INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill today announced the first of four Do Not Call registration deadlines in 2017 as part of a new telephone privacy campaign aimed at protecting Hoosiers from phone scams – “Do Not Call/Do Not Answer”.

Indiana residents have until Feb. 21 to register their information with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General “Do Not Call” list. This step will help you avoid calls from telemarketers beginning April 1.

“Nobody has time for unwanted phone calls soliciting unwanted goods and services,” Hill said. “Register your phone number on our Do Not Call list and limit the ridiculous phone calls that interrupt dinner with your family, pull you away from important meetings at work and distract you while you’re driving.”

This week, Hill launched a new telephone privacy campaign aimed at safeguarding Hoosiers from potential phone scams. In recent years, more and more Hoosiers have filed complaints with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General Consumer Protection Division claiming they were contacted by someone from an unknown number impersonating authority figures such as a law enforcement officer or an Internal Revenue Service agent demanding money and personal information. Often, Hoosiers get tricked into believing these phone calls are legitimate and they end up compromising their personal identity by providing sensitive information such as their social security and bank account numbers.

“Do Not Call/Do Not Answer” will be the blueprint to combat unwanted phone calls from telemarketers as well as criminals who are trying to scam Hoosiers.

Even if you’re registered on the Do Not Call list, it’s likely you’ll still receive some phone calls from random, unknown numbers. The easiest way to avoid dealing with those phone calls -- whether it’s a telemarketer or someone trying to rip you off with a scam – is by simply ignoring the phone call, Hill said.

“Do Not Call/Do Not Answer is an easy concept. Sign up for the Do Not Call list and lessen your chances of being contacted by a telemarketer. Then, if you still have unknown numbers calling, do not answer,” Hill said. “If the phone call is that important, the caller will leave a voicemail, or better yet that person will text you. Don’t subject yourself to the sort of vulnerability that comes with scammers trying to swindle you over the phone, demanding credit card numbers or private information. If you don’t know the number, just don’t answer.”

Hill stressed the idea of simply ignoring calls from unknown numbers because of the likelihood they’ll still occasionally occur even after registering on the Do Not Call list. Being placed on the Do Not Call list will eliminate most telemarketing calls. However, under Indiana law, Hoosiers on the Do Not Call list may still be contacted by certain groups such as insurance agents, newspapers, realtors and most charities.

Do Not Call list registration is free for Indiana residents and available for residential land lines, wireless numbers, prepaid wireless numbers used primarily in Indiana, and voice over internet protocols (VOIP) better known as “robocalls”. Registration secures your phone number’s spot on the Do Not Call list unless you move or change any of your personal information.

Do Not Call list registration deadlines occur every three months beginning Feb. 21. You may register your information with the office’s Do Not Call list at any time; however, you will likely receive calls from telemarketers until the list is once again available to telemarketers. For example, if you miss the first registration deadline on Feb. 21, you may still register on Feb. 22 however, your number won’t be on the Do Not Call list belonging to telemarketers until July 1. This is why it’s important to register by Feb. 21, ensuring your number will be on the list effective April 1.

Whether Hoosiers are on the Do Not Call list, the Indiana Attorney General strongly advises against answering phone calls from unknown numbers – especially those with area codes from another state. If you’re receiving these calls, you can contact the office and file a complaint. If you have been contacted by someone attempting to scam you over the phone, please visit IndianaConsumer.com or call 1-800-382-5516.