Monthly archives: March, 2016

Deep Six Crew is ready for calls

I will be launching a subscription service shortly with at least six bots ready to take your calls.

However, I need help testing the new bots. I would like to get a sample call to each for my new web site (coming soon), so please send some calls over to these bots. Add them to your contacts, or just memorize the “one-number-to-rule-them-all” of 206-259-4999, which will pick a bot at random.

Remember in old movies where people ask the operator to dial a number? Think of the Jolly Roger Telephone number as

“Hello Operator? Get me Seattle. Yes, BLackbeard-9 4999”

BLackbeard-9 is the “name” for the 259 central office in Seattle (BL is 25 on the keypad). And 206 is the original Seattle area code assigned back in 1951. Now you have it memorized, so if you hear a friend, family member, or stranger hang up the phone and say “%#!&@ telemarketer”, you can tell them,

“Next time, conference in the Jolly Roger Telephone bot at 206-259-4999!”

Although it will be a subscription service, it will answer the phone several times for new callers to evaluate.

There are also individual numbers for each bot in case you like one in particular, so go ahead and give these a try:

Jolly Roger Telephone Bot Telephone Number
Any Random Bot 1-206-259-4999
Random Female Bot 1-206-259-4980
Random Male Bot 1-206-259-4990
Debbie Doldrums 1-206-259-4981
Jolly Jenny 1-206-259-4982
Salty Sally 1-206-259-4983
Jolly Roger (the original) 1-206-259-4991
Whiskey Jack 1-206-259-4992
Whitey Whitebeard 1-206-259-4993



First real call to female bot hits it out of the park!

I have a listener to thank for this call. It’s the first scammer to this female bot and she did a great job. I actually feel bad for her at the end when she’s suffering the verbal abuse from this “Windows support” caller.


Again, I don’t want to make Jolly Roger Telephone all about taking Windows Support calls, but they sure seem to be calling a lot of you! This is a good demonstration of the bot’s ability to keep all forms of unsolicited callers at bay. I also want you to hear what this guy says to unsuspecting women while sitting thousands of miles away hiding behind a fake caller-id. He is untouchable, and I think he got a power trip from this.

I have to wonder if he would have been like this to the original male Jolly Roger bot.

Thanks for listening,


Sail the murky waters of telecom law with me!

I have launched a crowdfunding effort to fund my legal fees!

I was a little disheartened when the Kickstarter did not fund, but all of the press allowed me to reach agreements with carriers and hosts and lower my costs! I will soon launch a service at only $6 per year. But in the meantime, I need help with legal fees. The “legal” outbound telemarketers have deep pockets and scary lawyers. Details in my Indiegogo campaign. Some perks as well.

Please check out the Indiegogo campaign. Even if you don’t contribute, you’ll see some of the challenges I face. And keep watching for the real service launching soon!

Thanks all,



My favorite book about telephones – Exploding the Phone

I’ve read a lot of books about telephones, but my favorite is definitely Exploding the Phone by Phil Lapsley 
Not only does it provide an excellent history of the Bell System, but it also tells several interconnected stories about the “phreakers” (phone hackers) throughout AT&T’s history. It’s a fascinating story and I think it should be required reading in any technology curriculum.
I have recommended it to many of my co-workers and account teams. And often if they don’t buy it, I will buy them a copy. I was on Leo Laporte’s show a week after “Captain Crunch” was on, so I gave a copy of this book to Leo. I hope he has had a chance to read it.
The Internet did not just appear one day. It was built upon decades of technology – much of it developed by Bell Labs. Everyone reading this, technical and non-technical alike, will enjoy this book and I heartily recommend it.
As a bonus, if you buy the audio book, you’ll hear it read by a famous phone phreaker named Evan Doorbell, who has done a tremendous service for us all by archiving the sounds of long distance. More on that later.
I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do. I listen to it often during my long commutes here in Los Angeles. Please let me know if you get it and please comment on it here!
Thank you for writing this awesome book, Phil!

These scammers don’t want to call me anymore but cannot stop!

As soon as I heard this call I wanted to post it immediately. This is extremely flattering. These air conditioner duct cleaning scammers recognize my robot and want to stop calling me, but their system won’t take me out of their call list! At the end of this call, the agent tells his colleague or supervisor “It’s that bee on my arm guy again” and right on cue, I had a bee on my arm. As he hangs up I think they are trying to figure out how to remove me. This demonstrates the value in the telemarketers eventually figuring out they’re talking to a bot. You are broadcasting the message “this telephone line is protected” and it costs the telemarketer time, energy, resources, and money to call you.

Hey telemarketers – there is no return on investment when calling a Jolly Roger bot. Once you recognize it’s a bot. Remove the number. But it sounds like you’ll have to open a ticket with your IT department to do it.

The other really nice thing about this call is it demonstrates how effective my bot is at detecting the initial robo-message, punching through, and then engaging with an agent. This company used to send me right to an agent. And they changed their name to something even more vague so it’s impossible to research them. But this agent gives it away the they’ve called me before.

I will likely get into an artificial intelligence war with these call centers, but I am confident that my bot will be able to fool their machines to just get me to an agent. Even if they know within a minute or two. It tells them “this telephone line is protected”. And it’s in THEIR best interest to stop calling YOU. How’s that for turnabout?

