Federal Authorities Join Operation To Stop Robocalls


Staff Report

INDIANAPOLIS—Robocall numbers have gone up to the point where Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is creating an operation to prevent these illegal calls from ever happening in the first place.

“Operation Call it Quits” announced 94 actions targeting operations around the country. The operation is aimed to help prevent these prerecorded calls from getting through and as well as educating the public about them.

The operation includes four cases and three new settlements. Two of those cases were filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on the behalf of the FTC. Defendants in the cases were responsible for more than a billion robocalls nationwide.

Due to these phone scams, Americans had lost an estimated $10.5 billion in 2018. In Indiana, residents reported losing more than $16 million. The most vulnerable are elderly because they don’t necessarily realize they are being scammed, and sometimes fail to say something because of intimidation or embarrassment.

“We’re all fed up with the tens of billions of illegal robocalls we get every year,” said Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a news release. Combatting robocalls is a top priority for law enforcement agencies around the nation.

Some of the cases filed go beyond just a phone call. Since at least 2017, the defendants have also used text messaging, internet ads, emails, and social media to scam users into giving up their information, according to the FTC’s complaint against five corporate and four individual defendants.

Attorney General Curtis Hill was the only state attorney general attending the national press conference in Chicago that announced “Operation Call it Quits.”

Hill discussed his office’s recent civil complaint against a Maryland company and two individuals after receiving dozens of consumer complaints. Of those who complained, all but one had telephone numbers registered on the Indiana Do Not Call List.

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