Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Steal this idea: Phone scammer/spammer warnings

Hear my phone ringin',
sound like a long distance call
-- Muddy Waters, "Long Distance Call"
Why telemarketing is an opt-out rather than opt-in process is beyond me. Nevertheless, if you do get a call from a number you don't recognize, you may want to run it by I recently got a call from a telemarketer (see my report here*) and had an idea for a program to run on the phones of the future. When I say phones of the future, I mean roughly tomorrow since this idea is so simple it should be very easily doable on an iPhone, Android phone, or something else easily programmable. At least, I would hope this is easy to write (I haven't ever used these phones' APIs).

The idea is this: When I get a call from an unknown number, my phone should look it up on Possibly there would be a reputation system and it could automatically report good calls to the site (though there are some potential privacy issues here which would need to be addressed) and give you the option to mark a previous call as a scam. Integration with would be nice too.

* Incidentally, this phone number appears to be running multiple scams. The number is used to connect people with various scams so that the companies actually doing the scams are harder to trace. That's why the representative on the other line said that I had called her.


Anonymous said...

Wont work. Telemarketers use fake/random numbers for their CID.

David McClosky said...

Are they always fake/random? I would imagine that would be completely worthless if this was the case. As I understand it, (and correct me if I'm wrong) you need a connection to the phone network backbone to spoof CID and my guess is that telemarketers are not always willing to pay the cost of this service.