Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Everyone loves Lenny!

Those that have read my blog will know how I feel about junk callers. I managed to make some really good long monologues to tie up callers. But I have to admit that "Lenny" takes the biscuit here and is better than I ever was.

Lenny is an automated system that can be used with asterisk and it just waits for gaps and plays some pre-recorded audio in various sequences. It is pretty impressive.

Now, to catch some of these we had to add a DTMF '5' to the start, but once that was done, we managed to get a person to chat with Lenny for nearly 5 minutes.

That is 5 minutes that some scumbag junk caller was paying someone to be on the phone with no prospect of actually getting any money. The more people that do this, the less the whole despicable business will be worth running.

The only thing is Lenny could be a bit quicker to answer, but I am sure that will improve.

Here's one we caught earlier (mp3).

I may post some more if I get some good ones.

P.S. we got a recruitment company too, LOL (mp3), and the classic Indian call centre call (mp3) and (mp3) and (mp3). And have you been in a car accident (mp3).

What is interesting is the number of "junk calls" that are now from "normal" calling numbers, so as to fool people in to answering. Also surprising how many from POP telecom!


  1. I love playing with ppi and accident claim callers. I can keep them on the phone for quite sometime and have my partner in stitches listening to the rubbish I make up. The best bit is when they slowly realise I've been winding them up and they get so angry and that I've wasted their time. It's funny how few calls we get theses days. Must be on a black list!

  2. Genius.

    Given that he works to a script and doesn't listen to the question, how long before we can get "Lenny" to stand for parliament?

    Oh, wait...

  3. Can you make Lenny available to your VoIP customers, say by forwarding or transferring junk calls to a certain number?

    1. Whether it is still available or not, I am not sure, but someone used to run a Lenny service, to which one could forward any unwanted call to the Lenny SIP URI.

      Unless it has been resolved recently, there was a controversy / dispute over the ownership of the sound recording files / dial plan comprising Lenny, so it would be worth unpicking this / checking there is no substantial risk before offering it as a commercial service, just in case...

    2. Good point, as always.

    3. Ha! Just create your own. I'm sure A&A staff (yourself included) wouldn't mind being recorded. I'm assuming, of course, that you _can_ add your own sound files.

      BTW, been having a week from hell and got to this post being totally peed off and you've just raised my spirits no end. Thank-you.

    4. > I'm assuming, of course, that you _can_ add your own sound files

      Trivially — convert the recordings to ulaw, either give the files the same names as the existing Lenny ones and stick with the Lenny dial plan or else modify the dial plan accordingly, upload them to wherever they are on the server (mine's /var/lib/asterisk/sounds/lenny/) set ownership/permissions and that should be it!

  4. Indeed, genius.

    I feel as if I've met some of Lenny's relatives, in person, in years gone by.

  5. I got bored and had nothing to do on Friday Night ...

  6. Calls from "normal" numbers... Yep, that will be because it has been outlawed making them from untouchable, fake or withheld numbers so you can report them to the ICO etc. Problem is the now look like calls from normal numbers... oh and just killed ACR and the like then!!! I can see the logic behind it but why does it seem like they have thrown us from the frying pan into the fire.

    The ones that get me are the really sneaky ones that are spoofing/presenting local std codes, this has the double "benefit" of making you trust the call as someone "local" to you and thus likely to be calling and secondly if your spamming caller is using 700 odd different STD codes no doubt the will frustrate any attempt to track prolific callers by enforcement authorities, that and no doubt if they have then ability to swap the number on a per call basis then they probably have also have blocks of numbers in each area code they cycle for more "benefit".

  7. When we get a call that can't be pre-screened (blocked/new number), we ask them to speak to "Leonard, our operations manager, as he can help you with this" and then transfer to his internal extension :)
    Cue "Hello, this is Lenny!"