But why should you skulk in the shadows, eyes cast downward in defense against callers who might simply be an annoying disruption to your "flow" but who are very likely the shock troops for disreputable or dishonest businesses?
You can read at Gizmodo, or at CBS News about measures you can take. But what irritates me about many of the suggestions is that they constitute an inconvenience for me, or for my callers. I am not satisfied with letting the polluters extort time and effort from me or from my people. (You may have guessed that from my attitudes in my earlier article, Passwords Must Die.)
So let's talk about something you can do that doesn't take much effort (beyond initial setup) and that might provide considerable entertainment. In fact, this might be the most fun you can have with your telephone receiver down.
Jolly Roger Telephone Company, and it's possibly my favorite robot anywhere this year.
The principle is that you can arrange for calls that match certain patterns known to be robodialer behavior to be routed to a line answered by a robot.
The robot engages the caller, and in the case where the robodialer passes the call off to a human operator, it endeavors to tie them up in the conversation for as long as possible. By using background noise, neutral responses and sentences that could be relevant to the occasion, the robot can keep the sales agent engaged for quite some time.
Over at the Jolly Roger Website, they have details about how to use the service, how to get merchandise and learn more about how it works, and most importantly, some of the "Best Of" highlights from notorious calls that have been recorded.
Over at See It Online, they have posted several of their favorites, and I could not resist sharing one of mine right here. This hapless caller would seem a little bit pitiful and worthy of some compassion except that he works for a company that scams elderly and those without access to education and information.
So it's okay to laugh. (Should you feel comfortable doing so...)
You can get the "I've got a bee on my arm..." bumper sticker if you wish. I think we are placing an order for one today!