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Robo Call - Robo Answer

AI virtual sucker keeps robo call scammers on the line for as long as possible.
  [vote for,

Robocalls are a plague. Here's a proposed possible vaccine.

You pick up the spam call and hear: "Congratulations..." at which point you push your "Robo Chatbot" button that uses voice recognition to simulate a person on the line who is not only accepting the sales call, but is really excited to hand over any information the salesperson/scammer wants. Credit card numbers, social security number, bank account info. It's sounds like a scammers dream, but it's a nightmare because obviously all the numbers are fake.

Once a human gets on the line, and because the app pushed 9 indicating their excitement about winning a free trip to Bermuda, a reasonably believable chat bot keeps the sales person on the line for as long as possible. It does so by saying things like: "That sounds very good, I'm very interested. Can you wait while I get my credit card? Oh wait, that's my Medicare card. Where did I put that? Oh, here it is... no, that's my cat... hold on."

I've done a real person version of this a couple of times acting really excited about them helping my to fix my computer that had been hacked until I asked what a computer was. I said "Are those those new TV looking things that makes pictures and you can do talking mail on!? I've always wanted one, can you sell one to me?" The scammer paused and said "Uhh, yes." then I kept them on the line as long as possible looking for my credit card number to give them until they caught on and hung up. Point is, I wasted a pretty good 2 minutes of their time which is how this would work.

So the idea would be to have effective enough voice recognition to make the caller think they had a sucker, and the fact that the AI chatbot might sound a bit confused and react improperly might just make them look like an easier mark. Lots of time would be spend looking for credit card numbers, including reading fake numbers over and over, apologizing because their glasses are old, telling them to hold on while they found their newer glasses etc.

The voice would be yours so they wouldn't be able to use voice recognition to just hang up. When you programmed the app, you'd read a series of words, statements etc that would be used to carry on the virtual conversation with the scammer. You'd be encouraged to ham it up, stutter, slur your words, make up your own versions of the script etc. The more original you made it, the harder it would be for them to figure it out.

This would be a way to actively fight back against scamming time wasters by wasting their time as much as possible.

doctorremulac3, Mar 11 2021

Lenny the chatbot https://usa.kaspers...oice-chatbot/16937/
Baked and hilarious [Voice, Mar 11 2021]

Lenny Chatbot - Google video search https://www.google....36&bih=792&dpr=1.25
[Skewed, Mar 12 2021]

@Kitboga on YouTube https://www.youtube...watch?v=PyAbBE7lUwo
Kitboga on YouTube is very entertaining. [zen_tom, Mar 17 2021]

Jim Browning on YouTube https://www.youtube...watch?v=xb_rgQ4IDS8
Jim Browning is the King of Scam botherers, not only does he waste their time, he reverses the hacking attempts and performs long-term surveillance on them, revealing their details and shopping them to the authorities. [zen_tom, Mar 17 2021]

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       Many tele-market callers use a "play-book" for how to respond to your questions & comments. The best trick is to reply with something that *sounds* sensible, but is *not* in their play-book, so they get confused.
A woman called me trying to sell insurance or something. The usual blah blah, I told her I was busy, then she asked when would be a good time to call me back when I had more time. I replied "you should have called me yesterday, I had lots of spare time then". This completely stumped her.
neutrinos_shadow, Mar 11 2021

       That's what kind of makes the battle against these guys interesting. There's intrigue, there's subterfuge, there's trying to outsmart the enemy. Not quite cold war spy vs spy stuff but the rules are basically the same.   

       A much easier way to do this would just be to create an entire art form of subterfuges like what you said about calling earlier or what I said about being ignorant of what a computer was but willing to turn over my credit card number to get one.   

       Since these things are a fact of like, creating a whole outline of how to handle them in such a way as to reduce the value of these annoying calls might be effective and kind of fun and creative at the same time.   

       Maybe just a website called "Robo Caller Mauler" or something with various scripts to read when you've "...been selected to win a hundred dollar gift certificate!"
doctorremulac3, Mar 11 2021

       //This would be a way to actively fight back against scamming time wasters//   

       It's a start.   

       Add automated 1471 call tracing (or your regional equivalent) at the end of the call with automatic online purchase & delivery to the calls originating address of a nice big bomb set to detonate on arrival & you can have my bun.   

       You could use Amazon delivery drones.   

