There are thousands of complaints over Robocalls or pre-recorded telemarketers each month. The FTC has decided to do something about it and is ready to pay you $50,000 if you know how to block robocalls!
Remember Rachel? She’s the pre-recorded telemarketer that wants to talk with you about credit card issues and asks for $500 to $1,000 to make your problem disappear. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, robocalls are illegal and scamming vehicles that will just add to your credit card debt. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wants to block robocalls and is asking for your expertise. You win $50,000 for an effective method of blocking Rachel’s robocalls.
According to David Vladeck, director of FTC’s consumer protection bureau, the agency wants to pick your brain for solutions. The FTC Robocall Challenge aims “to tap into the genius and technical expertise among the public” to end Rachel and the rest of the robocalls. Until now, the agency wasn’t so successful in blocking robocalls by itself.
“In the past, you needed a location, banks of telephones and callers to run a telemarketing scam” FTC staff attorney Kati Daffan told CBS News. “Now all you need is a computer and you can download the pitch and send it out to thousands of people a day from wherever you are” she added.
In 2009, the FTC pushed for a law that made robocalls illegal if the telemarketer company didn’t get your written approval first. That didn’t change too many things, since the FTC is receiving thousands of consumer complaints each month. Rachel from Cardholder Services scammed 13 million Americans out of 2.6 billion called to pay hundreds of dollars to have their card debt issue solved.
The problem is that robocalls are used by a lot of companies that offer valid services, however most often con artists use Rachel robocalls for scamming people. Plus, with election season at its peak, a lot of people already had their share of pre-recorded telemarketer calls with a political nuance. By the way political calls are exempted from the U.S. Do Not Call Registry, so you’re going to get these calls anyway.
If you do find a way to block robocalls, you’re likely going to be a national hero. The FTC Robocall Challenge is open to individuals or a company with less than 10 employees. Solutions must be technological but must not interfere with actual communication services. You’ve got until January 17 2013 to submit yours.