Roger featured in “What’s the Deal?” on The List

Here was a nice interview on The List. This is a rare shot of me with a beard – I’ve never grown one. I’m trying out the “pirate look”.

I am extremely grateful to all of you for helping to spread the word about this service! Over two million views on the Jolly Roger YouTube channel. 1.1 MILLION phone calls into the Jolly Roger bots from over 250,000 unique callers. And more than 380,000 views of my TEDx talk! I know these stats are nothing to all the YouTube stars out there, but this was completely unexpected for me. I’ve been reluctantly pushed into this spotlight and I’m having a surprising amount of fun providing this service for you! THANK YOU EVERYONE!

 


Fake Verizon agent tries to get a PIN from a robot for 18 minutes

After listening to hundreds of telemarketing scams, I’m a little jaded. But I thought this scam was pretty clever. It’s a fake Verizon agent who is calling because of suspicious activity on our account. In order to research it further, he needs to verify our identity by telling him the PIN that he just sent to our phone.

In reality, he has gone to the Verizon “password reset” page and clicked the button to send a verification code to our mobile phone. If we give him the code, he can take over our account! He might also need our email address, but it’s not likely (he probably would have said it on the phone to “verify” it).

The scam is very convincing. Many companies use mobile texting to verify identity. And sometimes It involves a live agent. There are some obvious red flags in this call that will be obvious when you listen. But the most interesting of all is this guy’s patience! He spends 18 minutes speaking with three different robots trying to extract this PIN. Obviously a legitimate agent would have given up immediately.

Hopefully any company that allows account resets via text will include “do not give this code over the phone” or “only enter this code in the web site” or something like that. I can imagine that many people fall for this and it’s a shame. Please be careful out there!

By the way, do any of you recognize this guy’s accent?


Jolly Roger pirates have moved to Digital Ocean!

What better place for the Jolly Roger than “Digital Ocean”, right?

All Jolly Roger services have moved to digitalocean.com. I did not select this host based upon its name. It turns out they have a really nice virtual machine infrastructure that is extremely easy to use. The name is a bonus.

It was an AMAZING amount of work to move everything. What started as a goofy hobby in 2013 has become a very complicated service that spans multiple dedicated servers. There are over 1 million(!) telephone records and almost a terabyte of storage that had to be moved. Anyway, it’s done now and everything should work EXACTLY the same as it always has. I am writing this post on a Sunday night. March 25th, 2018. If your service is acting differently or you’re having any troubles at all, then please get in touch with me through support@jollyrogertelephone.com so we can get you all fixed up!

Thank you everyone for your love, kindness, and support through this crazy voyage! This new infrastructure is necessary for the web site that we’re about to launch for you! I’m so excited for you to see it!

Roger

 


Alas, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act may be dead

The TCPA was supposed to be this great thing that allowed us to sue telemarketers if they violated a bunch of rules. Of course, it didn’t seem to do much. I don’t know – perhaps telemarketing in 2018 would be worse without it, but telemarketing is still seems pretty bad!

Anyway, the TCPA provided an extremely vague definition of “automatically dialing” a number and a trade organization (of debt collectors!) successfully argued the clause should be overturned. https://gizmodo.com/us-court-rules-anti-robocall-law-made-nearly-everyone-a-1823839327

So, this may make the whole TCPA completely toothless, but I wasn’t holding out hope anyway. I did hear from a Jolly Roger subscriber who successfully sues telemarketers all the time. He said the TCPA was created to allow us, the consumer, to sue telemarketers and it was supposed to cause “death by a thousand cuts” to the telemarketing industry. Of course, we have learned that it’s a tough beast to kill. My subscriber described the process, and I suppose it’s easy (and profitable!) once you’ve done it a couple times.

Those of use hoping the government or telecom industry will help are disappointed again. They’re working on it, but it’s a huge industry and extremely difficult to change.

In the meantime, the Jolly Roger bots are here to help. Imagine a bunch of door-to-door salesmen wandering around your neighborhood. The Jolly Roger bots are like pretend homeowners out front working in the yard. When a door-to-door salesman comes to your house, the Jolly Roger bot intercepts them and chats them up for a while. You are inside and not bothered, and the salesman is tied up, which helps your neighbor. Heck, the neighbor at the end of the street may not even get a visit because the salesmen ran out of time. It’s like that, except with pirates. And bees. Oh, and sometimes blood.

Thanks for listening, everyone!

Roger

 


Telemarketer talks to a bot having a REALLY bad day

Hello all!

This call is between a “heating and air” scammer and a Jolly Roger bot named Barbarossa. If any of you have heard Barbarossa before, he’s not a particularly sympathetic bot. But this incarnation of Barbarossa somehow manages to sound like such a sad sack, that this telemarketer starts to feel sorry for him. And he’s a little amused.

I know we all love it when these robots frustrate and anger the telemarketers. Heck, telemarketers frustrate and anger us, so it’s payback time, right? But I also like to post some of the calls that amuse and entertain the telemarketers. It’s just as effective (we’re all trying to waste their time, right?)

These “heating and air” scammers pitch a too-good-to-be-true furnace inspection for super-cheap. They often claim they’ve been to your house before and “it’s time” to schedule the next inspection. If you follow them down the rabbit hole, they eventually ask for your credit card to hold the appointment. It is possible that this particular telemarketer doesn’t realize he is working for a scammer. He sounds like a nice enough guy. Or perhaps he is just working for a lead-generation company and will simply sell your contact info to other heating and air companies.

Regardless, this Jolly Roger bot wasted some time and now this telemarketer has an interesting story about a really bad day.

