Robo Revenge automates the process of suing telemarketers

Robo Revenge is the latest brainchild of Joshua Browder, creator of the robolawyer parking-ticket-fighting app called DoNotPay. Robo Revenge gives you a burner credit card, which provides its robolawyer with the contact info for the telemarketer, and then files a suit against them.

Vice has more details:

Robo Revenge combines both features to automatically add you to the Do Not Call Registry, generate a virtual DoNotPay burner credit card to provide scammers when they illegally call you anyways, use the transaction information to get the scammer’s contact information, then walk you through how to sue them for as much as $3,000 per call under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a law already on the books meant to protect consumers from calls that violate the Do Not Call Registry. The app also streamlines the litigation paperwork by automatically generating demand letters and court filing documents.

“There are two types of scammers. There are the scammers based abroad who are trying to get your bank details—those people you can’t sue because you don’t even know where they are. But the type we can stop is the businesses like a U.S. based travel company trying to sell you a cruise and asking for your credit card number,” Browder said. “We can take them out with U.S. based laws. If they’re calling someone and every time they’re calling someone, there’s a risk of a penalty, maybe they’ll think twice.”

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Telemarketers tormented

This video shows a method for "torturing" telemarketers that appears to be as effective as Lenny but much simpler. In fact, it's just one word. Can you guess which one it is? Read the rest

Vacation scammer telemarketer spends 15 minutes talking to a bot

The Jolly Roger Telephone Company is a service that answers phone calls with pre-recorded bots designed to keep telemarketers on the line as long as possible. In these recording, we can hear a scammer trying to trick a bot into paying money for bogus vacation credits. The bot keeps her on the line for 14 minutes.

From the YouTube description:

Here's our newest and my current favorite Jolly Roger bot. His name is Ox-Gut McGee and he has a few new surprises for the telemarketers. In this call, a telemarketer is trying to convince us that we have $2600 in "vacation credits" with a travel agent and we're about to lose all this credit if we don't act now. Naturally, the goal is to get some payment information from us so we can hold this incredible vacation. It breaks my heart that this scam is so effective. We at Jolly Roger Telephone are intercepting as many of these calls as we can, engaging the telemarketers with bots, and wasting as much of their time as possible.

As with all of our bots, Ox-Gut uses IBM Watson to process the speech from the telemarketers. We have found that IBM provides the best speech recognition for low-fidelity telephone calls, and it sure was effective for this particular call. The telemarketer was getting impatient and ready to hang up several times, but Ox-Gut sucked her back into the conversation. Also, I was able to isolate and enhance the inbound audio so we can hear a quiet conversation between the telemarketer and her supervisor.

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FCC intends to fine man $120 million for making over 96 million robocalls

Federal Communications Commission officials say Adrian Abramovich of Florida made as many as a million illegal telemarketing calls a days, at times using lines reserved for hospital emergencies. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said at a hearing yesterday, “This scheme was particularly abhorrent because, given its breadth, it appears to have substantially disrupted the operations of an emergency medical paging provider. It did this by slowing down and potentially disabling its network. Pagers may be low-tech, but for doctors, these devices are simple and dependable standbys.”

From Miami New Times:

According to complaints sent to the FCC, homeowners have said for years that robocalls have been trying to get them to sign up for fake free trips or vacations. The robocalls would tell the victims to "press 1" to hear more about exclusive vacation deals with companies such as TripAdvisor, Expedia, Hilton, and Marriott and then route anyone who fell for the scam to a call center, where the perpetrators would try to hook gullible customers into buying time-shares that had nothing to do with those companies.

Eventually, TripAdvisor got wind of the illegal calling campaigns and launched its own investigation, which traced the calls back to Abramovich, who ran a company called Marketing Strategy Leaders out of 2000 Bayshore Dr., a swanky address in the gated Coconut Grove community L'Hermitage. In April 2016, TripAdvisor tipped off the FCC.

Abramovich will be given to opportunity to respond to the FCC's findings before the fine is imposed.

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It pleases me to see Sirius XM telemarketing calls in my spam folder

A couple of years ago, the lease on my Ford Explorer hybrid ran out and I returned the car to the dealer. Ever since, Sirius XM Radio has called me on a weekly (and when they are on a roll, daily) basis to try to get me to reactivate their radio service on the car, which I haven't seen for over 2 years.

I have communicated with Sirius XM by telephone, by e-mail, and by snail mail to tell them that they should not waste their valuable time trying to get me to reactivate service on a car that is no longer in my possession or under my control. My e-mails and letters to Sirius XM go unanswered. The Sirius employees I speak with on the phone assure me that they will make the calls stop. But they never stop.

Fortunately, Sirius XM has my Google Voice number, so I can block their calls and send them directly to a spam account. Now my phone doesn't ring when they call. The only way I know they've been calling me is when I look at my spam folder on my Google Voice account. It gives me pleasure to see the growing list of Sirius XM's futile attempts to contact me.

I'm currently subscribing to Sirius XM with the car I drive now. When the lease expires in a couple of years, I expect they'll start calling me again, and I will get twice as many calls as before. But these calls, like all their others, will go straight to the spam folder. Read the rest