'We are taking the fight back to the scammer': App lets you take revenge
According to some estimates, there are 2,700 robocalls made every second in the U.S. The scammers often find sneaky ways to get through to you, and attempt to take your money or personal information.
Dozens of apps help block the calls from your cellphone, but a new app promises to both stop the calls and take revenge on scammers.
RoboKiller's co-creator, Ethan Garr, said the app works by using what they call "answer bots." The bots answer known robocalls on your behalf and pretend to be a real person.
The recordings do their best to keep the scammer talking.
"It's really game on for us," said Garr. "We are taking the fight back to the scammer."
The answerbots range from funny and zany, to rude and obnoxious.
Garr said the bots can waste 15,000 hours of scammers' time each month. That is time they can't call you or someone else.
"Our answerbots are really smart," said Garr. "They know how to get to the human behind the telemarketing call. We're great believers in getting even with the scammers, and our answerbots are a great way to do that."
It's estimated that scammers spend more than $400 million a year to call and bug you, according to Garr. But the scams rake in $9.5 billion in benefits.
They've never taken iPhone user Jason Silk's money, but they've taken plenty of his time and patience.
"Because of my job responsibilities, I am required to check my phone," said Silk.
Silk said even when it is a number he doesn't recognize he is forced to pick up so he doesn't miss an important call.
However, the person on the other line is often a telemarketer or scammer. He said it is distracting both at work and at home.
"When I'm trying to do stuff with my children, and I'm getting 4 to 5 calls in an hours' time. It's annoying," said Silk.
Silk signed up for the do-not call registry, but his phone kept ringing. That service only blocks legal telemarketing calls, and most robocalls are not legal.
Once he heard about RoboKiller, Silk was all in. He said taking a bit of revenge on scammers is beyond satisfying.
"It puts a smile on my face to hear the telemarketer get aggravated, you know?" said Silk. "It's like, what do you think you're doing to us people? We have lives. Stuff we are doing. Nobody asked you to call!"
The app will send you a notification letting you know that it blocked a call. Calls are recorded and saved on the app. It's rare, but if RoboKiller makes a mistake, you can use the "allow" button to make sure it doesn't happen again.
RoboKiller allows you to try it for free, before paying $2.99 a month for the service.