Submission Number: 565017-00007
Received: 4/1/2013 8:48:54 PM
Commenter: James Wellnut
Agency: Federal Trade Commission
Initiative: Do Not Call Enforcement; Project No. P034412
Attachments: No Attachments
The Mouse trap is a very low-tech solution that requires no intervention on the part of the end-user, the network operators of the device manufacturers. Rather than create a new gizmo to try to filter or reject illegal robocalls, the mouse trap lies in stealth, trapping illegal callers.
One of the reasons there are so many robocalls, is that the probability of getting caught is very low, and the reward for the illegal operator of the robocalls is very high. By altering this balance, increasing the probability of punishment for the illegal caller, the number and frequency of robocalls will diminish. Thus The Mouse Trap is a strategy, not a device, to enable the identification and prosecution of the illegal callers.
The Mouse Trap relies on call forwarding technology and a small office of phone operators. The Mouse Trap depends on an initial purchase of random phone numbers in random area code, and forwards the calls to a central office. As the robocalls blindly dial, they will occasionally dial a Mouse Trap’s number and be connect to a Mouse Trap operator, who will pretend to be a gullible sop.
When a call is received by the office from a robocall scam, it will be answered and accepted, with a Mouse Trap operator pretending to be interested in the goods or services offered. The operator will purchase the goods or services via credit card, creating a traceable and identifiable money trail.
Once the credit card is processed, the illigal robocaller can be identified. The call history, the payment, the company and other relevant details can be collect in a log and either given directly to a local district attorney's office, the FTC, or other authority, to prosecute the offending party. By joining several such transactions, or opening the lawsuit to class-action, sever penalties can be levied against the transgressing party.
?As the robocalls will indiscriminately dial numbers throughout the country, it is very likely that the Mouse Trap will get repeated calls from the same illegal robocall operator. For each robocall received, the Mouse Trap operator will accept the call and purchase the goods, further strengthening the evidence of illegal activity.
Publicity of the process, the prosecutions and the consistent renewing of random Mouse Trap numbers will help to inhibit the illegal robocallers. There will be no blocking of wanted call, as there is no blocking of any calls.
For a consumer, there is no learning and nothing to do, and the method does not rely on technology or any alteration in the consumers behavior. Indeed, in order to be effective, they system would need to be invisible to the consumers and the illegal robocallers alike. A consumer would simply notice a decrease in the number of illegal robocalls.