FTC Awards $50,000 Prize For Ideas On Killing Robocalls

from the die-rachel-from-cardholder-services,-die dept

We mentioned last fall that the FTC had declared “Rachel from Cardholder Services” as enemy number one — referencing the all too common spammy robocaller scams that many of us have received on our phones. It has now awarded two $25,000 prizes out of 744 entries in ways to help block such robocalls.

According to the FTC, Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss will each receive $25,000 for their proposals, which both use software to intercept and filter out illegal prerecorded calls using technology to “blacklist” robocaller phone numbers and “whitelist” numbers associated with acceptable incoming calls. Both proposals also would filter out unapproved robocallers using a CAPTCHA-style test to prevent illegal calls from ringing through to a user.

Of course, now the followup questions: will these solutions actually be put in place and work? And how long will it take for robocallers to route around these solutions?

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Comments on “FTC Awards $50,000 Prize For Ideas On Killing Robocalls”

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re-route

I don’t understand why consumers have to pay to stop this crap.
The phone company can tell me down to the second how long I was on a call so they can round it up to the next minute, but somehow they can’t block the service they sell allowing robocallers to use fake CID information.

I understand there are real uses for fake CID information, batter women shelters and safe houses, police, etc…

If you want the phone companies to care, fine them more than they earn offering the service.

ShellMG says:

Re: Re:

That’s why we haven’t had a landline in eight years. The taxes and fees on it made killing it very easy.

As to my cell, if I don’t know the number it doesn’t get answered. I’m more likely to pick up a call from a local area code (which could be doctors, etc.) but even that’s not safe anymore as spammers get creative.

Ben (profile) says:

Is the title right?

The title is:

FTC Awards Two $50,000 Prizes For Ideas On Killing Robocalls

… but the post has:

Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss will each receive $25,000 for their proposals

I’m a bit out of practice, but isn’t that two $25,000 prizes?

Note the title of the linked article is

FTC awards $50k in prizes to cut off exasperating robocalls

magscanner (profile) says:


Is there some reason why we can’t just follow the money and put the robocallers out of business? If the government can’t do it, there’s always direct action. Somewhere along the line, someone has to meet you face to face. That’s when you and your friends hold them upside down and shake until the keys fall out of their pockets. Further details left as an exercise for the reader.

RoyalPITA (profile) says:

Re: Robocalls

White List/Black List… Great idea. Has anyone thought about how this strategy will be implemented?

I bought my mother a caller ID box that has a whitelist. If the number’s not on it the ring signal doesn’t get through to the main phone. The answering machine will still answer after so many rings: I put that in front of the ID unit with it’s ringer turned off.

Long term solution: outlaw ALL telemarketing.

Marilynn Byerly (profile) says:

Death to Robocalls

I’ve had robocalls about “social security” for the last three mornings an hour before my alarm went off. In this case, I support the death penalty.

A state senator has a bill going through the NC House to add political robocalls to the “do not call” registry. Since I had four calls one Saturday morning before the alarm during the fall elections, I so hope this bill becomes law.

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