General Question

LostInParadise's avatar

Why don't robocalls ever mention my name?

Asked by LostInParadise (27910points) 1 month ago

Can’t they get names from the same place they get phone numbers, and set up their calling program to insert the person’s name? When I get some message saying that I owe money or that some account I have has been breached, I am not going to pay attention unless they give some indication of knowing who I am.

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11 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

They aren’t “getting” your phone number from some “place”. Most of the robo calls are just gong through the numbers in sequential order.

On more tailored calls, they just get a list of “active” phone numbers (ones where people answer the phone). But to personalize it they would need to teach the computer to pronounce your name properly. Easier to keep it nameless.

elbanditoroso's avatar

My official (real legal name) is long and I never use it. (for the purposes of this example, let’s say it is Mattathias). My legal name shows up on bills, insurance documents, and other stuff, but no one that knows me, that I would want to talk to, ever calls me Mattathias. If you know me, you call me Matt.

So when I get a phone call (and it’s a human on the other end), if the person says “May I speak to Mattathias?” it is a dead giveaway that they’re selling me something and I won’t want to speak to them.

this just happened about 10 minutes ago

LostInParadise's avatar

@zenvelo , Computers have gotten fairly good at pronouncing names. My GPS device does fairly well at street names.

@elbanditoroso, If they just ask for you by name without giving any indication of who they are, then you are right to hang up, but what if they claim to be from the electric company or from Amazon?

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I have a fax machine with a dedicated phone line (a necessity for working with the IRS, many state tax agencies, and some financial and investment companies).

Very often, the fax line will receive a call, answer it, detect nothing incoming, and end the connection. This is because of robo-callers—computers that dial phone numbers according to some pattern, hoping a person will pick up. The robo-callers simply dial; they have no idea where the number may lead.

Zaku's avatar

Maybe they finally got tired of me playing “That’s Not My Name” by The Ting Tings into the phone at them.

@LostInParadise “Computers have gotten fairly good at pronouncing names.”
– Even most humans (who don’t know me or share my name’s background) are not good at pronouncing my name.

JLeslie's avatar

Democrats texting and calling have our names. I’m getting texts and calls for my MIL also, they have her name and half the time it’s in Spanish for her.

LostInParadise's avatar

That is the kind of thing I would expect more of.

kritiper's avatar

They are randomly generated numbers with no names attached.

ScottyMcGeester's avatar

Because it’s possible that they are actually trying to get you to say your name. There are technologies out there like Tacotron 2 that can generate text-to-speech based on your voice. So they would need an audio recording of your voice and they can input that into programs like Tacotron 2 or some other deepfake audio program to generate a voice like yours. With that, they can then try to commit fraud under “your voice”.

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