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Robocall Challenge: And the Winner Is...

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Drumroll, please! We've got a new national hero, or rather, heroes. Judges for the FTC Robocall Challenge selected two winners to share the $50,000 prize for Best Overall Solution to block illegal robocalls. Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss will each receive $25,000 for their proposals. Additionally, judges selected Daniel Klein and Dean Jackson from Google for the Robocall Challenge Technology Achievement Award. Organizations that employ 10 or more people were eligible for the Technology Achievement Award — there's no monetary prize, but there's all the glory that a National Hero status brings.

Danis’s proposal, titled Robocall Filtering System and Device with Autonomous Blacklisting,Whitelisting, GrayListing and Caller ID Spoof Detection, would analyze and block robocalls using software that could be implemented as a mobile app, an electronic device in a user’s home, or a feature of a provider’s telephone service. Foss’s proposal, called Nomorobo, is a cloud-based solution that would use “simultaneous ringing,” which allows incoming calls to be routed to a second telephone line. In the Nomorobo solution, this second line would identify and hang up on illegal robocalls before they could ring through to the user. Like the Best Overall Solutions, the proposal from Klein and Jackson — titled Crowd-Sourced Call Identification and Suppression — would use automated algorithms that identify “spam” callers. Very cool.

If you’re wondering how other people are stopping or blocking illegal robocalls right now, check out this video, produced by the GSA.



And the judges were WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! The entry called "It's My Number" has the very best solution that can find and prosecute offenders PLUS (a big plus) it puts the responsibility where it belongs, on those we are already paying to provide service.

It does not depend on spoofable and useless "caller-id" phone numbers.

It does not depend on "whitelist" numbers that can be reassigned.

It does not depend on "blacklist" numbers which are probably spoofed anyway- a blacklist is subject to error and abuse and could create a real mess.

It depends instead on service providers and carriers doing what they have the technology to do and what they are already being paid to do - provide us with the phone line we pay for and NOT allow it to be used as a FREE venue for scammers, politicos, product-pushers, cash-solicitors, etc. - I do NOT pay them for a phone so they can stand by sucking their thumbs and allow my phone to become a FREE platform for someone else.

I wonder if the "judges" actually READ the entries.

You're not doing your job, FTC. I shouldn't have to block these calls. You should prevent these calls from ever taking place. Find them and shut them down.

Whatchtower9, you are so correct. We shouldn't NEED to be doing a thing. We put the DNC in place to do it for us. So far, they haven't done much to earn a nickel of salary.

Man did I miss out on this one. I have a application that would not only hangup on the robocalls but will retrieve the caller ID information and send them an invoice for $500 dollars for services rendered in compliance to 47 U S Code sec.227 and Title 47 Code of Federal Regulations.

The problem is the fedreal law allows spoofing of the phone numbers so that the identity of the call is not accurate. I have contacted my elected officals (Coburn and Inhofe) with little to no resolve to clean up the p[roblem. I beleive the phone companies should be held to some level of accountability to identify the callers.

This is ridiculous. What these robocalling telemarketers are doing is illegal. The FTC is supposed to enforce the law. The technology is available to trace the calls, seize the equipment and charge the offenders. Spending time on contests is a waste of time. I do not want to have to buy a piece of equipment in order to block these calls. I want them stopped. The FTC is not doing its job.

I have been receiving phone calls from idiots that say my loan application has been approved. I haven't applied for a loan, have told them I reported them to the FTC, and they still all at least five times a day. 347 827 3814 ison the caller ID, so beware all who get this call it is a scam, another number from the ame caller but a different state. 828 303 5558

What a joke ! If the FTC would spend more time busting morons MAKING the calls and less time doing a song and dance routing for citizens, it might actually be worth the electricity it uses. I've filed about 35 complaints LAST MONTH. Nothing has changed.

What about me? FTC should stop all phone numbers calling me. I et these Robo calls. They have to stop!

Has the FTC ever prosecuted a robocall miscreant? I don't mean a warning letter. I mean a real court case with penalty and seizure of equipment. I get these illegal calls on my cellphone and home phone.

Yes, the FTC brings numerous cases against robocallers and shuts them down. Unfortunately, the technology is very cheap and easy to acquire so new robocall operations spring up very quickly. Here are a few recent cases the FTC has announced:

The FTC's Robocall challenge is just one part of the FTC's plan to put a stop to robocalls. The FTC has brought numerous cases and shut down robocallers through legal action. If you want to learn more about these cases and the FTC action plan, visit

Can anyone say "class action lawsuit."

