If you have a cell phone, odds are you have received any number of calls from numbers you don’t recognize. These calls had become so frequent that I employed a policy of blocking unknown numbers if they didn’t leave a message. I don’t trust anyone trying to sell me anything over the phone; I never have, and I never will. So I have always assumed the calls are scammers, and they have been dealt with accordingly: another call, another block. My list is somewhere around 120 numbers, last I checked.
The people and computer systems that engage in this highly annoying type of outbound-telemarketing range from shady, unethical business practices all the way down to straight con artists. We have all heard the horror stories about someone’s elderly mother who thought she was paying the IRS back taxes, and inadvertently gives away thousands of dollars to a con man over the phone. Why is this happening, and what can we do about it? Before we answer that, let's get a quick history lesson on America’s telephony infrastructure:
It blows. Mainly, our telephone line infrastructure hasn’t had an update since the 80’s. In case you were wondering, yes, this is the same infrastructure that connects our cell phones, power grids, transportation systems, nuclear silos, the whole nine. If our landline systems had been updated as our personal computers have been, you likely wouldn’t be reading this article right now.
As is stands, here is a cold hard fact: anyone that has a telephone number can be caller ID spoofed. This means that a hacker or scammer can trick the caller ID into thinking that the call is originating from somewhere other than where it actually is. This is how Russia could call you, but you wouldn’t know because the number will show up with your own local area code. You would think the IRS is calling, but its actually the Bangladesh division.
To make matters worse, there is NOTHING that can be done to stop it. Even the FTC and FBI cybercrimes units can't lift a finger unless hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line (typically by very large companies or enterprises at risk.) That pretty much leaves us, the cell phone- bearing citizens of this great nation, up a creek without a paddle to our name.
This app has staggering potential. On the surface, the app stops these calls from coming into your phone, and it can do this in a few different ways. First off, the app has a list of numbers that it is constantly updating, numbers that known scammers and telemarketers use to spread their evil message. These numbers are the easiest to block; the app simply denies the call from coming into your phone. Remember my list of 120 blocked numbers? Well, Robokiller’s list is over 217 thousand numbers. And we aren’t even scratching the surface here on what makes this app a Godsend.
Because of the reality that this type of attack cannot be stopped, the creators of Robokiller found an ingenious, and highly entertaining workaround: waste as much of the scammer’s time as possible. They accomplish this by having a variety of hilarious pre-recorded messages to play for our slimy scammer friends, and thereby trick said scammer into thinking they are speaking with a live human. These messages will play for any number that calls your phone under the guise of a spoofed ID, and they are designed to keep the scammer interested and on the line. You can understand their logic here: any minute scammers spend listening to a fake recording is a minute they are not making money or taking money from some poor fool. You can even record your own message to play over Robokiller!
Not stopping with merely wasting scammers time, Robokiller also records each of the calls it sends to these messages, so at the end of the day, you can kick back with a glass of sweet tea and listen through each of the calls Robokiller has faithfully blocked. Chuckle away, my friend.
At a price of 25 dollars a year, this app is perfect for consumers and businesses alike. There is also another large global benefit to Robokiller: if enough people get the app, the entire industry of telemarketing could be shaken to the ground. Companies that use these shady sales tactics, and scammers alike, could simply not afford to hire people to listen to ridiculous recorded messages all day.
Ever dream of a day without telemarketers? This is a solid step in the right direction. As always, please contact Mac Help for all your tech needs.
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