Kickstarting a tool to block robocalls and tie up scammers

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Back during the height of the housing bubble my home was getting up to 11 telemarketing calls a day for refinancing. Being a household of computer and phone consultants we just stuck a voicemail system with tree (Press 1 to reach X). We had gotten rid of the ability to ring all the phones at once and you could only go to specific extensions for specific people and that got rid of all the telemarketing calls.

Still, this guys solution is a heck of a lot more fun.


(The following is pasted here from a comment I made here back in June)

For my home telephone number, I’ve ported it to Cellfire, a cloud telephony provider for $3 per month plus $0.05 per minute usage. I have a simple phone menu (no voice mail) that transfers calls to one of our four mobile numbers. 95% of the calls made to my home number are hangups - the robo dialer does not know how to press[1] for me, [2] for my wife, etc.

For our mobile phones we run an app called Mr. Numbers which crowd sources the flagging of spam originating telephone numbers. Some spammy calls still do get through, a couple a week, but most are caught and simply hungup on before the mobile phone even rings twice.

I have no problem giving out my home number with this filter, and certain relatives, who forget or refuse to direct dial our mobile numbers continue to get through. Because I pay by the minute, and it is rounded upward from one second, it is tempting to mess around with robo dialers, but honestly, I’d rather they regard my number as a waste of time and move on.

tl;dr: Ported home phone to “the cloud”, thwarts robocallers and costs about $5 / month


I’ve been using NoMoRobo for a while now. The overwhelming majority of spam calls ring once and then are disconnected. It’s also free, but does require that your phone service support simultaneous ring (which many do not).

It’s not as fun as JRTC would be, but the price is right and it’s very effective.

I once had a telemarketer call and after listening to the pitch I asked “what are you doing with your life?” She started to cry and I felt pretty bad. Now I either don’t pick up calls from unknown numbers or just ask to be added to their do-not-call list.


Why the sam-godamn-hell would anyone let spammers make them want anything to do with JRTC at Ft. Polk? Having been there:

No Stars–would not recommend.

DH found on YouTube someone who had taped an elderly man rambling – about his grandkids, random comments like “well, that sounds interesting” and other digressions, then used it to troll robocallers. They managed to string one caller along for 20 minutes or so with stories about the paperboy throwing the paper on the roof!

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I once was a telemarketer. It’s hard work, and the pay sucks (usually.) If you’re angry at the corporation, and you take your anger out on the workers, you make management’s job that much easier.


I’ve got too. It is a bit fun when the phone rings only once. “Take that robocaller!”

When I had an android phone, I ran Mr. Number and it worked well.

Years ago, I got yet another one of these irritating calls, and decided to string the woman along for a while, “looking for my credit card,” so that at least one or two other innocent people wouldn’t be bothered as I had been. The telemarketer got angry with me for “wasting her time.” I thought that was a rather (unintentionally) ironic thing to say. I only did that once though, as I don’t really have the kind of nasty turn of mind required to trick people like that.

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I had that happen with a prostitute a few years ago.

Same here (see above link).


I guess the response has been overwhelming; I can’t get the webpage to load.

What’s a home phone?


I’ve often thought about recording my own reaction (e.g. bathroom sounds etc.) to telemarketers, but I live in Maryland and I assume I can’t record a conversation without the telemarketer’s consent (see also: Linda Tripp). But I am guessing that the person being recorded is unlikely to do anything about it, as that would also expose them as a telemarketer.

I remember in the 90s getting calls for some service that sold you CDs of shareware programs, in case you were too lazy to figure out how to download them yourself or something (even with dialup, this seemed pointless). One time one of the telemarketers asked me what I did for a living (I assume to try to work that as an angle for what types of shareware I might be interested in) and at the time I was a graphic designer, and he got really excited and started asking me how I got into it, and totally blew off his pitch, and just focused on an escape plan instead.


Oh, that story is funny! LOL

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The one in your pocket.

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Generally there’s nothing you can do about the corporation. Often it’s deliberately hidden, and what can you possibly do to Time Warner Cable other than delay their agents from harassing the next person?

Yeah, I get that it’s ‘just a job’ and you need the money but you took a job whose entire description is to harass, scam, and waste the time of random people, you’re the only target they have.

Edit: sorry I don’t mean to be ranting at YOU here, I just hate the idea that we have to treat knowingly complicit bad actors as if they were the victims.

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I’m not taking it personally. But, believe it or not, the majority of them are completely legitimate. Just some joe out to earn a buck, by fundraising or selling you the newspaper or some new windows. The Nigerian princes show up on the news, but they’re really the exception. Telemarketers have some very strict rules, and the legitimate ones follow them.