FTC or the Federal Trade Commission Challenges threw a challenge of $50,000 cash prize for the best technical and innovative solution that will block illegal commercial robocalls on landlines and mobile phones. Known as the FTC Robocall Challenge, this challenge was a part of its ongoing campaign against these illegal, prerecorded telemarketing calls.
A commercial robocall is a telephone call that delivers a recorded sales message. These calls often are unwanted and frequently deceptive. Under the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, the vast majority of commercial robocalls are illegal unless the recipient has given the caller advance written permission to call them.
This was the agency’s first government contest hosted on Challenge.gov, an online challenge platform administered by the U.S. General Services Administration, in partnership with ChallengePost. And the winner of the challenge is Nomorobo.
Free Way to Forever Stop Annoying Calls and Emails from Telemarketers
Despite a national Do Not Call Registry, automated calls have continued to haunt Americans. Last year alone the Federal Trade Commission fielded 2.2 million complaints about such calls. Nomorobo, a service that became available in October, seems to be succeeding where the registry has not. It blocks sales robocalls, which are, for the most part, illegal whether your name is on the registry or not
Using information from the F.T.C’s Do Not Call Registry and elsewhere, Nomorobo uses a simultaneous ringing feature available on most phone systems. Once a consumer signs up on www.nomorobo.com, the system answers the rejected call and then hangs up before the home or office phone picks up.
A few caveats: Nomorobo works only for landlines, not cellphones and it works with most phone company carriers but not all and must use a Voice Over Internet Protocol or VoIP phone system. Antivirus system or corporate firewall have been reported to be blocking it.
“In a little over four months, we’ve had 68,000 users sign up and blocked a little over one million robocalls,” said Aaron Foss, who runs a one-man shop. “This is a first-generation product,” he said. “I liken it to email spam. As spammers got better, anti-spamming got better. People gave me a thousand reasons why it wouldn’t work, and I thought it might block about half the calls. It’s now blocking almost all the calls, which is good enough to get through dinner.”
Will this continue to be free? Mr. Foss said he hoped so. His goal is to make money by offering the service to businesses like call centers, which have expressed an interest.
Try it for free – http://www.nomorobo.com/