       Or perhaps Uber.
Skewed, Mar 11 2021

       // I wasted a pretty good 2 minutes of their time   

       And yours.
tatterdemalion, Mar 11 2021

       I get a lot of calls about problems with my internet. Sometimes, I play along for a bit, playing dumb and not typing in what they want, and then switch mode and start asking about their job, and how valuable a service they think it is, progressively working around to asking them why they're trying to scam people, and if they're ashamed of themselves. Eventually they get upset and hang up.
Loris, Mar 12 2021


       A form of this has been around for decades [Voice].   

       You used to find phone numbers for prank recordings in the small adds in the papers as far back as the 80's at least.   

       You rang the number & got a looped recording with spaces left to encourage the caller to speak, the best ones where as effective as this with no bot or code at all, for scammers you'd have given them the number as one to call you back on tomorrow of course.
Skewed, Mar 12 2021

       What's the solution here? Start using the correct word "phone pirates" instead of the incorrect term "telemarketers", then organize to hire "phone privateers" and demand the Government issue letters of marque authorizing the capture of enemy phone pirates and their equipment?
sninctown, Mar 12 2021

       If the telecom companies didn't want you to receive scam calls, they would disconnect the scam numbers.   

       If the police didn't want you to receive scam calls, they would arrest the perpetrators.   

       Phone numbers traceable to a physical address paid for by people traceable through payment records.   

       Identifying both the address & the someone is piss easy, acquiring cast iron evidence of the scam (phone records & a recording of the outgoing calls) is also piss easy & yet the same scam call will often (if not always) continue to originate from the same landline number in the same country that the scam is being operated in over a year after being reported to both.   

       I've received scam bot calls (not fallen for) used 1471 typed the number into my browser & got hundreds of hits about the scam dating back two years & more in some instances, that they'd still be operating so long after being identified is .. not reasonable.   

       I'm talking about actual full blown scams here, not telemarketers.   

       Frankly it's not good enough from either the police or phone companies, both need suing for not having done the jobs they should have.   

       I'm sure there are a lot of people in both organisations that should be sacked as well.
Skewed, Mar 12 2021

       The bad thing about Lenny is he only works one time per scammer/telemarketer.
Voice, Mar 12 2021

       //Government issue letters of marque authorizing the capture of enemy phone pirates and their equipment?//   

       Works for me.   

       You know, it's all fun and games when I get to rip on these scumbags when they call me, but elderly people who are vulnerable can really get hurt when targeted by these jerks.   

       I think there should be additional penalties for trying to rip off the elderly. Is there enhancement for targeting vulnerable old people? There should be.   

       Voice, regarding the link. I'm cracking up. That really is quite brilliant. Bravo. And whoa! Just clicked on Skewed's links, this is a genuine art form!
doctorremulac3, Mar 12 2021

       Great idea. I don't always have time myself to personally waste their time but do it when I can. One guy was trying to get me to install TeamViewer so he could take over my computer. I already had TeamViewer but he didn't need to know that.   

       I kept 'mishearing' his instructions and started by saying "Teen Viewer? I don't think my wife would like me doing that." When I have had enough, I ask if their Mother knows what they do for a living. They usually reply "Uh, what?" I say "You know, do you tell your friends and family that you try to scam people over the phone?" They usually hang up then but I had one or two actually sound sheepish and embarrassed.   

       Good fun.
AusCan531, Mar 12 2021

       LOL. Teen viewer, good one.   

       Playing dumb is always fun, but wrapping it up by telling them off for being despicable is probably a good way to close the call.
doctorremulac3, Mar 12 2021

       OK, I've got it!   

       This is a simpler version of the Lenny Chatbot that should reel any teliscammer in.   

       In a very doddering old voice record an outging message that says: "Hi, OK is this about the payment? (pause to give them time to celebrate their good luck and say "Uhh, yes." Then say "Oh good, sorry I couldn't find my credit card earlier but I have it now." Then proceed to read off 16 numbers from about the 1,000th place of pi but caugh and loose your place, start over again, mispronounce numbers, get confused and say "Oh, that's my library card, hold on." The person will be so excited about their good fortune in not even having to launch into a routine and having a credit card offered to them immediately, they'll be able to be kept on the hook for, maybe, ten, fifteen minutes. Especially with the occasional "Now the price was $20,000 dollars right? Oh hold on, the cat's hungry. I'll be right back." The addition of lots of cat noises would be central to this. Even cat fighting noises where you go "Tibbles! Stop! I'm on the phone! Tibbles! Bad cat!".   

