Thwarting Telemarketers

Passed along from my brother -- it was posted on a tech discussion list for audio engineer types.

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I just got home from traveling to Port Townsend over on the Olympic Peninsula. We own a townhouse there, and I needed to go to pick up a car that we left there. My wife was there about a week ago, and accidentally left the answering machine on. I checked it today, and there was not a single message left on it. Usually there would be several, with people pushing satellite systems, etc.

What was the difference?

Some time ago, I changed the outgoing message to include the telephone company's "special instruction tones." These are the tones you hear when you dial a number that is disconnected. You know, "bah-dah-boo -- The number you are calling has been disconnected or is no longer in service..."

Our outgoing message now goes something like: "bah-dah-boo The number you have reached does not accept calls from telemarketers. If you are a telemarketer, please add this number to your do not call list and do not call this number again. If you're not a telemarketer, feel free to leave a message."

I wasn't sure how well this worked, but my proof was on the answering machine today when I walked in the door.

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(If you want the .wav file for the tones, you can grab it here.)

Posted March 2, 2015

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