View Full Version : Irritating Fax Autodialers...

7th May 2003, 18:29
Well, since we moved I've been getting easily a dozen calls a day from a fax machine trying to talk to me.

Most of the time it's "unknown number", but all day today it's had a number - in Kansas.

So... anyone who has a fax machine and wants to have some fun... line up.

I've sent them one friendly warning fax. If they don't respond, or if I get any more calls, I'd like to set as many people loose on them as possible.

We'll be polite, clean, and TREMENDOUSLY wasteful of their toner.

Whaddya say?

- Gurm

7th May 2003, 18:32
I say that you take two pieces of black construction paper, and tape them together to get a 8.5x22 sheet. Start to feed it through the fax machine, and once the first end rolls out, you tape the ends together in a loop. This should suck all the ink out of their fax machine.

There are computer programs that do this, too.

7th May 2003, 18:55
Umm, did you hear about RVScom (http://www.rvscom.com/) software?

Legal lite version is 12 $. It turns your computer into fax machine, saves files to disk as images and lets you review them and print those you want.

It also can serve as voice answering machine and stores messages as sound files on your HDD.

Some advertisersuse this method (I don't know which software they use for faxmailing, RVScom is more of a recipient than sender software). Fax-mailing is somewhat popular b2b advertising, as it is very cheap per sent medium.

Basically you save fax as bitmap-tiff, connect 2 modems to machine and let it churn all night long, it sends about 10.000 faxes per day.

Those who do this generally use software solutions on their end.

You basically buy WLW (google for "wer liefert was") or similar CD-ROM or visit online phonebook, collect phonenumbers of companies that have certain number of employees or some other criteria (depends to how large companies you want to market too), export to Excel and start marketing.

There are also high end software/hardware solutions (IIRC Kodak makes one), that collect all incoming faxes, store them as images on the server, automatically OCR text from them and deliver them as e-mail to appropriate employee's desktop.

Most serious companies (anything above papa-mama shop) use something more sophisticated than your basic paper and toner fax.

What kind of faxes were you receiving?

If I were you, I'd computerize my faxing. Since I don't use fax (sent 2 faxes just to test) and I'm behind ISDN line with which my old ISA US Robotics is not compatible, I haven't done this.

But basically just buy modem, RVScom software and Scanner which usually comes with decent OCR software.

Save faxes as .tiffs, import in Recognita and save as .doc.

7th May 2003, 18:58

1) Yeah, we know. Way to kill a joke using truth :P Still, it will keep their phone line busy.

2) Unsolicited faxes like this company's are illegal in almost all states of the US.

7th May 2003, 19:06
Then send cease and dessist letter.

Or write a page full of Italian/Mexican/Russian swear words and threats with shaky/murderous handscript. Also use insured by Mafia (You hit me, we hit you) implications.

If you choose the latter approach, the next step is calling them and asking how their kids are.
:) (joke)

After this step you must either get serious or back off (so I don't recommend it).

Better would be subscribing them to every catalogue, spam, penis enlargement, university diploma and other nasty such features.

7th May 2003, 20:31
I am facing a similar problem at my work where we just moved into. We receive all the related fax at another location so we do not have any fax machine here nor do we intend to.
The problem -> We are still receiving fax at random times for the previous tenants (a travel agency).
We are using an ADSL connection for web acess so is there any fax software that can check/receive/send for fax on a xDSL line?

7th May 2003, 21:41
Temporarily forward your phone to the FCC spam hotline. :D

7th May 2003, 23:00
Belwarrior: There are Unified Messaging Services that give you an external fax (much like e-mail providers give you an e-mail address, but the server is of course at their site, not at yours), and might even connect your fax to your e-mail, sms, blackberry etc. (so you could send someone a fax from any computer that can send e-mail, or you could receive an sms whith the contents of the new fax that just arrived, or you could call them and a machine reads your new fax to you etc. - unified messaging). They would give you a new fax number though, and of course this kind of service isn't free. It's not possible to send fax over ADSL (without some kind of service as described above), but you could just connect a fax machine to your phone lines (or a modem with G3 fax support, if you want to use your PC - it's no problem to have an analog modem and ADSL on the same PC).

All clear? :)


8th May 2003, 01:24
Friends of mine had this recently in London. BT told them that the only real way to get rid of it was to change their number, which was done for free.

As you've just moved, it might be worth it as not too many people should have to re-learn your new number.

