A contest to combat robocalls

Zapping Rachel from Cardholder Services“Rachel from Cardholder Services” is one of the most notorious — and most annoying — robocallers ever. Advances in technology have made it cheap and easy for Rachel and her buddies to send out thousands of calls every minute — and to spoof caller ID information, hiding their true location and identity. It’s the perfect environment for telephone spam.

Because technology is the crux of the problem, the FTC is tapping one of the world’s largest hacking conferences for some high-caliber technical support. The FTC is sponsoring a contest at DEF CON 22 in Las Vegas, Aug. 7-10, to inspire innovative tech solutions in the fight against illegal robocalls.

Zapping Rachel challenges the tech community to develop robust, cutting-edge robocall honeypots (information systems designed to attract robocallers) that can help researchers and investigators understand and minimize illegal calls. The contest is divided into three phases:

  1. Create: Build a robocall honeypot by Friday, 8/8, at noon PDT
  2. Attack:  Identify a honeypot’s security vulnerabilities by Saturday, 8/9, at noon PDT
  3. Detect: Analyze data from an existing robocall honeypot by Saturday, 8/9, at 7 pm PDT

For more details about the contest — and to review contest FAQs — visit ftc.gov/ZapRachel.

Tagged with: phones, robocalls, techies
Blog Topic: Be Smart Online


1.5 hears I received the calls from credit card services, after spewing profanity against the live person, the calls have stopped, I suspect they will begin again, but any defenses i can get I will consider I want a huge arsenal against these maggots.

Please...come up with some great tools to help us fight Rachael and her friends!!! Thanks.h

I began putting my phone on the radio & turning the volumn up to high. I want them to pay more on their phone bill.

I am very pleased to hear the FTC is trying to zap Rachel.

Am happy to be a member of this network and i will always keep the policy of this network. may God help me Amen+++++++

If you were to speak to one of these Cardholder Services people they will tell you their calls are legal, because they work for your credit company "collecting bills." Don't fall for it!

I just heard from Rachel again. However, MY number shows up on caller ID. This has got to end

Ok folks, I made them stop. Had tried everything, wasting their time; pretending to be an investigator; even once successfully getting a callback # from some dummy by saying I was on a work phone can I call you back?

Here is the one that scared them off, probably got my number carefully deleted, I only did this one time: When CARD SERVICES called and asked me to press 1 to speak to a rep, I started rapidly talking as if I were an agent talking to another agent, so when the CARD SERVICES rep got on the line she got the impression that she had somehow tapped into an investigation conversation. I just kept on talking, like this:

Me: "Looks like we got a live one here....yeah....dead number out of Montana....uh-huh, right, same deal....Florida....yep....classic robo....you got this?....hang on....locating.....what....gimme a sec...gonna be slam dunk...."

CARD SERVICE rep: "Hello, hello? This is Card Services, would you like a lower interest rate? Hello? Hello?

Me: (continuing uninterrupted while rep tries to talk)...Ok 614 this is perfect, got one in Florida for sure, Miami, also Chicago, that same outfit on Lake Shore Drive...no...let me check...uh-huh...yep...get this quick...if they roll now they got em...no sir...let that one go for now we don't have triangulation yet go for the Miami, it'll be a turkey shoot, get on it..."

Rep: "Hello? (silence, listening, line goes quiet, then male voice, probably supervisor or senior scammer comes on...)

Me: "....you got that?...Sweeeeet...how many?...no warrant needed this is a security issue just kick it in...wait...got a couple more here...same deal...Florida mostly...also Montana, Portland Oregon...they're biting like spring trout...this is a good number...what?...."

Rep supervisor: (silent, listening carefully, hangs up)

I have not received one CARD SERVICE call since. Not one. And I was getting at least five or six a day before this! Takes some theater skill, but it works. I think it made them think that my number was some "honeypot" number set up by the govt, and they had lucked into some one-sided connection where we couldn't hear each other and they were hearing one side of a sting operation. So they made sure not to call that number again!

I am tired of the junk from 27. How do u stop them ?

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