I don't have a real problem with telemarketers. My main complaint is that
they invariably call you at dinner time. I found, and downloaded the following FREE
SOFTWARE a couple months ago and had no occasion to use it for awhile. The other day, I
got the first nibble. A telemarketer interrupted supper. Imagine my glee as I put Geoff's
software to work and turned the tables on these guys. When it was all said and done, I had
all THEIR information and they had not even gotten to give me their spiel. Now, the law
says that they can't contact me again for ten years or I can sue for damages. Geoff has a
great program here. It is a short download, easy to set up and use and, if you have ever
been frustrated by the telemarketers, you will be delighted at the sense of empowerment
Geoff gives you with his free program. alabamalawyers.com highly recommends....
Enigma: Anti-Telemarketing Software
Visit the Enigma
Copyright (C) 1998 Geoffrey Kloess
Last updated: January, 1999 (Troubleshooting hints)
- About Enigma
- How do I use it?
- About the questions
- Uninstalling Enigma
- Where can I go for
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. This document contains my interpretation of the
law which may or may not be accurate. Furthermore, while I have done my best to ensure
that this software is of the highest quality, I can not accept responsibility for any
losses you may suffer through its use.
Distribution This software is freeware. You may copy and distribute the Enigma
Installation program (EnATSxx.exe) as long as it is not altered.
Telemarketers are bottom-feeders and everybody knows it. When they're not trying to
con your grandmother out of her life-savings and interrupting your dinner for that 'once
in a lifetime opportunity' they're busy harassing your neighbors and their families. And
Lord help you if you actually buy something from these charlatans, you'll find your name
on a 'Sucker List' and then the phone calls will never end.
While you'll never be able to stop all telemarketers from disturbing you, it is
possible to ensure that telemarketers who do call you will never call again. Federal
regulations require that telemarketers keep and maintain a Do Not Call List. This is a
list of phone numbers that telemarketers may not call again for ten years. The next time a
telemarketer calls make sure to tell them to put your phone number on that list.
Those of you who are more aggressive may wish to do more than just get your name on a
list, maybe you want to take up the telemarketer's time and make them squirm a bit. Enigma
is here to help you. By reading through Enigma's questions you get to take up their time,
get your name on their list, and make them pay for a stamp.
If they really get under your skin, you may be able to file a lawsuit against
telemarketers who violate one of the regulations enacted under the Telephone Consumer
Protection Act. Although lawsuits are beyond the scope of this document, Enigma will
assist you in keeping track of all of your telemarketing calls and helping you ask
questions that determine whether they are in compliance with federal law.
Enigma will help you ask telemarketers the right questions. It will also help you keep
track of the answers to those questions.
Why would I want to do that?
- What is it?
For several reasons:
How do I use it?
- When telemarketers call you they use a 'script.' This software provides you with your
own script to use back on them. In my experience, when a telemarketer starts getting asked
the right questions, they start getting nervous. This can be very amusing.
- If telemarketers violate certain federal regulations while speaking to you, you may be
able to sue them for $500. For more information see 'Where can I go for further
- Most importantly, if you ask to be put on a company's Do Not Call List they may not call
you again for 10 years.
Enigma is split into two sections: Entering New Logs and Viewing Old Logs. When the
program first starts it opens the Entering New Log screen which allows you to immediately
start making a telemarketer squirm. The Viewing Old Logs screen allows you to browse
About the Questions
- Entering a new log
When Enigma first starts you'll see the Entering New Logs screen. You may also get to
this screen by clicking on Logs|Create New Log from the main menu. You will use
this screen to question and log the responses of telemarketers who call you. When a
telemarketer calls start the program and wait until the telemarketer finishes the first
part of their pitch. Then begin asking them the questions on the left hand side of the
window and recording their answers in the spaces provided. Once you have asked them all of
the questions fill in the Notes box with any comments you may have and click on the 'Save
Log' button. You will likely discover that after asking a few questions the telemarketer
will ask if she can transfer you to her supervisor. The 'Supervisors Name' box is for this
all-too-frequent occurance. Note that you shouldn't ask to be transferred to a supervisor,
that would let the telemarketer off of the hook too easily.
For your reference, the 'The Law' buttons will bring up sections of the law in
the 'Federal Regulations' box that are relevant to the question the button is next
to. For fun you can start quoting regulations to the telemarketer if he starts to play (or
actually is) stupid. All of the quotes are taken from Title 47 of the Code of Federal
Regulations, part 64 subpart L (also known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act).