8th May 2003, 04:58
Yeah, I'm tempted to do that. :(

- Gurm

8th May 2003, 07:06
While you're at it, pick up a Telezapper. They work great.

8th May 2003, 08:17
A what?


8th May 2003, 09:45
Originally posted by Wombat

1) Yeah, we know. Way to kill a joke using truth :P Still, it will keep their phone line busy.

2) Unsolicited faxes like this company's are illegal in almost all states of the US.

Well, you could fill the hard drive instead with some really large faxes. I use to do this with people's email accounts when they would not leave me alone before spammers got so inventive. They'd have 3 or so large email and dozens of full notices! :D

8th May 2003, 10:08
Well you could if Bill Gates was paying for your phone bill.

A what?

Some sort of product that cancels out the nonwanted calls.

You can achieve same with ISDN, similar features to GSM.

8th May 2003, 10:40
Ah OK :)

Like a IP based firewall for phones ;)


8th May 2003, 10:43
Gurm...a Cease and Desist or a quick call to your Phone Company will clear things up in short order. Fax-abuse laws were first passed at the Federal level in 1989; Specifically, all FAXes must have an address and phone number on the cover sheet or in the header pf the message.

I use SmithMicro's HotFax Message Center 5.05: all anonymous caller IDs are refused be they Faxes or Voice attempts.

8th May 2003, 11:59
The problem is that much of the country is still in an "unknown call" fax zone.

The phone company offered quickly to add "blocked call" refusal. The problem is that all these calls weren't "blocked" but "unknown". LOTS of people are "unknown" to the caller ID system. My mom calls me sometimes and gets an "unknown".

The phone company said they couldn't help me at all. Period. Full stop. They can't selectively block calls, they said. I think they're full of it, myself.

- Gurm

8th May 2003, 14:25
Do the Faxes have origination numbers? (i.e. written on the headers of the FAX?)

If no, the FBI would like you to take some of your time and talk to them.

9th May 2003, 04:42
You're assuming that I've got a fax machine hooked up. :(

- Gurm

P.S. It seems to have stopped since I faxed them a threatening note.

9th May 2003, 11:11
btw, is there a simple, free, non-bloated little software to play with fax a little? I must try this someday :D

9th May 2003, 13:01
Hey Gurm, what's the ph #? being that it's the weekend and a local call for me...i'd have fun wasting some toner...theirs of course :D


9th May 2003, 15:35
I had one on some shareware that came with computer magazine CD long time ago.

Send and received a couple of faxes succesfully.

Google, c-net, tucows...

It's built into Win2k or XP, however I'm on ISDN and analog ISA = no worky on ISDN line.

10th May 2003, 02:32
are you sue Utwig that, even while using second analog modem, you can't send faxes? Usually there is some "fallback" mathod...

For example, I have here HiS (ericcson product, it looks like some sort of slow and relatively cheap dsl connected via serial: 115 kb/s in&out, 70 kb/s when phone is in use; sends all data in digitall form , including voice which is coded the same way as in ISDN, besides data also - almost identical protocol as in ISDN afaik, but it's not dialup; I can use old analog phone (and wires), and of course there are none of the ISDN "GSMish" functions). And while I can't send faxes via HiS terminal, I can connect to the line old modem and it'll work from what I know - only that data transfer while sending fax will be 70 kb/s.

btw Utwig, did you noticed that recently was -1 anniversary of something? we should've been celebrating :p

10th May 2003, 03:27
ISDN uses the same frequency band analog POTS uses (plus a bit more), so it's mutually exclusive. There are ISDN faxes and fax software, though.


10th May 2003, 03:48
HiS also uses practically whole available frequency - it's imposiible to transmit digital data and voice thruogh the line at the same time (voice is coded to digital form, the fax transmission also would be).
otoh it's little different from ISDN, because for example I can disconnect the terminal (causing internet acces to stop) and the whole line falls back to analog mode then...

10th May 2003, 04:10
Yes, looks like some form of ISDN, or something close to that.


10th May 2003, 04:43
when it comes to protocols it uses, yes, it's very similiar afaik, but the whole structure is very much like typical dsl (with one little difference that it doesn't have ethernet port, only serial, like usual external modem).
I've menaged to find some information about it (http://www.ericsson.com/about/publications/review/1998_01b/42.shtml) in English (most are in Polish, it seems that HiS is very specyfic for Poland - Ericsson even moved the production from New Zealand here - although I have terminal from the other side of the globe :p)