Federal appeals court upholds Indiana’s ban on robocalls

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Harsher-than-normal phone scam fooling Hoosiers

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A federal court upheld Indiana’s ban on automated robocalls in a Jan. 3 ruling issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

The ruling centered around a legal challenge filed in 2010 by nonprofit Patriotic Veterans Inc., which sought an exception to robocall bans for political messages. The group argued its case last November, claiming the ban violated the First Amendment.

Outgoing Attorney General Greg Zoeller said the ruling in Indiana’s favor showed the law is “vital and necessary” to the protection of Hoosiers’ privacy.

“As I’ve said many times, robocalls are the tools of scam artists, there are plenty of legitimate, lawful ways to contact people to disseminate political information, but blasting out pre-recorded messages to thousands of numbers at a time with no regard for privacy is not one of them,” Zoeller said. “After years of fighting for privacy rights of Hoosiers this is a welcome ruling as I complete my term in the Office.”

Zoeller said his office received more than 15,000 complaints about unwanted calls in 2016, with the majority of those coming in the form of robocalls.

While the lawsuit was pending, Indiana’s Auto Dialer law remained in effect, Zeoller said. The statute has been the target of litigation since 2010.

Campaign and political groups are allowed to make traditional “live” calls as long as the calls aren’t sales calls, even if you’re on the Do Not Call list.

If you receive an unwanted call, ask to be removed from the caller’s list. To block general telemarketing calls, sign up for the Do Not Call list at www.IndianaConsumer.com or by calling 1.888.834.9969.

If you have received an unwanted call, you can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office here.