Want to get revenge on telemarketers? This app will tell callers they've won a cruise

Phone app talks back to telemarketers


If robocalls to your cell phone drive you crazy, you may want to know a new way to get revenge on those telemarketers.

It's an award-winning app for iPhone that gives the callers a taste of their own medicine.

Like most of us, Paul Applegate hates having a TV show -- or anything -- interrupted by a telemarketing robocall.

"My number was getting 5, 6 calls a day that were spam," he says.

So Applegate downloaded a robocall blocker that turns the tables on the callers: RoboKiller.

Instead of just hanging up, it plays games with callers.

"It has what's called answer bots. These are pre-recorded discussions, and they fool the spam bots into thinking they are an actual human," Applegate said.

His phone now has two dozen responses, designed to fool automated calling systems.

"One of my favorites is someone who is speaking in a Russian accent, and he pretends he doesn't speak English very well."

The app also includes a response that tells the telemarketer that the caller has won a cruise.

The app's developer, Ethan Garr, says it is not just an attempt to be funny: it also blocks that number from ever calling you again, and keeps a record of the incoming calls it stopped.

RoboKiller costs about $2 a month in the iTunes store, and the Federal Trade Commission says it is safe to use. It even won an FTC contest for best new robocall stopper.

Yes, some of the voices may not be politically correct (Southern belle, etc), and it plays a bit to stereotypes  -- like thickly accented Russians.

If that offends you, it always has an effective neutral option, which Applegate says works every time:

"We're sorry you have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service," it says.

RoboKiller has additional features: It can show you which calls were blocked, and lets you select robocalls you want to receive, such as school closings or automated pharmacy calls.

Though it's not yet available for Android, it's one of the top rated robocaller blockers now on iTunes. Others like NoMoRobo also get great reviews, but they won't tell the caller he won a cruise.

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