Aaron Ross just won $50,000 from the FTC in a contest that asked people to invent something that would help put an end to those annoying telemarketing robocalls.
His invention, called Nomorobo, sounds reasonably simple to set up and I’d really like to try it.
Tell us how it works.
If you have Simultaneous Ring on your phone and someone calls your number, that call is being split and goes first to a Nomorobo number. In real time, it’s analyzing the caller ID and caller frequency across multiple phone lines. It’s a red flag, for example, when the same phone number has made 5,000 calls to different numbers in the past hour. It’s also a red flag when the same phone number is sequentially calling large blocks of phone numbers. Both scenarios indicate robocalling patterns.
If it detects a robocaller, the call is automatically disconnected before the consumer’s phone even rings. Those numbers go onto a blacklist. If an incoming number doesn’t appear on the blacklist, the software asks the caller to type in a number. If it’s a human telemarketer, they’d respond. If it’s a robocaller, they can’t respond and the call is terminated.
Obviously there are some things that would need to be sorted out like who runs the blacklist and how easy it would be for organizations to loophole their way off of it, but it’s a good start. The existing do not call lists, though they do help some, aren’t doing the job as effectively as they were supposed to. There are always going to be folks who disregard them, and this would help slow that down at least for a while.