The financial risks and penalties has to be increased upon the miscreants responsible for these calls. And while it sounds like the FTC is attempting to address the problem they are likely under-staffed and underfunded to deal with the overwhelming supply.

The whole situation is disappointing; unethical business, impotent enforcement, and a big drain on our American productivity (not to mention just a general annoyance).

I'd love to read a news story where Anonymous or LulzSec put their skills to the test against some of these sleazy operators.

My solution works....I hang up and don't let it annoy me if I'm home to answer, and my answering device never records a robocall if I'm not home. I don't know why. It is just a basic Uniden system. Some techie can take that and run with it....Maybe.

*A telemarketer must SUBSCRIBE FOR A FEE
*To the Do Not Call Agency
*In order to receive a list of "numbers not to call".
*Does the FTC and the Do Not Call Agency
REALLY, TRULY believe that a telemarketer
is GOING TO ACTUALLY PAY for a list of
do not call numbers?
*Why would telemarketer even bother to contact
the Do Not Call Agency?
*There is no such law that requires a telemarketer
to do so.
*All a telemarketer has to do: (1) set up auto/robo calls
in numerical sequence and have at it; (2) get numbers from the phone book in a given area and set up the auto/robo calls.
*Answer, do not answer, press 9-?, press 1, will NOT
make any difference BECAUSE they will keep on calling!
*I take my chances when I answer my phone...
*AND telemarketers take their chance when they
answer the "press 1" option!!!! ;-) ;-) ;-) !!!
*The person answering could very likely get
*Betcha they wear head sets!!! '-)

*NOT an auto/robo call , HOWEVER, another scam going around the country is the “this is your favorite grandson” call. *The recipient of the phone call is usually an “elderly” woman. AND how the caller knows-? *Easy enough to google names! *When you answer your phone, the caller, a male, will state, “This is your favorite grandson. I am in jail (due to some false charge) and need $XXXX.00 for bail. PLEASE send me a money order to Walmart, or some recipient location, etc., so I can get out of jail”. *AND there are ACTUALLY those that ACTUALLY do $end the money! DUH-H-H-H-!!! *Recently, summer 2013, in several Chicago suburbs, some, elderly, women ACTUALLY $ent amount$ in over a thou$and dollar$. Apparently these women accepted, at face value, that the caller was their grandson. *Personally, I, had been forewarned, and had a “mental” script in mind AND I asked questions!! *FURTHER, my grandchildren do NOT call me "grandma"! *AND, very quickly, I found myself talking to thin air. *ADVICE to women regarding their listing in local phone books - to list your name as “J. Smith” is usually a dead giveaway that you are a woman. Most men list their full name! *REGARDLESS OF THE "NATURE" OF THE CALL - FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED!!!

NOMOROBO is not solving the problem of robocalls if your telephone carrier does not have Simultaneous Ringing service. Of course, my does not. When I contacted my carrier about the service, I was told they were looking into it.

A problem is that phone calls to residences is or can be used by crooks to case out homes and the times they are unoccupied. This is great for criminals. Another problem is the crooks who are allowed to use the called ID "Anonymous" and the phone number, "Anonymous". This is not only annoying, but dangerous. FTC should definitely go after these birds, especially if they are congressmen.

I keep getting calls in spite of every move I"ve made. I have made it a point to speak to "salespeople" and personally inform them of DNC status etc. I've had them tell me there is no way I nor the U.S. Govt can stop them and they would make sure I was called again. They even told me a day FTC staff was in training and urged me to check it out. I got a recorded message on your line indicating it was true.

At the end of all the rhetoric, nomorobo has caught 98% of the junk calls I was getting on my 2 my do not call list phone numbers, so I'll take it. Yeah, the phone company could care less so we're stuck.

