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When Telemarketers Harass Telecoms Companies

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the listen-through-the-glitches dept.

Communications 234

farnz writes "Andrews & Arnold, a small telecoms company in the UK, have recently been hit with an outbreak of illegal junk calls. Unlike larger firms, they've come up with an innovative response — assign 4 million numbers to play recordings to the telemarketers, put them on the UK's Do-Not-Call list and see what happens. Thus far, the record is over 3 minutes before a telemarketer works out what's going on." The sound quality (and the satisfying humor) of the recording gets better as it goes on.

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Sounds like a good time (1, Interesting)

bhenson (1231744) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858354)

Sounds like they have a good time with it but they should post the calls on a website of shame so we can all hear them.

Re:Sounds like a good time (4, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858584)

The problem is that the marketeer does not care.

Current TPS regulations punish the marketeer and do nothing about the company that ordered it and for the carrier supporting it. As a result unsolicited marketing has simply moved abroad. It started as far back as 2003 and has been moving full steam in that direction.

It is not a regulatory regime it is a marketing joke promoted by marketeers so not surprisingly as anything that is solely marketing driven it does not quite work.

Re:Sounds like a good time (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858814)

The problem is that the marketeer does not care.

Current TPS regulations punish the marketeer and do nothing about the company that ordered it and for the carrier supporting it.

Marketeers usually work on some sort of commission basis. Nobody (except politicians) pays by the number of calls dialed these days.

If 4 million numbers divert to the same honeypot, the marketeers will soon find they can't make any money in that telco's numbers, and they move on.

If its just an auto-dialer playing a taped message, the honeypot might be ineffective, although it still spares the subscriber from getting these calls.

But for those systems that put a sales person on the line as soon as there is an answer, its bound to punish them a little bit till they move to other targets.

As the recipient of too many of these calls, I really don't care who gets punished as long someone does. Punishment need not be all that precisely targeted, as long as someone in the delivery chain feels some pain I'm quite content to let that person redirect the punishment to the proper party.

Costs will go up, and this advertising method will, like the door to door salesman, become too expensive to deploy.

I can dream, can't I?

Re:Sounds like a good time (4, Informative)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859798)

The honeypot plays tones that are the typical keypress used to acknowledge your interest and connect you to an operator. You can hear this happening in the examples.

Re:Sounds like a good time (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32858610)

Nice reading. Many of the calls are posted.

Re:Sounds like a good time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32859140)

As good reading as some telemarketeer's listening ;).

Re:Sounds like a good time (1)

Barsteward (969998) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858690)

Probably better if they are redirected to the owners/managers of the telemarketing companies.

There is an app for that. (3, Interesting)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858376)

I wish someone would write an app were you can press a button on the phone and hang up and a smart adaptive talking application takes over and provides selective responses such as "can you repeat that bit again" or "right, tell me more" or "cool sign me up" and massively wastes these evil telemarketers time.

Re:There is an app for that. (5, Informative)

christoofar (451967) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858406)

There is an app for this and it's called Asterisk.

You can also do this with sipgate via Asterisk on any cell phone if you publish a sipgate number and route through to your cell and configure Asterisk do the filtering, which it can also intercept a whitelist/blacklist caller and then start playing games with them.

The cheap way of doing this is to let Google Voice be your answering machine, and change your voice message to "Hello? (4 second pause) Oh I'm sorry I'm not here." That is enough to trick most autodialers into routing your voicemail to a live operator, who then has the option of revealing who they are or hanging up and calling again. I don't accept blocked/800/877 and Unavailable caller ID. At least with Google Voice's translate feature I can bulk delete most of the crap voicemails without listening to them and if I did dump a call to VMX that was a legit caller I can read their voicemail and return it.

Re:There is an app for that. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32858554)

I have a captcha on my asterisk.

Someone dials me and i greet them with, press 1 if you want to talk to us. Telemarketers dialing machines dials a number, waits for an answer and then connects it to a free agent. This message is lost to them. If you haven't pressed 1 you are in an infinite loop.

Re:There is an app for that. (1)

MoeDumb (1108389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858752)

The telemarketer has a right to make a living. We, on the other hand, have a right to be left alone. Conclusion: We prevail, by any device necessary.

Re:There is an app for that. (4, Insightful)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858768)

he has a right to make a living - working on the dust carts. He has no right to harass random people. This is not free speech. This is expensive (for the recipient) speech. I think these people are entitled to a term of community service - preferably a long term.

