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Port Jefferson Man Wins FTC Contest With System To Stop Robocalls

Aaron Foss has come up with a way to combat robocalls. (credit: CBS 2)

Aaron Foss has come up with a way to combat robocalls. (credit: CBS 2)

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PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island man may have solved one of the perpetual annoyances of living in the telephone age.

They happen when you least what them to — robocalls. Often it’s a computerized voice on the other end saying you won a cruise or you can consolidate your credit cards.

But now a Port Jefferson man named Aaron Foss has come up with a solution — called Nomorobo.

LINK: Nomorobo

“It uses a part of the phone system called simultaneous ring, which allows a phone to ring on multiple devices,” Foss told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall. “But my idea was, well, what if one of those phone numbers was a computer and it would look at the calls that came in and if it was a robocaller, it would automatically hang up.”

Foss was one of nearly 800 people who entered the Federal Trade Commission’s robocall contest — a search for the best new ideas on stopping the calls for good. Foss and one other challenger split the $50,000 prize.

“I like to think of it as a mute button for robocalls,” said Foss.

All calls are routed to a secondary line, and that line weeds out humans from robocallers. It hangs up on pre-recorded messages before the phone even rings but allows real callers through.

The software analyzes calls and their frequency and when there is a red flag, there is a test that asks real callers to enter a number to verify that they are indeed humans.

Foss said he hopes to have the project, which works on both cell phones and landlines, available to the public in six months. He said he is waiting for a company to help put the idea on the market.

“Everybody’s just been saying that I’m kind of the hero over here, that somebody’s being able to fight back against these robocallers,” he said. “They don’t feel so powerless now.”

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