If robocalls to your cell phone drive you crazy, you may want to know a new way to get revenge on those telemarketers.
It’s an award-winning app for iPhone that gives the callers a taste of their own medicine.
Like most of us, Paul Applegate hates having a TV show—or anything—interrupted by a telemarketing robocall.
“My number was getting five, six calls a day that were spam,” he says.
So Applegate downloaded a robocall blocker that turns the tables on the callers: RoboKiller.
Instead of just hanging up, it plays games with callers.
“It has what’s called ‘answer bots.’ These are pre-recorded discussions, and they fool the spam bots into thinking they are an actual human,” Applegate said.
His phone now has two dozen responses, designed to fool automated calling systems.
“One of my favorites is someone who is speaking in a Russian accent, and he pretends he doesn’t speak English very well,” he said.
The app also includes a response that tells the telemarketer that the caller has won a cruise.
The app’s developer, Ethan Garr, says it is not just an attempt to be funny.
It also blocks that number from ever calling you again, and keeps a record of the incoming calls it stopped.
RoboKiller costs about $2 a month in the iTunes store, and the Federal Trade Commission says it is safe to use.
It even won an FTC contest for best new robocall stopper.
Yes, some of the voices may not be politically correct (Southern belle, etc.), and it plays a bit to stereotypes—like thickly accented Russians.
If that offends you, it also has an effective neutral option, which Applegate says works every time:
“We’re sorry you have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service,” it says.
RoboKiller has additional features: It can show you which calls were blocked, and lets you select robocalls you want to receive, such as school closings or automated pharmacy calls.
The app has more than 20,000 reviews and has an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on iTunes.
One review wrote: “This app has brought back sanity into my life. After 2 months it’s blocked 145 robocalls! These stupid disturbances used to annoy me throughout the day, now I look forward to logging in to the app at the end of the day to laugh at these idiots talking to robots.”
Another review got a kick out of the conversations spammers were having with the bots.
“When I listened to the voicemail messages, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Some of the recorded voicemail messages that were saved or absolutely hilarious. Since these spam callers call me and waste my time every time they get me on the phone, I have to admit I took a little bit of pleasure and wasting their time right back. They were actually trying to have conversations with the bots and they weren’t giving up,” the person wrote.
Though it’s not yet available for Android, it’s one of the top rated robocall blockers now on iTunes.
Others like NoMoRobo also get great reviews, but they won’t tell the caller he won a cruise.
What’s your favorite way of dealing with robocalls and telemarketers? Tell us in the comments on Facebook!