Re:There is an app for that. (3, Insightful)

Bottles (1672000) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858796)

Since the time wasted of my life can never be recovered, a punitive fine of ten times that wasted time removed from the telemarketing company CEO's life should be perfectly reasonable.

'Did you resent that waste of your time? Press *1 to remove one minute fifteen seconds from Mr M Sandon's life now.'

I understand it's an option on the latest Asterisk build.

Re:There is an app for that. (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859038)

The telemarketer has a right to make a living.

Citation needed.

Re:There is an app for that. (2, Interesting)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859830)

The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights [un.org] , see Article 23:

Article 23.

        * (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
        * (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
        * (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
        * (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Re:There is an app for that. (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859358)

Hi, I'm a professional face-puncher. The professional face-puncher has a right to make a living. You may choose to block my punch or to not be there when my punch arrives, but I will still try to make a living punching your face "because I have the right to make a living."

Hi, I'm a professional pot-banger. The professional pot-banger has a right to make a living. You may choose to block my banging or to not be there when my banging occurs, but I will still try to make a living banging my pot "because I have the right to make a living."

Hi, I'm a professional flatulator. The professional flatulator has a right to make a living. You may choose to block my farts or to not be there when my fart arrives, but I will still try to make a living farting on your face "because I have the right to make a living."

I do hope I made my point clear with regards to your first sentence.

Stomp (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859422)

Hi, I'm a professional face-puncher.

There are probably plenty of boxing leagues that want you.

Hi, I'm a professional pot-banger.

From Stomp [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Stomp (0, Troll)

Aboroth (1841308) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859582)

Your attempt at being funny just comes off as being a smart-ass. Both of your "counter-examples" are things people have to choose to watch, while telemarketers call you whether you want them to or not.

Re:There is an app for that. (3, Funny)

daremonai (859175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859590)

Hi, I'm a professional flatulator.

We prefer the term flatulist [wikipedia.org] . But alas, with the passing of Joseph Pujol's [wikipedia.org] gas-passing, the golden age of flatulence is gone. YouTube fart lighters [youtube.com] are at best a distant bronze. The more distant the better.

Re:There is an app for that. (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859416)

And the companies hiring them have the right to piss off.

Re:There is an app for that. (2, Informative)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859302)

I don't accept blocked/800/877 and Unavailable caller ID.

You might want to include 888 and 866 numbers in there too. Also the next block of area code toll free numbers is expected to be 855 so preemptively blocking those ones may be advisable as well.

Re:There is an app for that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32858408)

"cool sign me up"? That's retarded... what if it was someone who you had previously done businesses selling additional services. They would have all your information and would just need your "ok" in order to bill you.

Re:There is an app for that. (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858434)

Not sure how it works in the UK, but in the US...it'd be in court very quickly, and the company/ies would end up with a little slap on the wrist--quite obviously, a recording cannot give that sort of consent, and with half a brain one could make it painfully clear that what was being talked to is a recording--this would be one instance where consumer protections actually do some good, rather than allowing consumers to be as stupid as they (not their recordings) want to be and have the companies end up getting beat up for it.

Re:There is an app for that. (1)

SmallMonkeyPirate (932116) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858528)

I am fairly sure its fine in the UK, the recorded warning is clear and repeated both at the start and during the conversation fufulling its legal obligation(in fact it only has to be said once at the start). It is unusual that the recording is a conversational message in its tone but it is quite clear. Should the calling companies chose you use an auto-dialling system to make outbound calls which prevent their staff from hearing the start of the message, then they should expect to not hear messages warning them of such.

Re:There is an app for that. (1)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858420)

You should never say anything like sign me up.
I tend to ask for whom they are calling and tell them never will do business with them ever again. I would love to waste their time, unfortunately my time is more expensive than theirs.

Re:There is an app for that. (5, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858620)

You just need to learn to make wasting time more valuable. I love wasting the time of these people.

One time I had someone getting very defensive when I managed to get them to agree they'd started with what was essentially a lie (I'd "won" something). Another time I shifted the conversation onto what colour underwear the caller was wearing.

I make a game of it. Do I have nothing better to do? Well, I could be reading Slashdot or watching TV - in other words, nope.

Re:There is an app for that. (3, Informative)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858860)

I do something similar. If they call me my answer is: "Sure I go time, I'm just in a middle of something, it won't take me more then a minute".

Then I leave the phone somewhere and forget about it (record is 15min of waiting). Every time I do that they blacklist my number.

Re:There is an app for that. (2, Informative)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859676)

"Mr Jones? Sure, I'll just go and get him." [leave the phone under the sofa cushion]

And you're right, they blacklist your number after you do this, so it works out well.