Thanks for listening!

Another “Fraternal Order of Police” Bad Charity tries to solicit my bot

This is probably a very effective scam. This is another “Fraternal Order of Police” soliciting donations for the families of cops tragically killed in the line of duty. Of course we want to support such a charity. I think this particular company is operating legally, but not all of them do. This charity gives a small percentage of the take to the actual charity, but it’s more than they would have collected on their own, so everyone wins, right?

Well, except us. We all get these calls all the time. Next time this charity is collecting for someone else, they’ll call you. If your number is on their list, good luck getting rid of them.

So this call demonstrates a few interesting things:

  1. They use professional voice talent that sounds like a cop
  2. A “low level” soundboard operator is controlling these cop messages by clicking buttons on their PC and listening to my responses.
  3. My robot manages to convince this operator that I am a qualified donor and then transfers me to the “records department” (to continue the cop theme)
  4. The “records department” operator knows I’m down for $10 – this can be easily done but it demonstrates more “computer telephony integration” than I expected.
  5. She is a professional and doesn’t waste any words with my bot. It still manages to keep her busy for several minutes. It’s not very entertaining unless you get these calls yourself all the time – then you’ll cheer on my robot. Go robot! Waste as much time as you can!

So please keep sending these scammers and bad charities to my robot. I’m interested in the IRS scammers. It’s tax season so I assume some of you are getting these! Let me know if you get one!

Enjoy this call and let me know what you think!

Windows Support is on to me? Asks me if I am a robot THREE TIMES!

Has news of the Jolly Roger Telephone robot finally reached the shores of Windows Support? In this call, my robot is asked if it is a robot/machine three times. Strangely, they still keep trying to scam it, so I guess they weren’t quite convinced. Eventually swearing at it, then trying to get it back in front of a computer one last time. If this were a game where you were trying to put the cartoon frames in order, you would think it would be “try to get them in front of a computer. Ask if they are a bot. Swear at them. Hang up.” But these guys didn’t really do it in that order for some reason.

Anyway, even with all the background noise at the “Microsoft Support” office, this robot manages to filter it enough to waste eight minutes of their time. This came from you – the Pirate Crew so great job and keep them coming!


Cardholder Services increases my call volume for wasting TEN SECONDS of her time

This is a very brief call, but in my mind very powerful. It shows how brazen these scammers are. They hide behind fake caller-ids and robodialers and are completely invulnerable to retribution from the public, telecommunications carriers, or even the government / law enforcement.

This call was transferred in from my Pirate Crew (and thanks for alerting me – this was such a short call that I would have missed it’s importance).

Now, as you faithful listeners know, my robot is designed to respond to a “pitch” from telemarketers. This call came from “Cardholder Services”, although you cannot hear that since the real recipient added me after that announcement. I don’t know why this agent was (1) eating, and (2) simply asked “how can I help you?” Hey lady, YOU called ME. Pitch me something!

Anyway, she thought I was just a human messing around with her so what does she do? She PUNISHES ME by “recycling” me on the call list so that I will get more calls from her. Then taunts me a little bit, then hangs up.

And she is completely untouchable. There is absolutely nothing any of us can do about this. I know it’s ambitious, but I am hoping to deploy enough bots answering enough phones so this call center goes out of business. It’ll be a tough fight because her costs are very low. She’s using an open-source telephone system. But if her robodialer started patching her through to bots, she might eventually give up.

Some of you have accused me of being mean. Sometimes I actually feel for the agent. But not this time. Does anyone have any sympathy for this woman?

Thanks for listening.


Please post some suggestions for the female bot(s)!

Hello Internet! Can you post some suggestions for bots here? Keep them simple! I’ve heard lots of great ideas about kids, dogs barking, things breaking, and other distractions. But this bot works best with simple inane statements. Humans can usually tell when things are scripted. I think the original bot works only because I’m inane in real life. When I try to get elaborate, they can tell.

So simple statements like “I was just posting something on Facebook but I’m done now. Say that again?”

Keep it clean. Go!

Another great Windows Support Scam – really showcases the telemarketer bot

This call is great for several reasons:

  • It’s a Windows Support scammer who is trying to take control of my PC and install some ransom-ware. None of you should have any sympathy for this guy.
  • It shows the practice of “master/apprentice” that is used for these scams.
  • The robot “plays along” really well with the first scammer who is trying to convince us we have a virus.
  • The robot aggravates the second guy and completely turns the tables on him. Out of frustration he taunts my robot and tries to get it mad.
  • I don’t think he really “got it” that this was a bot and managed to waste over 13 minutes of his (combined) time.
  • This really showcases the capabilities of the bot. I was really proud of it when I listened to the frustration of this scammer.

This call was transferred to the bot by one of you – my new Pirate Crew. I really appreciate all of your support and don’t forget to tell when you get a really good call! There are too many for me to sort through.

This is the first call since the Kickstarter ended and I must say the constant fundraising was getting a little tedious. It’s nice to post these for fun again. It was a wonderful experience and I cannot tell you how flattered I am with all the support. Thank you all. I’m your biggest fan.