       Oh this is too good. I'm doing this. And Tibbles is a good name for a cat. Think I'll name my next cat that if I ever get another one.
doctorremulac3, Mar 13 2021

       Scammers have instant verification of credit card numbers. The more modern ones even attempt an immediate $1 charge.
Voice, Mar 13 2021

       But they never GET the credit card number, that's the beauty of it.   

       "Ok, 4392, 9012 (RHOWERRRR!!!) TIBBLES! BAD CAT! TIBBLES!! STOP THAT!! Ok, where was I hold on, OK 4392, 90 OH wait, was this the first payment of $5,000 or the full payment for $20,000? Let me go get the form you sent me hold on....... (sound of the phone being put down, lots of rustling around noises, chiding of Tibbles, creaking doors, footsteps trailing down the hall, distant filing cabinets slamming, slow, shuffling footsteps coming back) You'd never even get a full 16 numbers. Hell, you could waste a good 5, 10 minutes just reading the "contract" to the guy and asking questions about it.   

       He thinks he's about to get ten grand from a alzheimers patient, if you're a good enough actor, you'll be able to keep that guy on for a pretty good chunk of his day.
doctorremulac3, Mar 13 2021

       Do people still answer phone calls from people they don't know? Leave a vm and I'll get back to you, otherwise it's not important enough to bother. It's actually quite straightforward.   

       I guess if your idea of "fun" is dicking around with scam callers, have at it, but it's a huge waste of time and no doubt the scammers have heard it all before.
tatterdemalion, Mar 13 2021

       I do like having "fun". Much better than stodgy, boring old fun without the quotes.
doctorremulac3, Mar 13 2021

       I have, possibly, lured these arseholes into a lurid world of online porn, where I try to convince them they are the subject of my fantasy scenario, for sport. It's usually good for 20-120 seconds before they give up.   

       My mother-in-law, who is 80, just sings "Happy Birthday" to herself. They hang up.
UnaBubba, Mar 13 2021

       Most off the robocalls I get seem to be in Chinese. I suspect someone has fed a wrong number into John Searle's thought experiment.
pertinax, Mar 13 2021

       All of mine are from India or Sri Lanka.
UnaBubba, Mar 13 2021

       If I seem a bit motivated to hit back at these guys it's because of my experience with them trying to take advantage of my elderly father. I'd be visiting and he'd get the call, answer with "No thank you" and on occasion I'd take the call for him and was disgusted by the scams they'd try to pull on a potentially vulnerable elderly person.   

       So did I have "fun" messing with these assholes? Damn right I did. Was it a waste of time? I suppose if a woman was being assaulted in the street and you went to her aid (something I've actually done by the way, stopping a guy from beating a woman in public in broad daylight) that could be considered a waste of time too I guess.   

       Good for your mother-in-law UB. That's awesome.
doctorremulac3, Mar 13 2021

       That's not a fair comparison [doctorremulac3]. Saving a woman crossing the street vs. not answering a phone? Come on.   

       Agree that this is an elderly focused problem. We've tried to educate our elders to let unknown calls go to vm, but some older habits die harder than others. Mother was almost fooled by the grandson in jail scam a few years back. Still she answers every call.   

       I guess I can see what you consider "fun" as feeling like a form of retaliation against this particularly heinous act that takes advantage of our oldest, and taking some joy by giving them back a taste of their own medicine so to speak.
tatterdemalion, Mar 13 2021

       The woman wasn't crossing the street, she was being severely beaten while all the little pussy citizens standing around just watched like obedient little sheep. I stopped the guy. I believe she was a prostitute and this guy might have been her pimp so I guess people didn't care.   

       As far as messing with scumbag scammers, nothing wrong with having a little "fun" at their expense.
doctorremulac3, Mar 13 2021

       Checkout kitboga on youtube who has great fun spinning various scammers for as long as humanly possible in what is often entertaining and compelling viewing.   

       But for the sheer technical brilliance, give Jim Browning a lookup as well - using a classic reverso-manoeuvre, he performs long and detailed surveillance ops on the scammers who call him, monitoring them, foiling their attempts to scam others, and confront them with their own identities, bank-account numbers, and office addresses, before handing over the collected evidence over to the police. His craftmanship is a joy to behold.
zen_tom, Mar 17 2021

       Very cool, I have two new heros!   

       Thank you Zen, make that 3.
doctorremulac3, Mar 17 2021

       a1, make that 4.
doctorremulac3, Jul 23 2021


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