Rich.

Re:There is an app for that. (3, Funny)

Col Bat Guano (633857) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859324)

I was told I was eligible for a loan, and I thanked them profusely for it. I explained that I was a bankrupt, and that his message to me was such welcome news.

He kept asking how much my wife earned - I explained I didn't know as she kept that from me, but I didn't think her disposable income was high because she had to support my son's drug habit. Managed to spin that one out for quite a while.

Another time I annoyed the telemarketer so much that after he hung up on me he rang back to abuse me.

This http://www.xs4all.nl/~egbg/counterscript.html [xs4all.nl] is also fun to follow.

Re:There is an app for that. (2, Interesting)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859424)

It's fun, isn't it? Those of us with sadistic tendencies but these inconvenient scruples get to have fun without the guilt picking on people we don't even feel remotely sorry for.

I've answered the phone as Satan, I've tried converting a telemarketer to Zoroasteranism, all great fun. One of my favorites, though, was when I had one trying to sell me windows and I told her my house burned down. It took a couple minutes before it dawned on her that I was talking on my landline - ergo, house exists. I told her the phone was the only thing that survived, but she didn't believe it, and the level of triumph in her voice was pathetically hilarious.

Another one of my favorites with surveys is to patiently take them and do what I can to poison the data. Probably the best thing you can do to hurt these assholes.

Re:There is an app for that. (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859534)

Yeah. I have my own routines: the Grieving Widow, the Distracted Parent Whose Kid Is Killed During The Phone Call, the Junkie Who Was Waken Up By The Call With Blood All Over His Hands and one of all-time my favourites, the Mafioso.
It's like shitting on their faces through the phone. Lots of fun.

Re:There is an app for that. (4, Funny)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858524)

We need a port of ELIZA [wikipedia.org] to a robust voice-recognition platform with text-to-speech of the responses :)

Re:There is an app for that. (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859750)

"Can you elaborate on that?

What makes you believe I might be interested in your product?

You seem quite positive."

Re:There is an app for that. (3, Interesting)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858564)

I want any call that comes in without caller ID to do that without ever fking ringing my phone. And get this, I'd pay the app writer a premium if their adaptive voice app keeps the shitheels on the phone for more than 5 minutes. Even better if this worked in concert with the service provider so I could still get calls.

Myself and some friends played a game in the 90s for a short time called "Fk the telemarketer", this was with land lines as cellphone time was too expensive. The goal was to keep them on the line for excessive amounts of time.

1 point per minute
10 points for every bogus credit card number given
20 for every bogus checking acount number given
100 points for a call back number
1000 points for death threats

The main idea was to record the call and then pick the best on the weekend listening to the recordings, playing D&D and drinking.

My 'feeble old man' was usually the winner and my best ran over 10 minutes of me 'trying to find another card' after having given them a few bogus cards.

I have to say that recording is brilliant in it's timing. I always thought an Elisa style program done with a text to speech program was the way to go but did not have the coding skills so lost interest.

The group I hung out with broke up and drifted apart. A few dunked phones and lost emails and a level of paranoia about 'real names' and I doubt I could find them again. I did keep in touch with two of them but the connection is tenuous at best and I've not heard from them in a few years.

Re:There is an app for that. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858782)

Even better if this worked in concert with the service provider so I could still get calls.

We get a lot of spam calls on our second ISDN number, if they call that we can still get called on the regular one. I think flagging a number as busy is done by your local system so you could probably get one that routes telemarketers to your robo line and keeps one channel open for regular calls, capturing them from the regular number too.

Re:There is an app for that. (1)

Aliotroph (1297659) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858900)

100,000 points if you can trick them into wrecking their software, their phone or flicking that voltage switch on the back of their workstation. (I wonder what the sentence would be for such an awesome crime.)

Re:There is an app for that. (4, Funny)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859006)

A nobel peace prize?

Re:There is an app for that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32859528)

I want any call that comes in without caller ID to do that without ever fking ringing my phone.

Get vonage and block them, it's a standard feature. We use it, and it works. It also means you can't get called by legitimate contacts that withhold caller ID. Something we can live with.

Re:There is an app for that. (5, Interesting)

jparker (105202) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858648)

My uncle used his six-year-old as that "smart adaptive application". Kid loved talking on the phone, so he got any telemarketer. Would often take them quite a while to work out that the excited claims of "Gosh!" and "Wow!" weren't really leading to a sale.

