Monthly archives: January, 2016

Construction scammer tells my robot to “man up”

First – a word about caller-id in North America. All telephone numbers consist of a three-digit areacode and a seven digit local number. The local number must start with a 2 through 9. Unfortunately, caller-ids are easy to spoof so scammer-telemarketers will often send a caller-id where the fourth digit is a 0 or 1, like 214-143-8933. And, they’ll use your areacode so when you glance at your phone you see a caller-id in your areacode and think “hey, maybe this is someone I know. I’ll go ahead and answer it!”

So when a call comes to my house with a fourth digit of a 0 or 1, it goes straight to the robot.

And please also understand how invasive and persistent these scammers are when you listen to this call. Harden your heart with the understanding that they call from fake caller-ids several times per week. No mercy.


Anonymous caller curses at my robot

I created this robot to waste telemarketer time. But soon after I set up a dedicated number to it, I received these three calls from a blocked number. Apparently he had received a missed call from the number I just procured. I guess my robot, as polite as it is, just rubbed him the wrong way.

I typically post telemarketer audio here, but this call was interesting; this is the angriest anyone has ever been with it so far. This is a clip of all three calls.

Thanks for listening everyone. And don’t forget that you can send your annoying calls to this robot!

Super nice guy – didn’t mind chatting with my robot for a while

This guy is probably the nicest caller to my robot. He’s not technically a telemarketer, but got caught by an unused number that I had in my PBX. He is on the phone for so long that the robot restarted and when he figured out that he was not speaking with a real person, he just kept going for a few minutes. And thanked me. I found this call extremely pleasant and entertaining. My goal is to block telemarketing and this “market research” caller is using an autodialer. No matter how noble the reason, I find it incredibly invasive to use automation to call me. Anyway, please enjoy this latest call and leave me some feedback on my blog ( or facebook page ( Thanks all!

A great compliment from a telemarketer who figured it out

This was a great compliment from a telemarketer who figured out this robot – at 1:30 he is the best so far. Rather than screw around with it, get angry, or prank his co-workers (some of those are coming up later), he laughs along for a while. He mumbled that he wanted to hear the whole thing, and he did. But he didn’t realize it.

Anyway, this was a really nice call early in the life of this robot. I felt like we were laughing along together. I hope he found a better job though. Note that he didn’t even say his company name. Definitely a shady operation. And the autodialer took almost ten seconds to connect to me. It’s a good thing my robot is patient!

Ugh – Another call from “Sharon, your local Google specialist”

This appears to be a common problem for many of you. A call comes into your mobile from an innocuous number. Maybe your’re self employed. Maybe this is a client or vendor. So you answer and get a recording that says “hi this is Sharon, your local Google specialist”. You hang up, and several hours or days later it comes again from a different number. Sometimes it’s Kate.

If you “press 1” like you’re prompted, you get a call center of some sort, and no amount of screaming at them will stop these calls. Heck, for all I know they are all different companies anyway. And none are honoring the Do Not Call list.

Anyway, I have two new features to showcase here. This is an example of my robot punching through to an agent. This is why the robot always asks “are you a real person?” If the caller is human, the audio will stop for a moment as they process that odd question. If the audio doesn’t stop, then I know it’s a recording and I punch 1 a few times. Then the robot kicks into normal.

The second new feature is this is a new version of the robot! I have had the same version for many hundreds of calls and it’s been doing really well. But those of you familiar with this robot will note that the audio levels are off slightly when it gets to the bee part. So I recorded some new prompts – both “inane” and “banter” (they respond differently to the agent) but this one may need more tuning. The agent clearly notices that I’m not normal and disconnects. But I did keep him busy for about three minutes anyway.

Anyway, enjoy this latest call. Please check out my Facebook page and feel free to comment, message, or transfer calls to me! Thank you for listening.



More home improvements – robot plays all the way through, TWICE

Here is another call from a construction company offering free estimates. This guy sounds a little pitiful and it would be easy to feel sorry for him. As you listen to this, please remember that he is calling from an autodialer, and he is calling from a fake caller-id. That’s not your typical struggling independent contractor. There are tons of these scams where people want to come out and give you a “free estimate” for home repair work. I’ve never dared to accept such an offer. Would you?