AGAIN - *I repeat - registering with the Do Not Call Agency is a waste of your time! *A telemarketer has TO PAY A FEE in order to receive a list OF ".DO NOT CALL" phone numbers. *WHY would a telemarketer pay a fee? *AND - why would a telemarketer even care? **My solution is to "Press 1 to speak to a 'live representative' -*The "live representative" probably wears a "head set" - ***THEN - I SCREAM AT THE TOP OF MY VOICE! *Screaming may or may not actually stop the calls - the calls seem to have slowed down. *IT SURE DOES GIVE ME A LOT OF SATISFACTION!!! ;-) *I takes my chances when I answer my phone - AND - the telemarketers takes their chances WHEN THEY CALL MY NUMBER!!! ;-)

Our robo calls went up tenfold AFTer signing on to DNC its well known among sales people that "no soliciting " signs often are posted by people with little sales resistance. The telemarketers buy the DNC list for LEADS!

I am so sick of these scum bags! I missed an important call because I didn't recognize the caller number - it could have been an emergency! These calls make me anxious and worried because I don't know who is stalking and terrorizing me! If they knock on my door, I can lock it and not answer -- however, the phone still rings and we still get bothered! I have purchased a divise that helps - but it doesn't tell you who is calling! We should have total free access - and the State of Florida can do this easily ... to ALL NUMBERS in the database that is giving us unwanted calls? Should we forward our calls to Governor DickS? Perhaps if we did - just maybe ... they would sop!

one thing I have noticed in the YEARS of getting telemarketer crap is this, many of the fake/spoofed numbers have "sets" of repeating numbers. 425-390-8141, 877-444-2200, 843-619-7688, 224-999-0000, 212-777-3436, 937-210-9997, 812-492-6171, 425-658-8994, 425-658-8981, 440-638-5450, 503-457-1303, 503-457-1040, 800-421-0000, 503-902-8477, 503-563-0339, 419-482-1664, 888-419-6222, 773-321-2116, 419-482-1664, 971-373-2989, 402-491-2800, 303-280-8689, 407-565-9999, 702-705-5262, 321-305-9999, 253-382-9909, 253-246-8515, 253-382-9903, 971-220-1761, 214-396-5527, 971-220-1002, 971-220-1761, 949-757-0844, 513-878-6296, 407-476-5700, 407-933-9999, 360-529-6956, 360-529-6926, 782-000-7745, 740-610-0206, 248-498-3834, 202-367-9922, 202-456-1414, 23-337-8555, 336-217-0877, 937-558-9692, 609-279-0220, 810-282-1599, 877-767-6446, 866-940-2026, 857-293-0899, 973-273-7822, 330-622-4223, 614-547-2290, 401-558-0007, 662-821-2011, 000-000-0000REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE, 440-656-4808, 814-410-5966, 925-948-9469, 718-416-6122, 513-775-3939, 516-472-9003, 262-995-9096, 305-368-8820, 253-382-9923, 000-000-0000FOREIGN BIMBO ASKING ABOUT DISCOUNTED PRESCRIPTIONS, 616-613-2126, 744-000-8555, 302-268-6660, 216-400-0002, 866-942-6242, 626-544-5526, 717-219-3317, 066-100-0000... you get the general idea, that is when it doesn't show up as "UNKNOWN NAME UNKNOWN NUMBER"/"PRIVATE NAME PRIVATE NUMBER" which are pretty much untraceable. the telephone companies refuse to stop the illegal calls just like the politicians refuse to do anything because the political funding/contributions/lobbying can't stop.

Just forward enough unused "honeypot" phone lines to the FTC's main number. Or to the politicians of your choice. They won't do anything about it until it affects them,

Robokiller vs nomorobo? Any thoughts?

Nomorobo won the FTC’s 2013 Robocall Challenge. RoboKiller was the winner in 2015. For more information on both products, please visit the FTC’s Robocalls page.

No one has commented on the only proposal I've heard that might work. Put a $0.05 tax on every call PLACED, regardless of whether it's answered, collectable by the carrier before the call is placed. That might tax me $1/month; it'll cost them millions.

SIMPLY Kill the ability to number spoof for one !! ONLY VALID numbers sent.
Any and all locations where large amounts of calls originate should raise all the bells and alarms in every CO !!
My phone number is NOT A PUBLIC TOY !!!

STOP THIS CRAP AT THE SOURCE, not with anemic band-aids like "Do-Not-Call, just Ignore" list. DON'T make us do all the work and PAY for caller ID !

Don't forget to click the box:
I'M NOT A ROBOT, but they are. What a joke !!

What the heck does this mean:
"CAPTCHA session reuse attack detected.
Status message Thanks! Your comment has been submitted for review."

Did it go through or not. I accidentally clicked Submit before the Captcha, then did it correctly...???

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