Re:There is an app for that. (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858786)

Or, better yet, the ability to automatically reject calls from anyone not on your phone's phonebook.

Re:There is an app for that. (2, Interesting)

dotgain (630123) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859196)

Where I live, many government agencies such as Police and the Tax Department call from blocked numbers. Ignoring the obvious joke that you don't want to talk to these people anyway, the reality is you'll often get calls from numbers that aren't in your phonebook. My income certainly would suffer if I adopted your suggestion, ever job I've ever got in the last ten years would have resulted from saying "Hello?" to a stranger.

Re:There is an app for that. (1)

Deorus (811828) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859516)

I wish I could make my phone just answer all unidentified calls with the message:

Greetings! First of all please do realize that you're talking to a computer that is not listening back because your number is not identified, and secondly I'm only answering this call to make you waste money.

Re:There is an app for that. (1)

bu1137 (979245) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859648)

I did. It's primitive, but works astonishingly well. The answers are even pre-generated via text-to-speech engine. Most people don't get it. The best so far I put on youtube. If you understand german, prepare for a good laugh: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eOcjrIGf_Y [youtube.com]

Re:There is an app for that. (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859818)

I love how the telemarketer calls you shameless and rude. :P

genetic algorithms (3, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858422)

Hmmm... permutations of random interactions and voice prompting plugged into a genetic algorithm. Best series of responses wins.

Epic.

Re:genetic algorithms (1)

vivian (156520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858494)

I like this idea a lot - someone definitely needs to develop a phone answering bot that could detect when the telemarketer has finished giving their spiel, so it could let the telemarketer give their spiel, then respond with one of several pre-recorded messages that are selected by the GA, and as you suggest, have it keep trying different combinations so that it selects the sorts of responses that keep the telemarketer tied up as long as possible.

I get one or two calls every day from someone wanting donations for some charity or other, informing me that I have won a special holiday discount deal, or trying to convince me to change providers. Even more annoying are the calls that just hang up when you answer, probably because the telemarketer dialer dialed me but they didn't have any drones handy to give me their extra special deal spiel.

Re:genetic algorithms (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859164)

Just wait for an random 3-5 seconds silence then give a "sorry?", "sounds interesting", *cough*, "oh wait, hang on...", "pardon", "I'm not sure", etc.

After all you don't really care about recognizing what's in the spiel right?

I wonder... (1, Interesting)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858452)

How well would a system like this go in the states? I'm sure some telemarketing firm here, if they got hit with something like this with any regularity, would get litigious and try to play the 'they're interfering with our ability to do business' card, and frankly, it might have half a prayer--especially if the conflict arose between dueling telcos.

I suppose, if used at the subscriber's election (opt-in strictly) on their live telephone line, it could have limited uses...but setting up 4 million lines strictly as honeypots, aside from the legality question...it would be tough to get a good distribution of numbers (across all area codes/prefixes owned by a given telco) given that a good number of NPAs are already tapped (returns and such allow SOME turnover, but not much).

Re:I wonder... (2, Informative)

Racemaniac (1099281) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858506)

how about reading the article?
i mean... so you know what you're talking about?

to answer your questions:
-the numbers are on a do not call list, so the companies haven't got the slightest right to call them, it's illegal in fact
-it would be an opt-in for clients, but currently only active for unused numbers of the company (the ton of numbers they haven't assigned to a customer yet), and for the numbers of their own offices.

i mean seriously... are you just trolling? cause your entire comment is just so wrong -_- if you don't RTFA, don't make dumb assumptions?

Re:I wonder... (1, Interesting)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858534)

to answer your questions: -the numbers are on a do not call list, so the companies haven't got the slightest right to call them, it's illegal in fact

In this scenario, yes; to be entirely honest, I'm not entirely sure--haven't looked yet--but I'm willing to place a bet that if an unused number is on the United States' Do Not Call list, it doesn't mean a whole lot because a subscriber did not request it, rendering that fact moot. Might be different in the UK, I don't live there, and in many facets their laws and trends are different from those in the US.

-it would be an opt-in for clients, but currently only active for unused numbers of the company (the ton of numbers they haven't assigned to a customer yet), and for the numbers of their own offices.

Read that part; but, once again, we get into the point of legal climate and interpretation in each country. What the UK might see as fair, the US might well not. Sadly, in the US, being opted-in unless you opt-out (say, sneaking a clause into a Terms of Use) isn't 100% out of line yet. As far as unused numbers go, see above; oh, and numbering resources are very tightly controlled in the US, there are likely few telcos that have that many unassigned numbers to create something anywhere near this scale, and still have numbers available in their NPAs/COCs to give to their subscribers--and if they're left unavailable strictly for this purpose, state regulators and/or NANPA might use that as grounds to refuse new COC allotments.

