Indiana Telemarketing Fraud Laws

Telemarketing fraud is usually a federal crime prosecuted by the federal government because it's typically committed across state lines. However, Indiana and other states also have telemarketing fraud laws in order to prosecute telemarketing fraud that occurs in their states. In Indiana, the Attorney General's Office investigates telemarketing fraud. At the federal level, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is the agency responsible for investigating and prosecuting telemarketing fraud in the U.S.

Protecting Yourself from Telemarketing Fraud

The best way to stop telemarketing fraud is to take preventative steps to protect yourself. Some steps you can take are to:

  1. Register for the Indiana Do Not Call list online or call 1-888-834-9969
  2. File a complaint against Do Not Call violators online or at 1-888-834-9969
  3. Don’t give out your personal information (for example, Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers; the name of your spouse or pets; etc) to any unsolicited caller.
  4. Don’t rush into buying anything by telephone. If a caller is pressuring you to buy, just hang up.
  5. If a caller wants you to pay over the phone by check or wire transfer, be extremely wary or hang up.
  6. Ask for a written contract, the cancellation policy, and the contact information of the telemarketer and company he or she represents.

Indiana Telemarketing Fraud Laws: Statutes

Details on Indiana's main telemarketing laws are outlined in the table below.

Code Sections

Indiana Code, Title 24, Article 4.7: Telephone Solicitation of Consumers and Article 5: Consumer Sales

What is Required or Prohibited?

Telemarketers must register with the Attorney General, if they offer items (such as precious metals, purchase incentive prizes or bonuses, timeshares, camping clubs, office equipment, etc) of $100 to $50,000 in value either from Indiana or to a consumer in Indiana.

If telemarketers imply a potential buyer will receive a gift or prize, when registering they must inform the Attorney General of:

  • A list of items offered and their value
  • The price the telemarketer paid for the items
  • How the buyer can get the item(s)
  • The odds of winning, and
  • All conditions for the buyer to receive the prize.

If a telemarketer uses any misleading or deceptive statements in soliciting a sale or fails to deliver an item within four weeks, the consumer can void the contract within 90 days of the contract by sending the seller written notice. The seller must return all money paid and the consumer must make available for return any items he or she received.

Do Not Call List

Telemarketers are prohibited from calling a number registered on the most recent do not call list. However, this law doesn't apply to some telephone solicitors whom the public may wish it did, including:

  • Debt collectors
  • Tax-exempt charities that disclose the solicitor's true name, and the name, address, and number of the charity
  • Real estate agents or brokers when a sale isn't complete and payment isn't required
  • Insurance agents about an insurance application or negotiating a policy for the insurer
  • A newspaper soliciting sales of its paper, if the call is made by an employee or volunteer
  • Calls updating information for a telephone directory
  • Calls about transactions and contractual agreements already made, the consumer called the catalog, there was a prior business relationship, etc.

Automatic Dialing Machines

Telemarketers can't use automatic dialing machines before 9 am or after 8 pm in Indiana. The automatic device must also disconnect within 10 seconds of ending the call. If a human operator precedes the recorded message, he or she must disclose the company’s name, purpose of the message, goods or services promoted, and if the call is to solicit funds. Automatic dialers can't call hospitals, emergency services, police or fire departments, or mental health facilities.

Penalty

Telemarketers who break the law can be penalized both criminally and civilly. Also, failure to comply with the telephone solicitation laws is a “deceptive act” under the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act and telemarketers are subject to those penalties as well.

Criminal Penalties

  • Telemarketers who fail to comply with registration requirements, including statements, disclosures, and filings, commit a Level 6 felony. The sentencing range for a Level 6 felony is 6 months to 2.5 years in jail and a fine up to $10,000.
  • A telemarketer who intentionally blocks his or her number or other identity information when attempting a sales call has committed a Class B misdemeanor. With a prior conviction for this, it’s a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1-year incarceration and a fine of up to $5,000. Whereas a Class B misdemeanor can result in up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $1,000 or less.
  • If an automatic dialer fails to comply with the law, it's a Class C misdemeanor, which can be punished with up to 60 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.

Civil Penalties

When telemarketers don't comply with registration requirements, consumers can cancel any contracts with them. Additionally, the local court can issue a legal injunction to stop the telemarketers and automatic dialer operators from committing further violations.

Civil Case

Consumers who are harmed by telemarketing fraud can sue in civil court for their damages, including actual losses, attorney's fees, and court costs.

Note: Laws change constantly -- it's important to verify the state laws that you are researching.

Get a Free Telemarketing Fraud Case Review

There are plenty of reasons why getting an unsolicited phone call from a marketer could be legitimate, but you want to make sure you follow the law. If you have been charged with telemarketing fraud, protect your interests by working with an attorney familiar with these laws. Get started today and have an Indiana defense attorney provide a free initial case review at no cost to you.

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