Thanks for listening! Roger


Podcast Episode 18 has been posted!

Note: As I post this episode, I realize that I did not finish episode 17! Unfortunately, I already mentioned the episode number a couple times in the audio, so I just went with it. I’ll get episode 17 posted soon.

In this episode, I talk about some recent enhancements to the Jolly Roger bot algorithm as well as some new tricks to keep telemarketers engaged longer. I play a couple calls and some snips that are new. And I talk about the new web site that we’re very close to launching!

Thank you so much, everyone!

Roger


Absolute Proof that Jolly Roger Telephone is Disrupting the Vacation Cruise Telemarketers

I’m so excited about this call! We get to hear a supervisor discuss how to deal with Jolly Roger Telephone bots! By the way, this is a new robot named “James Cook”.

This is yet another “Florida Vacation” telemarketer. I won’t even go into the scam itself. If you’ve received these annoying calls, then you’ll appreciate the time this person wastes pitching a too-good-to-be-true vacation package to a robot. That’s ten minutes she’ll never get back. And this telemarketer shop just lost a chance to call a couple thousand numbers while she was on the phone. Well done, James!

But the best part about this call is the the last two minutes. The supervisor gets on the call and he immediately recognizes this as a bot. He couldn’t possibly recognize James Cook, because he’s brand new. But he recognizes the intent of the bot and he then discusses with the agent the things they do to handle these bots. If nothing else, please listen to the last two minutes of this call.

Many of you ask me if the telemarketers have acknowledged the bots or if it reduces the amount of calls you get. Well, here’s proof. It’s not anecdotal. It’s not a suspicion. This is proof that the telemarketers report the telephone numbers and refuse to pay someone for them. I’m not sure how the money flows in this horrible industry, but YOU are costing the industry money when you use the Jolly Roger Telephone bots. So well done and please keep it up!

Also note that he didn’t say “oh, just put that number on our do-not-call list”. This is obviously a number they never want to call again, right? This is proof that there’s no such thing as their own do-not-call list. I think we all knew that anyway, but there it is.

As you know, I LOVE TELECOMMUNICATIONS. Unsolicited outbound telemarketing is a terrible abuse of the network that I love. I created these bots to protect you, me, and the telephone network from the virus of telemarketing and I’m so grateful to all of you for using the service and sharing the news with everyone that THERE IS A REALISTIC SOLUTION TO TELEMARKETING. This call is proof!

Thank you for listening!


New Year’s Robot offends Fraternal Order of the Police

Happy New Year everyone!

There’s an interesting story behind this bot. I’ll tell it in a future podcast. Anyway, this is a “New Year” bot that we put together for 2018. It’s one of our seasonal bots that remove in a few weeks. We also had a couple Christmas bots that are out of service until next year.

Do you get calls from “Fraternal Order of the Police”? There are *tons* of complaints online about them. Often times it’s a “Paid Fundraiser” through an outsourced (for-profit) telemarketing firm. I consider these scams, even though they may use the name of a valid organization (like the “Fraternal Order of the Police” in some small town near you). The fundraising firm gets a ton of money, and Fraternal Order of the Police get some small percentage of the overall donations. A Google search will bring several terrible stories about these fundraisers.

So please don’t be upset with Jolly Roger Telephone for intercepting these calls and messing with these telemarketers. Even though we may support your charity, NOBODY wants these telephone calls!

As a side note, they often use men with deep authoritative voices to perpetuate the myth that these are the actual cops calling you.

Anyway, my wife Jennifer recorded some clips for a “Jolly Jenny New Year’s Edition” that are completely the opposite of her personality, which is funny because this guy was right there with her until she got to the end. You’ll hear that he eventually is so offended that he disconnects the call.

If you’re new to the Jolly Roger Telephone Company, we provide bots to speak with YOUR telemarketers. We can often intercept these calls automatically. If you get a lot of telemarketer calls, please consider subscribing at www.jollyrogertelephone.com. It’s only $6/year.

Thanks for listening!

 


New Jolly Roger bots for Christmas! You can call them directly!

We recorded a Christmas Edition with Salty Sally (and her daughter!). You may have heard her on www.donotcallchristmas.com and she’s in the random rotation so she might be answering some of your calls. You can call her directly at 1-206-259-4976.
 
Also, Moby Dick is an extremely funny guy, and he recorded a Santa edition. We started with “what if a telemarketer happened to call Santa?” and I think he nailed it. He is also on www.donotcallchristmas.com and in the random rotation. But you can call him directly at 1-206-259-4975.
 
You can also summon them via text by sending “santa” or “ssxmas” to 214-666-4321. This is the “Summon a Pirate” feature and sometimes it’s easier to get a bot connected to your telemarketers this way on your mobile phone.
 
Anyway – enjoy the seasonal bots! We’ll try to get at least one more published in time for Christmas!
 
Thanks as always!
Roger

Jolly Roger Telephone teams up with NoMoRoBo for some Christmas Cheer!

What happens if a telemarketer happens to call Santa Claus?

I’m thrilled to announce that Jolly Roger Telephone has teamed up with NoMoRoBo this Christmas! We created some new Christmas-themed bots (you may recognize some of the voices!) and we are posting a call per day at DoNotCallChristmas.com.

NoMoRoBo is sending some calls to these bots and we’re posting the best ones for you!

While you’re there, please consider signing up for either (or both!) of our services. We’re doing this to entertain, but also increase awareness regarding the services that the good guys are providing to cause pain to the bad guys.

Please share and comment. Hopefully you like the bots!

And thank you SO MUCH for listening!

Roger