Re:I wonder... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858734)

Sadly, in the US, being opted-in unless you opt-out (say, sneaking a clause into a Terms of Use) isn't 100% out of line yet.

Lol, that's putting it mildly.
It's freaking de rigueur in the US.

Re:I wonder... (1, Informative)

adolf (21054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858748)

TFA states that the calls are received on their office "DDI block." In US terms, this is the same as a DID block.

Therefore, the numbers are assigned. They are subscribers to them.

The fucking summary accused the writer of being a "telecoms operator," which is perhaps misleading. At cursory glance of TFA(s), they appear to be just an ISP with that happens to subscribe to a whole lot more incoming phone numbers than they currently use in their own office, which simply isn't all that uncommon in a world of VoIP and PRI for any business.

Therefore, any Do-Not-Call list, in any sane country, should apply.

(I was going to href all of the acronyms in this posting, but anyone who is interested can just look them up on Wikipedia for their own selves.)

Re:I wonder... (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858960)

At cursory glance of TFA(s), they appear to be just an ISP with that happens to subscribe to a whole lot more incoming phone numbers than they currently use in their own office, which simply isn't all that uncommon in a world of VoIP and PRI for any business.

The offer VoIP services, including routing calls from POTS to VoIP for their customers. The numbers that they have are ones that have not yet been assigned to a customer. You typically get these assigned in large blocks, and they appear to now be using all of the ones that are assigned to them but not yet given to a customer for the honeypot.

As an added bonus, by the time that they are given to a customer, it's likely that they will likely already be blacklisted by telemarketers, making these numbers more attractive to potential customers than ones from other companies.

Re:I wonder... (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858984)

Good enough -- I hadn't researched them in any great detail beyond what TFA(s) offered.

However: Does any of the verbiage that you posted mean, in any way, that they are not currently subscribers whom are assigned these numbers?

Re:I wonder... (3, Insightful)

Hertzyscowicz (1106209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859032)

to answer your questions: -the numbers are on a do not call list, so the companies haven't got the slightest right to call them, it's illegal in fact

In this scenario, yes; to be entirely honest, I'm not entirely sure--haven't looked yet--but I'm willing to place a bet that if an unused number is on the United States' Do Not Call list, it doesn't mean a whole lot because a subscriber did not request it, rendering that fact moot. Might be different in the UK, I don't live there, and in many facets their laws and trends are different from those in the US.

The number still belongs to someone, or they wouldn't be allowed to hook up a honeypot system in the first place, ergo they are allowed to request that it be put on the Do Not Call list. They'd just have to take it off the list when they sell the number on to someone else if the subscriber requested it.

Okay telemarketers - your move! (4, Interesting)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858456)

Laws against certain types of telemarketing just pushed it offshore.
Better spam filters in turn created better spammers.
I will watch with a sort of morbid curiosity what the telemarketing industry comes up with next, assuming that this idea makes their current business model unworkable.

The do not call register in Australia has worked surprisingly well for me. I've had a very very small number of calls that were flat out illegal. We get calls from people trying to get us to sell raffles for charities (which are legal but have to call within certain hours) but they all use listed numbers so we simply don't answer them, and we let withheld numbers go to voicemail most of the time (the phone is configured to not even ring when a withheld number calls).

Re:Okay telemarketers - your move! (1, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858546)

Laws against certain types of telemarketing just pushed it offshore.

This seems like an extremely good argument for high international call connection charges.

Say $0.50 to connect a call overseas.

And a requirement that VoIP providers must verify the nationality of their customers, and apply the charge to every call connected from an overseas customer.

Then the telemarketers should stop going offshore.

Re:Okay telemarketers - your move! (2, Interesting)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858644)

That's a good idea on the surface but on the basis that these guys are already breaking the law, they can just set up a voip connection themselves locally (even on a compromised PC) and just bounce the call off that. Then they are no longer calling from overseas as far as anyone can tell.

Re:Okay telemarketers - your move! (3, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858740)

Then whoever provided the VoIP access account, whichever customer signed up for it (or the provider, in case of a fraudulent customer) will be on the hook for paying all those $0.50 charges to the government, as soon as it's shown that the caller identity was fake.

As in, the law should state $0.50 is due for each VoIP call connected to a PSTN gateway, and it can only be waived, if the provider can prove their customer is in the US, and the caller id they send shows their working US phone number.

