April 2, 2013

FTC Stop Robocalls Contest Review

A review of FTC’s “secretive” Stop Robocalls contest.

Almost everyone with a phone suffers from annoying, automated telemarketing calls – selling loans, enticing you with free cruise offers and more.

Do you wish there was a way to stop these annoying robocalls? 

FTC thought so too. After failing to stop the robocalls with its Do Not Call list, the FTC announced its RoboCall Challenge with $50K in prizes.

Now, FTC seems to have spent its $50K and this is what it got – 

Nomorobo who has put up a video giving an overview of its proposal. You forward your calls to Nomorobo who filters them based on caller id’s, your whitelist and telemarketing blacklist.

The second winner who wants to add a filter device on your phone line, which will filter robocalls based on whitelists, greylists and blacklists.

The third winner who has a similar proposal to filter robocalls  
We also recommend that users’ telephones or external hardware may automatically query the database about the telephone number of an incoming call (before the call is answered, or even before the telephone rings) to determine if the caller has been flagged as a spammer by other users, and optionally block the call or otherwise handle it differently from a non-spam call.
Good luck finding details of any of these proposals. FTC is secretive and will not share.

As presented, none of these proposals will work in the real world.

1)       The robocallers already spoof caller id’s and continuously switch caller id’s.
2)       Robocallers use temporary phone numbers (e.g. as provided by Twilio and others)
3)       Most users will not add a filter-device to their phone line or forward their phone calls to a 3rd party to block these spammy calls.

Did FTC actually pay $50k for these half-baked proposals?

  • An ad for a caller id spoofing service

Tags: ftc robocall contest review, ftc robocall contest winners, ftc stop robocall contest, ftc stop spam calls contest, ftc robocall filter contest, robocall filter contest review