New technology may help fight robocalls; FTC recognizes two programs

Courtesy FTC

Courtesy FTC

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

“I can’t understand how they keep calling me,” says Idaho Falls resident Karl.

Day in and day out, the same number 210-280-8487, calls like clockwork.

“I can expect a call about every day, sometimes I miss a day, but the call comes,” he says. “This time the caller ID said it was from Providian Finance.”

But when he answered, the phone number showed up as the 210- number, and the man said he was with Microsoft , and he needed remote access to his computer.

“I just hung up on him,” Karl says.

Consumers are getting more robocalls than ever.  Technology is to blame for increase. Companies are using autodialers that can send out thousands of phone calls every minute for an incredibly low-cost.

Using its enforcement authority, FTC has stopped companies responsible for billions of illegal robocalls that have offered fraudulent credit card services, so-called auto warranty protection plans, medical discount cards, and grant procurement programs.

The commission recently concluded (April 2, 2013) a market-stimulation challenge, awarding prizes to innovators who developed technical solutions to the problem of illegal robocalls. (Learn how robocalls work)

The winners Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss will each receive half of the $50,000 grand prize.

Both inventions would intercept and filters illegal robocalls using technology to “blacklist” the bad guys and “whitelist” the good guys. According to the FTC, both proposals would also separate unapproved robocallers using a CAPTCHA-style test to prevent illegal calls from even ringing through.

The top two:

  • Foss’s Nomorobo is cloud-based and hangs up on scammers before they can get through!
  • Danis’s Robocall Filtering System and Device with Autonomous Blacklisting,Whitelisting, GrayListing and Caller ID Spoof Detection could be applied as a mobile app, an electronic device, or part of your phone service.

In addition, the FTC is continuing aggressive law enforcement efforts, pursuing innovative strategies to gather evidence against robocall kingpins, producing consumer education, and coordinating with industry and other experts to fight robocallers.

Courtesy of FTC

Courtesy of FTC

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1 Comment

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One response to “New technology may help fight robocalls; FTC recognizes two programs

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