If the account becomes compromised, and that fact is discovered, then those fees are due to the government retroactively.

That way, there is a financial incentive, for organizations to take reasonable measures to secure their voip-connected systems.

Preventing the PSTN from being disrupted or made useless for its critical purposes certainly trumps orgs wanting the convenience of easy connectivity without taking basic due diligence steps to secure their networks

Re:Okay telemarketers - your move! (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859348)

So spammers hijack computers, the owners get stuck with the bill. Again, the spammer doesn't care if you get charged. Incidentally, you can't force a 50 cent price on long distance anyway. That goes against pretty much everything the US is supposed to stand for. Also, it won't work, as you are underestimating how easy it is to hijack or bypass any system. Everyone gets hurt, except the spammer and the phone company collecting the 50 cents.

Re:Okay telemarketers - your move! (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859840)

So what about all the migrants who want to talk to their family regularly? You want to up their phone bills? And if that's govt enforced, how do you propose to enforce it in every country? A country with a lot of telemarketing jobs would be stupid to sign up for a treaty like that.

Re:Okay telemarketers - your move! (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858636)

For Belgium there is http://www.robinsonlist.be/ [robinsonlist.be] which works for direct mail and phone calls and works very good. I get no phone calls and no direct mail in my name, except those that are allowed.
Allowed are companies I bought something and much worse, political parties.

I have not had a telemarketing call in several years.

Re:Okay telemarketers - your move! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32859630)

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I moved to Australia from NZ a few years back and had no idea that a Do Not Call register existed here! I was shocked by the level of telemarketing - it just didn't happen back in NZ (at least for my numbers).

Registered now, and looking forward to not having to deal with so many calls :)
(Although I am terribly disappointed that I will never hear from yet another person with an Indian accent, who has a western name (Mary was the last one) and is "calling from Melbourne"...)

Fun for AI, eh? (3, Funny)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858466)

I find it interesting that this is another, alternative, way that spam encourages the development of AI --- just think of the fun of having a reply-bot which could string these guys out for as long as the bot passes the Turing test!

Re:Fun for AI, eh? (2, Funny)

earthloop (449575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859088)

I think a bot has a better chance of passing a Turing test than a telemarketer.

Man in the Middle (5, Funny)

PiAndWhippedCream (1566727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858474)

1. Find two telemarketers who call you at (roughly) the same time.

2. Put them on the phone with each other.

3. ???

4. Hilarity ensues.

Re:Man in the Middle (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858702)

I didn't realise these were so common. I've had one since I've owned a mobile; that's about 20 years. The land line has always been on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) list.

And in the ten years I've had a desk job, only one there too. I was almost sold a fitted kitchen for my area in the open plan office. The microwave and integrated ironing board would have been sweet...

Re:Man in the Middle (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32858770)

Submit this idea to Reddit. MrBabyMan or one of his cronies will repost it on Digg the next day, and then 4chan crew will swoop in and do anything in their power to make it happen.

Re:Man in the Middle (1)

Quick Reply (688867) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858800)

5. Profit!!!

3 minutes? (5, Insightful)

aylons (924093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858498)

Headline should be: "Telemarketer failed the Turing test."

But I guess this is not as much breaking news as it is a confirmation, .

Do Not Call lists really help TM companies (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32858502)

The Do Not Call and Do Not Mail lists in Australia are a great help to Telemarketing companies like us. We pay for flagfalls on all our calls, and we use two predictive diallers to do the job so our telcom bills were always high. It basically gives us a list of people who are certainly not going to buy things over the phone from us. Since the DNC list was put into place, our call to sale ratio went up considerably. Thanks ADMA!

Re:Do Not Call lists really help TM companies (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858556)

I never thought of it that way. It's pretty win-win, isn't it?

We need an opt in list for tele and email sales (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32858604)

We need an opt in list.

Then it should be published on the internet because it is those bastards who are the ones who have kept the spammers in work all these years, while the rest of us have been trying to get rid of them!

They deserve vilification just as much as the spammers themselves.

Re:We need an opt in list for tele and email sales (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858866)

Just start a spam campaign of New Cheap Viagra, now with Extra Cyanide!

Re:Do Not Call lists really help TM companies (2, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858688)

Yep, my friend works for a telemarketer in the nonprofit space and the various DNC lists just reduce the size of the huge database tables he has to work with (hundreds of millions of rows). They spend a great deal of time and energy trying to find the optimum person to call in each neighborhood, they want the person that's most likely to not only say yes, but who will get their neighbors to donate as well. That way they spend the lowest amount per dollar raised.

