Indiana AG: cell phones now protected by Do Not Call list

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (WAVE) - Attorney General Greg Zoeller has announced a new law allowing Hoosiers to register cell phone numbers on the state's Do Not Call list has taken effect.

Signed by the Governor on Friday, House Enrolled Act 1273 clarifies current state law by extending the protections of Indiana's telephone privacy laws to include cell phone numbers, prepaid wireless calling and internet-enabled VOIP services.

"I want to thank the General Assembly for taking action to update the state's telephone privacy laws and the Governor for signing the bill," Zoeller said. "Extending the protections of the Do Not Call list for cell phones and VOIP phones will shield more Hoosiers from intrusive solicitors and potential scams."

The Do Not Call list is updated four times a year. The next deadline to add a number to the list is Tuesday, May 17. Phone numbers placed on the list by 11:59 PM (ET) May 17 will begin receiving benefits of the law starting July 1, 2011. Out of state area codes can also now be registered as long as the billing address is located in Indiana, which Zoeller emphasized is particularly relevant for out-of-state college students studying in Indiana.

"Thousands of students come to Indiana to attend college every year and only have a cell phone. As long as their bills come to an Indiana mailing address, they can add their number to the list. This will reduce the number of unwanted marketing calls as well as text-based solicitations."

Currently more than 1.8 million phone numbers are registered on the Do Not Call list, however, it is estimated that one third of eligible phone numbers are not registered. Registering on the list not only reduces the number of telemarketing calls, it also helps to the attorney general's office investigate and prosecute those telemarketers who violate the law and scammers looking to defraud consumers over the phone.

Indiana law also forbids the use of auto-dialers to deliver pre-recorded messages without a live operator obtaining consent to deliver the message. These calls are often referred to as "Robo Calls." The Attorney General's telephone privacy division responds to consumer complaints related to possible Do Not Call, Unsolicited Fax and Robo Call violations.

Hoosiers can sign up or confirm a phone number is registered by visiting the Attorney General's website – www.IndianaConsumer.com or by calling 1-888-834-9969. A phone number will never fall off the list or "expire" however it is recommended that after a move or other information change to update the registration.

In order to provide telemarketers with the most current Do Not Call list, updates are provided quarterly. Register by May 17 to have your number removed from telemarketing lists by July 1; register by Aug. 16 to have your number removed by Oct. 1; and register by Nov. 15 to have your number removed by Jan. 1.

Last year, the Attorney General's office settled or obtained judgments in 24 cases involving violations of state telephone privacy laws resulting in more than $3 million in settlements or judgments.

To register a residential phone number or confirm a number is registered, visit www.IndianaConsumer.com or call 1-888-834-9969 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Click here to file a complaint against an illegal telemarketing call.

To receive early warnings about new scams, sign up to receive electronic fraud alerts from the Attorney General's office.