DeWine reminds Ohioans to sign up for Do Not Call list

Chris Dunham, PDT Sports Writer

November 12, 2012

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

You are just sitting down to dinner when the phone rings, and someone tells you you have been chosen to receive a free security system, or the robocall urges you to vote for their candidate. It doesn’t take long until you wish you could turn your phone off and enjoy a quiet evening.

Now, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is reminding Ohioans to sign up for the Do Not Call Registry and to report Do Not Call violations to his office.

“The number of Ohioans on the Do Not Call Registry is higher than ever,” DeWine said. “Unfortunately, scam calls that violate do-not-call regulations also have increased, becoming a major problem and annoyance. To best protect yourself, never respond to these calls. Instead, hang up and report the calls to authorities.”

Robocalls generally are prerecorded messages sent using auto dialers, which can send thousands of calls per minute for a very low cost. DeWine said those calls are easy to send but difficult to trace.

DeWine said Ohioans who want to add their phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry should visit www.DoNotCall.gov, or call 888-382-1222. Telemarketers covered by the National Do Not Call Registry have up to 31 days from the date consumers register to stop calling. Even after registering, consumers may continue to receive robocalls from companies that violate do-not-call regulations.

Additionally, scammers often use technology called Voice Over Internet Protocol and “spoofing” to disguise the phone number that appears on the consumer’s caller ID. Because of spoofing, a call appearing to come from a consumer’s bank could be coming from a con artist in another country.

To avoid phone scams, DeWine said:

  • Do not trust caller ID.
  • Do not respond to robocall instructions asking you to press 1 or 2 (or any other numbers) or respond to the calls in any way.
  • Report the call.

Report as much information as possible about the call, including:

  • The phone number that received the call
  • Time and date of the call
  • Number that appeared on the consumer’s caller ID, if possible
  • Identity of the caller, if known
  • Content of the call

Although many unwanted calls are scams originating overseas, DeWine said the Ohio Attorney General’s Office has taken action against businesses that violate Do Not Call regulations. In May, DeWine filed a lawsuit against a California investment-software business for unfairly calling Ohio consumers who were on the Do Not Call Registry. Similarly, in April, Attorney DeWine sued a Florida telemarketer for Do Not Call violations.

To report unwanted calls to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, you can visit www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov, or call 800-282-0515.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com.