Call screening/answering machine

Once again we are being pestered by automated calling.
Last time I looked for a solution there wasn't that much to see, but this
time I seem to have found a useful article:

This uses a Zoom 56k V.92 External USB Modem modem which in the UK is

The nice things are that the drivers are available for the modem plus a
nice additional touch is that the software can be modded to return a fax
tone when an automated (or other unwanted) call is detected.
Allegedly this can result in your number being dropped from the automated
call list.
So I am seriously tempted.
Has anyone else tried this setup, with this modem?
Allegedly you can use some WinModems (for our younger readers these were
modems usually used for Internet connections where cost were cut by doing
most of the processing in Windows instead of in the modem hardware. The
downside then was that you got poor performance unless your PC was
particularly powerful. The benefit now is that most voice functions are
available in software on a PC.)
I have a few old modems in the storage pile but they AFAICT are all serial
which requires additional hardware (serial USB converter or serial
port) so buying a new USB modem seems cost justified.
Before I plunge into the purchase, I am asking here to see if anyone has
previous experience of building a call screening/answering machine using a
Pi.
TIA
Dave R
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Windows 8.1 on PCSpecialist box
Reply to
David
Loading thread data ...
Can't see any input from you, Gordon.
Don't know if you sent accidentally or Pan can't understand what you sent.
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Windows 8.1 on PCSpecialist box
Reply to
David
Working in the Telecoms industry I can tell you that almost nothing you try to block these calls will have anything other than a temporary effect.
the scum that do not bother to respect TPS (telephone Prefrencing service) change the number they present regularly to ensure they keep getting through, often the number presented is fake so reporting them is also difficult.
yiu best option is to have a white list that the system will let through & then try to screen the rests. I am not sure if the PI is upto working as an IVR fro this purpose or if any suitable software is available (Asterix would be your best option if available)

--
"On the Internet, no one knows you're using Windows NT" 
(Submitted by Ramiro Estrugo, restrugo@fateware.com)
Reply to
alister
My thought was to (a) block all international calls and (b) whitelist all known callers. For the rest, play an audio CAPTCHA and if they get that right a minute of 'your call is important to us' hold music before letting them through.
Thanks to the OP for the heads-up on a possible hardware solution. Must investigate.
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Dave
Reply to
dave
The Pi runs asterisk very well (for a home installation, possibly even a small office). All that's then needed in the near vertical learning curve.
I have a Linux based asterisk system - it's not a Pi though, but when it expires I'll replace it with a Pi and an ATA.
Gordon
Reply to
Gordon Henderson
In message , dave writes
A word of caution on that one.
A few years back I had a phone called shown as "International". Knowing the caller travelled a bit, I asked where he was calling from, the answer was "Home" which was also in the UK. Turned out he had one of those fancy phone deals that got him cheap calls.
Adrian
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replace "bulleid" with "adrian" - all mail to bulleid is rejected 
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Reply to
Adrian
This is probably less fun but.....
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With caller ID enabled by B.T., it displays the name of the caller if it is in your "phone book".
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Stuart Winsor 

Tools With A Mission 
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Reply to
Stuart
... and/or pick up the call and connect it to an Eliza program. There must be some with speech recognition by now, though probably running them fast enough to give a decent mumbling dumb-human imitation may be beyond the abilities of an RPi.
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martin@   | Martin Gregorie 
gregorie. | Essex, UK 
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Reply to
Martin Gregorie
My advice is to buy the Pi, but don't bother with that particular software and hardware. Instead, install RASPBX, with or without "Incredible PBX"
I use a Linksys SPA-3000
Reply to
Graham.
Just put up a voice menu with DTMF input when someone with no caller-ID calls in. Just a mirror image of the silly menus the telephone systems of those companies have.
(I won't give an example as English is not my native language, but I think you can set up something that is a good parody on what they use themselves)
Reply to
Rob
An Eliza
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or some other chatterbot
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seems like a more amusing timewaster. Besides, menu systems are unusual on a non-commercial phone and so are more likely to make the cold-caller smell a rat.
In any case, I've recently seen a description of how a cold-caller stayed on the line trying to ensnare a chatterbot that did a decent imitation of a slow-witted and rather credulous person. Something like that would be perfect because it could run the cold-caller's phone bill sky high while also wasting their time.
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martin@   | Martin Gregorie 
gregorie. | Essex, UK 
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Reply to
Martin Gregorie
Thanks, but that doesn't really sort out the problem. I want to automatically screen nuisance calls without having to pick up (or even look at) a phone handset. As far as I can tell that phone does not have a blacklist or whitelist capability.
Cheers
Dave R
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Windows 8.1 on PCSpecialist box
Reply to
David
Thanks - interesting stuff. Would I be correct in assuming that RASPBX turns the Pi into a dedicated PABX? If so, that is a bit limiting. Also, I have no real need of VoIP services because what phoning I do generally uses my 'all you can eat' mobile contract unless I am calling 0800 numbers on the land line. The land line is maintained because we have had the same phone number for decades so it is a contact point for long lost family and friends.
What I would like to do is run a Pi as a general purpose server which can handle an incoming VPN and also pick up and screen land line calls - neither is a full time option but a very useful thing to have.
What you have suggested looks like a second stage if I find that my initial attempts are too limiting.
Anyway, I've ordered the USB modem and it is rumoured that I have a new Pi (B+) incoming as a late birthday present so I look forward to a bit of experimentation.
You have, however, prompted another question in my mind. Given that the USB dongle can handle incoming calls and play answering machine prompts to the caller and send outgoing faxes, can it also place outgoing calls? For instance could it acts as a gateway between VoIP calls and the POTS line? Specifically, if I am abroad (or away from home in the UK) could I call in to the Pi over the VPN using Skype-style software then call out over the land line? Or would I need the set up you have recommended?
Cheers
Dave R
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Windows 8.1 on PCSpecialist box
Reply to
David
Not really, it is just a fast way to setup a Pi running Linux, Asterisk and a web admin tool. You can install other functionality on that Pi when you want, and you can also start from a standard Linux install and add packages to obtain the same functionality as RASPBX. Of course that will take more time and reading...
Reply to
Rob
It depends, of course, how close you are to it in the normal way.
One thing it did do, when we first had it, was produce a different ring tone when numbers in the phone book rang in. Unfortunatly it no longer does that (fault?) and I can't see any menu or setting that controls that feature.
As far as we are concerned, the internal phone book functions like a white list. We take the view that any genuine caller not in the phone book would leave a message.
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Stuart Winsor 

Tools With A Mission 
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Reply to
Stuart
Thanks - will bear all that in mind :-)
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Windows 8.1 on PCSpecialist box
Reply to
David
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The functionality of that can be implemented on a Pi with Asterisk, but that just plugs in and works apparently.
Gordon
Reply to
Gordon Henderson
.....
get full control of the device..
I'd have bought one by now but for that little gem.
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Mike Scott (unet2  [deletethis] scottsonline.org.uk) 
Harlow Essex England
Reply to
Mike Scott
Before I left landlines (20 years ago) I had purchased a Caller ID box that did have a Blacklist function.
The box sat between my phone and the phone line, there was a relay inside that isolated the phone.
When a call came in, the box would read the CID and compare it to the blacklist.
If that number or name was on the blacklist, the relay would stay open and I would never hear the ring.
I did have an answering machine that would pickup after 20 rings, so I did know someone had called.
Searching for CID boxes may be another avenue.
Reply to
hamilton

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