INDIANAPOLIS – Thousands of complaints from Hoosiers reporting illegal and unwanted telephone calls flood into the Indiana Attorney General's Office every year.
Now Hoosiers are also calling the state's consumer hotline to complain that the state's telemarketing law isn't working.
“Usually we just try to explain what the law is and what our authority is,” Director and Chief Counsel of Consumer Protection Betsy DeNardi said. “If they have other concerns we tell them to raise it with the Legislature.”
Lawmakers have an issue on their hands. As telemarketers – and scammers – get more technologically sophisticated, is it time to overhaul the law or just cut the state's losses?
“I think it's come to a point that we need to invest more – to specialize in this ever-changing digital world we live in,” said Rep. Jeff Ellington, R-Bloomington. “I don't think it's wasted money or time. Because it's an intrusion on residential homes and businesses alike.”
He is preparing a bill for the 2019 session and said Hoosiers shouldn't just accept nuisance calls. A major feature will be increasing fine amounts that could lead to quicker settlements.
“I'm just fed up and hopefully we can accomplish something,” Ellington said.
Indiana has 2.1 million phone numbers on its Do Not Call list, which is stricter than the federal list. When it went into effect in 2002, Hoosiers were stunned by its immediate effectiveness. But that's gone now.