I Have an Idea to Waste the Time of Telemarketers


Dear Steve,

I have a question about debt-reduction telemarketing scammers. None of the lame advice we’re given (just hang up, DNC list, etc.) has ever provided any relief.

I have an idea for fighting back, and I’d like your take on it. My idea is to create a web site to recruit and train ordinary people to respond to telemarketers by using a large collection of tricks to keep them on the phone as long as possible. (How long? My own average is about 30 minutes, and my personal best is 57.) Surely it would break their business model if there were thousands, or perhaps tens of thousands, of respondents whose only objective is to eat up their time.

The telemarketers could respond by hiring more scammers and making more calls, but at some point, they would hit a point of diminishing returns, as their phone lines fill up with people who run up their costs while not providing any revenue.

Eventually, the web site could incorporate a contest to encourage people to compete for the longest calls. In the best-case scenario, I might be able to attract sponsors or ad revenue that would allow me to give out cash prizes via PayPal. The telemarketers rely on raw numbers (high call volume) to find the occasional sucker. I would use numbers against them to crush their business model. What do you think?



Dear Steve,

Well under the heading of anything is possible, sure.

But this is just my opinion, I’d just hang up or screen your calls.

The cold call telemarketers are just average people trying to find a job. I get it, they are trying to make ends meet. They are incredibly annoying.

The people behind the telemarketers will just find another way to lower costs when expenses get higher. More offshoring of calls will happen.

None of this is going to stop telemarketing companies that just want to pound your phone.

See also  Telelmarketers Charged With Illegal Robocalling By FTC

My phone gets hammered every day with car warranty calls. I could keep them on the phone but I don’t have time to do that.

But if it brings you joy to do that, there is nothing illegal that I know of about stringing a telemarketer along and wasting your day doing it.

There certainly are a lot of YouTube videos out there of people doing just that.

I remember there was an app named Robokiller that would string telemarketers along and waste their time without wasting yours. I tried it and I have to admit it was fun.

In fact, I think I’ll go reinstall it again if the new price is reasonable.


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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