Re:Do Not Call lists really help TM companies (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858712)

I'd have thought that would be the case. Yet for some reason the US telemarketing companies always object to a Do Not Call list.

Re:Do Not Call lists really help TM companies (2, Funny)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858888)

Dunno about the US one, but the objection UK telemarketers usually have to it is that it is kind-of expensive. My company used to do telemarketing as follow-ons from our (business-to-business) mailshots, but access to the TPS database costs about £5,000 per annum, which was hard to justify for us: our turnover was only about £30,000 at the time so it would have become our single largest expense and thus sunk a huge chunk of our profits. We therefore had to stop doing marketing calls.

Re:Do Not Call lists really help TM companies (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32858940)

That's really to bad. You had to give up a marketing strategy that annoys the shit out of random people. How terrible for you.

Re:Do Not Call lists really help TM companies (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859252)

Wait, it cost 5k but brought in 30k? That's a 5x ROI. Why did you "have to stop" then?

Re:Do Not Call lists really help TM companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32859350)

Wait, it cost 5k but brought in 30k? That's a 5x ROI. Why did you "have to stop" then?

because access to the TPS database costs about £5,000 per annum != full cost of telemarketing.

Re:Do Not Call lists really help TM companies (1)

Antarius (542615) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859466)

Turnover != Profit

Re:Do Not Call lists really help TM companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32859230)

we use two predictive diallers to do the job

Fuck off and die in a fire.

funny but ineffective (3, Insightful)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858608)

They should have randomized the recordings. It doesn't really make any sense. I mean if your employees hear it maybe 3 times, they can recognize it in seconds and hang up and it won't waste nearly enough time. Someone could get a line of volunteers and record like a hundred random "hold on just a minute...I can talk in a second..." type intros followed by random noises and mostly silence. Now that would waste time!
Also, if they're the phone company, why didn't they just identify the real, actual source of the calls or even just pretend to be interested enough to get the company name and then sue the pants off them and put the upper management in jail?

Re:funny but ineffective (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858664)

Also, if they're the phone company

You seem to be under the impression that this is 1900. They're not the phone company, they're a phone company, and they operate largely over BT's lines. The callers are not coming from the same network that they are using, so all they can do is identify the source network (or, more accurately, the network that routed the calls to them).

My Drastic Solution to Telemarketing (1)

oakwine (1709682) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858828)

I decided many years ago that telemarketing was too high a price for allowing incoming calls. So I do not. Anyone who wishes to speak with me by phone must inform me by email and give me a time to call. I will then call them. After I finish the call, I unplug the phone. Oh ... no cell phone either. Life is much improved.

Something similar (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858848)

I have a similar setup, i used to get constant calls from the same small handful of marketing companies so now i have Asterisk configured to route any calls from them to a series of sound samples of borat... He starts off saying hello, waits a few seconds, says hello again, waits a few secs, then asks who he's speaking to etc...

Re:Something similar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32858980)

We make the sexy time now, yes?

Cell phone use caused by telemarketers (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859010)

I quit using my landline years ago and only use a cell phone - no more telemarketers. The wireless idea is also handy...

Long before, I quit using my fax machine, since I received primarily junk faxes.

Re:Cell phone use caused by telemarketers (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859258)

You'd think.

I have the same thing. They call my cell. Bastards.

Re:Cell phone use caused by telemarketers (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859452)

I quit using my landline years ago

Do you still pay for it? Or do you pay for cable TV instead so that you can get cable Internet?

In capitalist Britannia,the spammed outspam you ;) (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859150)

For anyone not lucky enough to have a honeytrapping provider, at least there is the http://www.xs4all.nl/~egbg/counterscript.html [xs4all.nl]

Ever try youmail.com? (1)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859176)

Since dropping my wired phone service, I let youmail handle my voicemail. It's possible to have a different outgoing message for each number calling you.

Calls with no callerID get a message saying that I don't accept such calls, and then youmail hangs up on them, not allowing them to leave a message. Any toll-free number or number I don't recognize goes to voicemail and they get a message asking them to leave all the details about their call and I'll get back to them. Numbers I know to be telemarketers aren't allowed to leave a message.

About the only unrecognized numbers I answer are the ones from within my own area code. They usually turn out to be wrong numbers or political surveys.