In this call, the caller hears the entire repertoire of clips from my robot TWICE and even then he just figures I’m messing with him (well, that’s true anyway) and hangs up. I think I have a lot of calls from this same company but they change their number all the time. They call from a “local” areacode and the next digit is a 1, which is impossible in North America.

Well, I’m glad I was able to keep him on the phone for as long as I did. At least it took him out of service for almost eight minutes and maybe he didn’t have time to call you. You’re welcome.

Really long cold call with vendor

If there ever was a “coming of age” moment for my robot, this was the call. I should also say that, as annoying as telemarketers are for residences, the cold caller is the business equivalent. Businesses receive dozens of calls per day. Each department receives them and the receptionist may field hundreds for “the person in charge of printers” etc. Many of these calls go to the help desk. This call is one of those. I don’t think he knew what business he called – he never says it during the call. This one came to the main number for “the person in charge of your servers”. So the receptionist transferred him to the helpdesk, and the helpdesk transferred him to my robot. Thank you helpdesk.

Now, this is early in the life of the robot. I had just added the “bee” banter to augment the four “inane” statements. I thought sure this version would drive callers to madness and there would be no way anyone would get all the way through. Keep in mind – my own testing required a lot of “blah blah” to get through several minutes and it was hard to get through all the way. But I never thought a real caller would get all the way through. This was the first to do it. I mean, a bee? really?

And this was to a business! As you listen to this call, keep in mind he called a business! And he is not fazed at all. If you listen carefully after one particular awkward silence, I think you can hear his supervisor giggle. I also think he was new at this. Quite a training day for him.

So the robot did extremely well and I was very proud of it. When he gives his phone number it grunted at all the right places. When the conversation wound down, it drew him back in. And when it ran out of things to say, the timing was perfect.



Air duct cleaning scam – are you on meds?

The two most common telemarketing scams I get are solar energy companies and this – air duct cleaning. I have several of these, but this agent was pretty cool about such an odd interaction. As you can tell from the looong cut-through time, these guys are using an autodialer. The little “bloop” you hear is the agent popping into the conversation. The sound is an Asterisk “meet-me” tone. This gives us a clue as to the software they’re using. The agents likely don’t have to touch their telephones and, as I’ve said before, they may actually be in prison somewhere.

Anyway, this one is brief. But as you can hear, even when the robot fails, the agent still figures it’s a human on medication. Because, after all, who would suspect an interactive robot?

Enjoy and thanks for listening…


Agent not sure if this is a recording – trying to pitch anyway

Imagine you are an outbound call center agent (ugh) and you’ve been trying to pitch a solar evaluation to someone for four and a half minutes. But you don’t know if the “person” you are pitching to is real or not. Worse than that, your supervisor is standing above you and you have to tell her that you don’t know if you’re talking to a machine or not. Sound awkward?

This call starts out with awkward silence at times (her background noise prevented proper silence detection) but the robot pulled it off beautifully. The agent performed her own little Turing Test a couple times, but each time my robot convinced her that it was a real person. Eventually the supervisor takes over.

Please enjoy this latest call. I’d love to hear from you so feel free to comment here or on my YouTube channel

Thanks for listening!


My Robot talks to Their Robot – Part 1

This is an interesting call from “professional voice talent”. This was my first experience with tiered agents. The first agent is probably calling from a noisy environment maybe overseas with a really thick accent. They use these little sound clips controlled via some kind of soundboard which gives them control to start and stop various clips. It’s probably not easy. After they determine I am a qualified lead ready for the sales team, they bring in an agent who joins, then unmutes himself and takes over.

At the time of this call, the robot only had a small number of “inane” things to say. When I recorded it, I never expected telemarketers to really get to the end. So when it ran out, it went into the “endgame” routine and just politely said goodbye and hang up.I have since (1) added a “banter” routine (currently the bee) and (2) had the robot restart so calls handed off to agents might not notice the repetition.

Please enjoy this, then be sure to check out the brief “Part 2” from this same company