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CHICAGO (CBS) — How many times have you heard your phone ring or felt it vibrate, only to discover it was an annoying robocall?
If the answer is too many, you’re not alone. And now, the Indiana Attorney General is taking on a new tactic to combat such calls – and he may be able to help us in Illinois too.
As CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra reported Monday night, a trailer in an Indiana mobile home park some 300 miles south of Chicago may not look like the hub for millions of robocalls. But Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said it is.
“We are sick and tired – and I mean all of us, not just Hoosiers, but people across the country, including our neighbors in Illinois – about getting these harassing, unwanted calls in the middle of our lives,” Rokita said.
Rokita is taking a new approach to stop robocalls. He is suing the companies that make them possible.
“It’s to send a message that we’re not going to take this anymore,” Rokita said. “You see, this is one of the first of its kind lawsuits in the nation, and you’re going to see more of them.”
This particular suit names Startel Communications out of Indiana in what it calls an alleged scam starting across the globe. The suit says robocallers from India, the Philippines, and Singapore found a gateway into the U.S. through Startel.
“But it was really a trailer in a trailer park in Evansville, Indiana, that was the gateway for these hundreds of millions of calls – over 5 million in Indiana alone,” Rokita said.
From there, Indiana alleges two legitimate California telecommunications companies took money to route the robocalls and look the other way. They are Piratel LLC and VoIP Essential, and neither responded to our request for comment.
“Now, through technology, we are able to trace back these hops in a matter of hours – and that’s really going to be a game changer here,” Rokita said. “I think the industry better pay attention.”
The goal is to fine all three companies in an effort to stop at least some of the millions of calls. And Rokita said we might look for Illinois to join this effort.
“We’re actively working together on a similar case just like this,” Rokita said.
Rokita wouldn’t say anything more about the case involving Illinois just yet, but there is a way you can get in on this fight. If you’re incessantly receiving these robocalls, report them to your state’s Attorney General’s office first.
If the state AG’s office successfully prosecutes any of the companies that scammed you, you could get money back.
Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission also provides guidelines for how best to block unwanted calls. For its consumer guide, click here.
Continue Reading News Story. Published by Local Central Press Syndicate, United States. For feedback write to Amnon Jakony, Founding Editor/Publisher - amnon [at] thedailyreformer.com. Thanks for reading.