Working as a dialler coder... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32859200)

I work closely with lots of companies in the UK who use a particular predictive dialler. And as such I know that most of these companies are small 10-50 agent setups. Most of the time they have nothing more than the script on a screen, a headset and a 2ft wide desk. It's horrible.
To get to my point... I know for a fact that most companies don't subscribe to the TPS list, and even if they did, they wouldn't know how to use it. I hear some of the support calls come though, and the questions are just terrible/illegal.
The favourite question is "how do I set up pinging". Pinging is basically taking a number range (say 0777xxxxxxx to 0779xxxxxxxx) and ringing each number in sequence. You only connect the call for 1/3rd of a second, so the result is the phone doesn't ring, it just makes a "ping" noise. It is a very bad thing to do. The point is people who are breaking the law by pinging are no going to care about TPS.
There are other regulations, such as "drop rate" which s a measure of how many calls you can throw away without connecting. In the UK it is set at 3% in any 24 hour period. Guess how many try and comply with this....
Generally in the industry, people will try and trick they can. When banned from one provider... switch. The never ending cycle continues.

Posting anon for obvious reasons!

sour note (1, Flamebait)

Trisha-Beth (9231) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859254)

1) Andrews & Arnold Ltd don't have 4 million numbers. They have fewer than 100,000 geographic numbers, plus a few tens of thousands of non-geographic numbers, assigned to them by the UK telephony regulator. I suppose it's possible that they could have agreed to use more through another provider.

2) Trapping a few telemarketers and tormenting them for entertainment purposes is fine, as is making money for receiving these calls, but what will happen in practise is that they will answer a lot more "wrong numbers" from regular people who have mis-dialed. If they search their existing CDRs for rejected calls to their unused numbers they will almost certainly find that there are a few numbers that already receive many call attempts because the number actually dialed is similar to some other genuine number. Recording and using mistaken calls from "your mum" for entertainment purposes and charging her for the privilege is somewhat immoral in my opinion.

3) The correct behaviour is to reject unused numbers with an NU indication. Anything else is antisocial and profiteering, but they would be welcome to do this on their freephone numbers (where they are charged for the calls).

Note: I work for a telephone company that does have millions of numbers assigned, including many premium rate and pay-per-call numbers. We could make a significant amount of money from caller's mistakes, but that would not be right.

Re:sour note (1)

oh_bugger (906574) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859292)

I don't kick muggers in the balls if I catch them because I would make a significant amount of joy from it and it wouldn't be right.

Re:sour note (5, Informative)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859794)

You didn't read the article did you?

1. they do have 4 million numbers, they're not a phone compnay but an ISP that offers VoIP services.

2. The numbers they have are assigned to them, and are obviously able to be called, but ar not handed out to a subscriber yet (so technically,A&A are the subscriber).

3. They added every one to the TPS list - that is the correct thing to do. The message they play says the right things, giving the caller a chance to realise its a wrong number before going off on one - its just that telemarketers play a recording, and only connect to a human if you press a key, hence the beep near the beginning of each of the traps they have on the website. Regular people are going to hear the initial 'this is not a valid number'.

Finally!! (1)

XB-70 (812342) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859318)

Now, if we could just convince the majors everywhere to set up their entire systems of unused numbers as honeypots, we'd all be better off.

google voice anyone. (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859544)

google voice is great for this sort of stuff. not the time wasting part but to all out blocking of junk. make shure you get unlisted landline number first then give out the google voice number to the genrel puplic job apps so on. set it up to auto block no caller id numbers you can hehe. if a junk call does get threw you can log in google voice and flage it spam you will never get a call from that number again. you can also enable the call filter on all or just numbers you dont have on your contact list aka whitelist. the filter makes them identify there name and is told to you before they are allowed to complete the call. this works wonders on bill colection people to hehe. google voice gives you the controle you should of always had.

Elderly targets (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859686)

Piss me off the most. As he got on in years, my dad was targeted by a variety of scams via phone - mostly from Canada. They would talk him in to paying fees for sending his lottery winnings, shipping for 'free' stuff, etc. He ended up spending thousands of dollars before we realized what was going on. Finally I forwarded his phone to mine, and made it my goal to screw with these guys as much as possible (almost never women). Did all the 'slow talk', and put the phone down tricks. When they would tell me to get my checkbook I would say 'OK' then hang up and wait for them to call right back. :) I think my maximum time was over 30 minutes for one call. He was sure he was going to score over 10 grand. One guy got so pissed that he said he was going to come to my house and beat me up. Sadly he never showed up. To my way of thinking, a guy that goes into a bank and steals a bag of money is more honorable than these scum. I'd love to see some wild west justice applied to them
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