- So I have to leave my computer on all the time?
Of course not. In the directory where you installed Enigma is a file named Script.doc
that you can print out to create your own paper logs. Log the calls on these and then
transfer them to your computer for electronic storage when it's more convenient. Remember
to edit the time and date fields after you save the log to reflect when you actually took
the call. (Unfortunately this file is only available in Microsoft Word format, the file
will not open properly in WordPad)
- Viewing old logs
The Viewing Old Records screen may be accessed by selecting Logs|View Old Logs
from the main menu or by the 'file cabinet' button on the button bar. This screen shows
you previous phone calls that you have logged using Enigma. You may browse the records
through the Logs menu or by the four arrow buttons on the button bar. The 'I
received their written policy' button should be used if a telemarketer ever actually
sends you a copy of their 'Do Not Call List' Policy as requested. This button will likely
collect dust most of the time.
By selecting Logs|Edit Log you may edit the current log. To save the edited log,
click on the 'Done Editing Log' button. You may also permanently remove a log by selecting
To search for a log by company name or phone number select Logs|Find. Enter a
partial name or phone number and Enigma will find the first log that matches. You may
continue a search from the current log by selecting Logs|Find again or CTL-F.
Every question is intended to help you take control of the conversation and find out what
you need to know.
- What is the name of the company you are calling for?
Telemarketers will be thrilled to answer the first question. They'll think that you must
be interested in their product, why else would you ask? Make sure you are getting the name
of the company they are calling on behalf of, not the name of the telemarketing company
they work for. It's unlikely that a telemarketer would tell you the name of their
telemarketing firm on the first question, but I wanted to bring this up early as it will
be a recurring theme.
- Is this a telephone solicitation?
Telemarketers will almost always say 'no' to this question the first time. When they
do, press the 'The Law' button and look over at the Federal Regulation Excerpts
box and say "Well, according to Federal Law a solicitation is a telephone call
intended to 'encourage the purchase or rental of, or investment in, property, goods, or
services,' is that what this is?" They'll start to realize that they may not be in
control of this conversation. Sometimes they'll admit that, yes indeed, this is a
telephone solicitation, but just as often they won't. Don't worry about it. Mark down
their answer and move on.
- Could you please tell me your full name?
This is a fantastic question. They may have been suspicious after question number two, but
now there's no doubt: You are not just going to say 'No thanks' and let them move on -
they are going to be spending some quality time with you. Telemarketers seem to get very
privacy-conscious all of the sudden with this question. They'll try to get away with just
giving their first name, don't let them, the law says you get the whole enchilada.
- And your phone number?
Unfortunately telemarketers are not required to give you their home phone number. They
are, however, required to give you a phone number where you may contact the business they
are calling for. Remember, you're not looking for the phone number of the caller's
telemarketing company, you're looking for the phone number of the company on whose behalf
they are calling you.
- And what is your company's mailing address?
This one is usually a stumper. Again, we're looking for the address of the company on
whose behalf they are calling, and few telemarketers seem to know what the company's
address is. Don't be surprised if they transfer you to a supervisor here.
- Does the company you are calling for keep a list of numbers it's been asked not to
They better! It's a violation of federal law if they don't.
- Does the company you are calling for have a written policy concerning the list?
Again, they are required by federal law to have a written policy concerning their Do Not
- Could you mail me a copy of that written policy?
Telemarketers are required to provide you with a written copy of their Do Not Call List
policy upon request. Of course, lying scumbags that they are, you'll never actually
receive one of these, but it's always nice to ask.
- Problem: The program does not fit on my screen.
This is a known limitation of Enigma. The only way to fix this is to change your screen
resolution or font size. Right-click on your Windows desktop somewhere and select
'Properties' from the pop-up menu. Click on the 'Settings' tab. If you wish to use large
fonts than you should set your resolution to at least 1024x768. If you wish to use small
fonts than you you should set your resolution to 800x600. Either way, the actual text on
screen will likely be the same size.
- Problem: I get an error message when trying to start the program.
If the error message says that you do not have MFC42.DLL or MSVCIRT.DLL head over to the Enigma Homepage and download those files.
If it says something else, it's a bug, please email
me and let me know.
From the task bar select Start->Settings->Control Panel, in the Control Panel
double-click on Add/Remove Programs. Select 'Enigma' from the list and click on the
Where can I go for further information?
You may also wish to visit The
Enigma Homepage.This guy shut down his page, apparently, but you can
still get the download
I hope you enjoy using Enigma. Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments
or bug reports.