The Kansas Do Not Call List: Why it does and doesn’t work

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — You have likely gotten them; those annoying calls promising free trips, or even trying to sell you a car warranty. Some of these may even be from scammers trying to take your money.

If you’re on the Kansas No Call List, you shouldn’t be getting those calls, but many of us still do.

Ron Anderson says he signed up for the No Call List five years ago. He says, at first, the calls stopped coming through.

Flash forward to now, and it’s a totally different story.

“I get around ten a month, and most of them are they’ll ask for me or as soon as they get me, if I answer, they hang up,” said Anderson.

Anderson says his caller ID says where they’re supposedly coming from.

“Four days ago was Pennsylvania, Florida was six days ago, Jamaica was six days ago,” said Anderson.

So, KSN asked, why are Anderson and many others getting so many calls?

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt

We took that question to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who is in charge of the Kansas No Call List.

“The Do Not Call list works for what it can do, it reduces the number of calls from legitimate companies that otherwise might be pestering people to sell them actual products and services,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt admits, it’s not a perfect system.

Kansas first created a No Call List in 2002, even before the federal government had one. It now includes both landline and cell phones.

Schmidt say it is supposed to prevent unwanted calls, but isn’t a complete ban on all marketing calls. Calling on behalf of a charity or political campaign has always been allowed.

Schmidt says technology is part of the problem when it comes to people getting so many unwanted calls.

“One of the things they often do, is called “spoofing” your caller ID, they cause a number that is not real to show up in your caller ID, in hopes its a number you’ll find attractive in order to answer,” said Schmidt.

RELATED | FCC: Spoofing and Caller ID

Technology makes it easier to fake where a call is coming from, making it appear legitimate.

“People look at their caller ID and say well that’s my number and they’ll answer it out of curiosity,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt says that also makes it much harder to track down those making the calls.

“A lot of them, if we can’t find the bad guys, if we can’t find where the call came from because they’d hidden their trail or their calling from Central Asia or East Asia or Middle East, or Europe or Africa or wherever it is, the Caribbean, you know we’re not magic, if we can’t them, we can’t bring an enforcement action,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt says the state works with the federal government, including the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.

“We’ve worked, I think, seamlessly on some of these actions to try to help them get them pointed in the right direction, so they can use their unique authority to go get the bad guys,” said Schmidt.

SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

As for those who are annoyed by the ringing phone, Schmidt offers up this advice.

He says make a complaint with the Attorney General’s office.

Also, consider taking action with your phone company.

donotcall-agadvice400“See if they’re one that offers call blocking service that can actually shut down calls from numbers, that aren’t recognized,” said Schmidt.

But for some, like Anderson, it is advice that leaves him disappointed.

“My opinion, when I first saw it and signed up for it, years ago, I assumed that, within a week it was going to take affect and it is going to stop all that,” said Anderson.

Ultimately, Schmidt says his office is hamstrung on what they can do at the state level.

He stressed that his office goes after companies every year.

However, if they’re hiding behind fake numbers and companies in foreign countries, the kind of money and investigation to track them down isn’t feasible.

The Attorney General laid out the penalties for those who they are able to find and prosecute for violating the rules of the Do Not Call list.

Schmidt says a violation of the No Call Act is considered a civil statute. He says, if they are able to prosecute someone for violating the No Call Act, they can impose civil penalties and injunctions.

Schmidt says the penalty depends on the severity of misconduct. For example, for a small number of violations, Schmidt said a $10,000 fine can be handed out.

For larger, more persistent violations, Schmidt said fines can reach the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

To make a complaint about one of these unwanted calls, you can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at (785)-296-3751.

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