here.

You can sign up for the Indiana Do Not Call list here

To find a list of call-blocking options from the AG’s office, click here.

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