ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Missouri's attorney general has released the list of top ten complaints to the consumer protection hotline. Topping that list m, unwanted telemarketing calls to people on the no-call list. As 5 on Your Side's Mike Rush reports, it's a problem that makes Mary Lou Moeller think twice before picking up.
Mary Lou Moeller and her best friend Hannah Burchett spend a good part of their day sewing teddy bears and crafting beautiful quilts. But sometimes the joy of creating crafts gets cut short.
"Well, by the time I drop what I'm doing, I sometimes have to find my phone, I lay it down someplace, I go answer the phone, I get to the phone, it's Rachel from card member services," said Moeller.
Mary Lou signed up for Missouri's No-Call list as soon as it was offered.
"It really did stop the telemarketers' calls until just the last, I'd say possibly until the last two years," said Moeller.
She's constantly reporting the nuisance calls to the Missouri Attorney General's office, but the phone just keeps on ringing.
"You might get three or four in a week's time, sometimes they slow down for a little while, but then, in fact, you might get one every day," said Moeller. "Not only on my land line, but on my cell phone and that really irritates me, because they're burning up my cell phone minutes."
Joe Bindbeutel is Chief Counsel for the Missouri Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.
"If you register on a No-Call list the Missouri law suggest that no tele-marketer should be invading your personal space, your personal time; your family time and that's what it's all about, pure and simple," said Bindbeutal.
Last year, Missouri residents filed nearly 40,000 no-call complaints.
With the help of that information, the Missouri Attorney General's Office obtained more than $1.4 million in judgments against telemarketers in 2012, that's up from just over $1 million the year before.
While fining violators is a step in the right direction, Bindbeutel admits new technologies makes prosecuting violators more difficult.
"We see what is called spoofing which is a computer program which can essentially disguise caller ID and in fact it can even give a caller a number which they might think is a hospital or a charitable organization, but usually it's a fake number and that hides the paper trail," said Bindbeutel.
In order to trail violators and put together a case, Bindbeutel and his team need your help.
"One thing we would implore our citizens to do is continue to complain. Even though it seems like these calls continue, it's very important for us to get those pieces to document those calls and put a case together," said Bindbeutel "One, two, three or four calls, it's very difficult to do something with, but when we get repeated calls that's when our investigation can really take root."
Mary Lou and Hannah have considered letting the phone ring.
"Except you stop and think, it could be somebody in the family that needs something, so you got to answer them," said Burchett.
But you can be sure, telemarketers may not catch them at their best.
You can register your home phone number and your cell phone number on the Missouri no-call list online or by calling 1-866-NO-CALL1 (866-662-2551).
If you are receiving unwanted calls from telemarketers, you can report them to the No Call Complaint Hotline at 1-866-BUZZ-OFF(866-289-9633).