As scammers and hackers target Hoosiers and their pocketbooks, legislators are aiming for a cure.
House Enrolled Act 1444 works to strengthen the law when it comes to punishing telemarketing violators and hackers using ransomware.
“It’s just one more tool in the toolbox to close what might have been perceived as a way out for someone trying– who was trying to not be found liable for telemarketing calls that are occurring,” said Indiana’s Director of Consumer Protection Margo Sweeney.
Robocalls continue to plague the country with more than 2 billion calls made each month, according to a study from the Federal Communications Commission.
That 2 billion number is what led State Rep. Chris Judy, R-Fort Wayne, to search for a solution against these calls.
The new rules start by holding more people accountable. Not only do they target the people who make the calls, but also anyone who instructs them to make the calls.
Sweeney said telemarketing procedures often have multiple layers, making it difficult to hold all parties involved accountable. This legislation makes the law clearer.
“You get a call and you’re not hearing from the person who is prepared to supply you with the product or service, you’re hearing from someone who is gathering information to sell to someone else who might then hire a third party to call people to see if they’re interested in the service,” Sweeney said, “then pass it on to the fourth party who might have an appointment to supply the service.”
Hoosiers can add their name and number to the “Do Not Call” list to prevent most telemarketing calls, but that doesn’t block all the calls. If you receive a call, you can report it to the General Consumer Protection Division by calling (317) 232-6330.
The best strategy to avoid scammers and robocalls, according to the attorney general’s office, is to not pick up the phone if you don’t recognize the number.
The legislation also creates tougher penalties for hackers who break into computer systems and install ransomware, a type of malware used to lock a computer system and demand a ransom before unlocking the system.
Under the new law, hackers could face an average of nearly six years in a Department of Correction Facility for a Level 5 felony, or an average of nearly three years for a Level 4 felony.