I’ve never met anyone who enjoys getting robocalls. Have you? We make exceptions during election season and though political robocalls can be annoying if you’re not interested in the information, they are totally legal. The problem is, a growing number of Americans are being harassed by fraudulent robocalls made by scammers.
The problem has become so bad that last year, the Federal Trade Commission created a contest to help it come up with a new way to block illegal robocalls. Today the FTC announced the contest ended in a tie. The winners Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss will each receive half of the $50,000 grand prize.
Both inventions would intercept and filter out illegal robocalls using technology to “blacklist” the bad guys and “whitelist” the good guys. According to the FTC, both proposals would also separate unapproved robocallers using a CAPTCHA-style test to prevent illegal calls from even ringing through.
So if they’re so similar, why was there a tie? Well, it must come down to the different ways they’re implemented. My personal favorite, Foss’s Nomorobo is cloud-based and hangs up on scammers before they can get through! The other, Danis’s Robocall Filtering System and Device with Autonomous Blacklisting,Whitelisting, GrayListing and Caller ID Spoof Detection could be applied as a mobile app, an electronic device, or part of your phone service.
We don’t know when these inventions will be on the market but what we do know is this: scammers are very tech-savvy and we have to beat them at their own game. The best way to stop scams that feed on technology is to create counteractive products such as the winning inventions in this contest.
Now — who can invent a money-wiring kiosk that recognizes transfers that are about to be sent to scam artists? Maybe once recognized, the kiosk plays a loud message that says something like, “STOP! Step away! Do not send this money. This is a scam! I repeat: this is a scam!” That’s what we need!
What do you think? How can we better protect technology from being exploited by criminals? What is good or bad about the FTC’s contest-winning inventions? What other scams thrive because of technology?