1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

Programmer fights back against phone scammers using army of bots

By midian182 ยท 24 replies
Feb 9, 2017
Post New Reply
  1. Have you ever received a phone call from a tech support scammer? If so, you’ll know that these criminals have no moral objections when it comes to tricking people into installing malware on their computers or handing over credit card/bank details. So it’s always nice to hear about members of the public fighting back.

    After a telemarketer used some unpleasant language toward his young son, Roger Anderson, a telecom consultant and owner of The Jolly Roger Telephone Company, decided to build an army of phone bots that he now sells to businesses and consumers. Whenever telemarketers call, people can secretly transfer them to the human-sounded bots, who will chat until the person on the other end realizes what’s going on.

    The bot gives generic responses such as "yes" or "uh-huh" or "I'm listening," along with stuff like "Oh geez, hang on, there's a bee on my arm. You keep talking. I'm just going to stay quiet because of this bee." Another pre-recorded track involves a woman getting into a fight with her daughter. Check out the company's YouTube channel for more examples.

    After Anderson received a support scam message from a “certified Windows Support agent” – this time via a popup on his PC, rather than a phone call – he decided to unleash his bot army against the scammers.

    "I ended up getting a popup saying my computer was infected. I felt invaded. I thought, 'screw that.' Of all the people on the planet, I'm probably the only guy that has the tech to make blast phone calls. And I have robots that sound like people convincingly enough to waste time," he told Business Insider.

    Anderson stressed that he has never used his bots to make outbound calls for malicious purposes before, but he made an exception for the scammers. First, he called the number on the screen to make sure it was an actual scam call center. He then used one of his bots to make a call - it convinced a scammer that they were talking to a real person for over five minutes. At this point, Anderson hit them with the full force of his automated bots.

    "I called 100 times on 20 simultaneous channels. They answered, talked to my bots. Then they started to put my bots on hold. Then they started swearing, shouting to each other, about what is going on, I could hear in the background. Then I made 500 calls on 20 simultaneous channels to the number. After 300 phone, they disconnected the number," he said.

    Within just 15-20 minutes, Anderson had finished off the company. The number on the popup is now reportedly out of service, thanks to his actions. "I completely annihilated them," he said.

    Anderson now wants people to report similar phone scam line numbers to him, so they too can experience the same treatment. Just drop his company an email at roger@jollyrogertelephone.com if you know a scam number you think should be targeted.

    "I guarantee I have more [telephone] ports in my system then they have in theirs. Even if they hang up on a robot, I can congest their call center so their potential victims can’t call in," he said.

    Anderson is asking for donations to cover the costs, as making so many calls to mostly offshore numbers isn’t cheap, obviously.

    Coincidentally, I received a scam call while writing this article from someone claiming to be from my ISP, insisting that a "virus is making its way down my router." Maybe I'll ask Anderson to set his bots on them.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2017
  2. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,758   +1,149

    Kudos! yet it must be expensive to send that many calls offshore.
  3. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing - click on the rock below.. Posts: 3,932   +1,162

  4. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,758   +1,149

    It's not free OFF-SHORE. You can even use google to phone within US and Canada for Free but anywhere else you need to pay.
    Reehahs likes this.
  5. Badonk4

    Badonk4 TS Member Posts: 30   +21

    What a legend. Can make an army of bots, but can't block popups.
    psycros likes this.
  6. Reehahs

    Reehahs TS Guru Posts: 725   +468

    Completely owned those scammers.
  7. RevD14

    RevD14 TS Booster Posts: 92   +96

    This is my favorite story. What a hero!

    When I lived in Utah phone scammers cold called none stop. I wasted their time as much as I could.
    Garry J likes this.
  8. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    WhatsApp, Viber and many more...
  9. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,138   +1,556

    I think I have a new hero!
  10. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    If only there were more people like him in the world.
  11. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,758   +1,149

    Wouldn't they need to have those apps installed on a mobile phone to use them? It's far from a call center as they apparently tend to work.
  12. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,153   +3,576

    Just ain't nothing sweeter than revenge!
    gamoniac and Makson like this.
  13. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    I just use WhatsApp to make all international calls, and I make quite a few. It always works for me but naturally I can't speak for others. Skype never did it for me although it was the only option available at that time. Things have changed for the better in voip thankfully.
  14. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,758   +1,149

    The small difference and point I was trying to make, is that you can call from Skype or Hangouts to phone line, not from Whatsapp or Vibe or whatever to a phone line, it's an app to app communication.
  15. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 778   +309

    Voip calls are typically 1cent/minute for international calls soo really quite affordable to do.

    Kudos to this guy, these tech scammers need to be publicly tarred and set on fire to make them stop.
    They are completely ruining the computer repair industry reputation with their BS!.
  16. namesrejected

    namesrejected TS Guru Posts: 398   +302

    OMG, This is hilarious!

    It would be cool if he were to get recordings of these scammers, and use their phrases in the bots! ( To really give them a taste of their own medicine ).

    This guy is awesome. The networks should waive the fees if they really cared about bettering humanity.
  17. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,438   +601

    The networks don't give a damn about bettering humanity they just want their money.

    Like any business that provides a service.
  18. Makson

    Makson TS Booster Posts: 115   +27

    With Skype in Australia I do not pay to speak to people in the UK, that includes video, and the same applies from UK to me.
  19. Makson

    Makson TS Booster Posts: 115   +27

    Revenge served cold is a tad sweeter sir....;-)
  20. gamoniac

    gamoniac TS Guru Posts: 352   +98

    Love this story!
  21. Phr3d

    Phr3d TS Guru Posts: 404   +86

    Hey, Zuck and Chan! How 'bout you re-direct a million to some one/thing like this and stamp out That disease..
    offer it as a conference-call service, tell whale-shyt-eater to hold a sec, hold, connect to scumbagsPwnd.com's conf-call number, unleash. They then track the number and pound them into submissive(sic) as described in Rob's article.
    nice to imagine..
  22. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,153   +3,576

    Sorry, but being diabetic, I can only take so much!!!! LOL
  23. roberthi

    roberthi TS Addict Posts: 388   +120

    This is nothing. Many years ago, my mom would get calls every so often on the phone from people trying malicious crap like this and all she did was blast one of those cheap blowhorns you see in stadiums into the phone. Took care of those jerks pretty quick.
  24. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,301   +1,752

    Just do it!
  25. PoppaHank

    PoppaHank TS Rookie

    I certainly sympathize with him -- I've had those calls too -- but I'm wondering just how legal this is, since it sounds a lot like he's doing denial-of-service attacks.

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...