For those of you who don’t know, I’ve set up an IP PBX at our house. This digital phone system makes our phone bill low (we pay around $100 a year for unlimited incoming calls, with enough money for outbound calls at low per-minute rates) and adds some nice features. Unlike a typical analogue phone system, we can make up to four simultaneous calls at once, answer calls to our landline when out of the house, make clear calls between rooms and make announcements that play through all phones at once (sort of like a PA system).
But… who’s Lenny, and how does he fit into all of this?
According to the maintainer of a popular version of Lenny, “Lenny” is “A hilarious set of recorded messages designed to waste telemarketers’ time.” These recordings “…are designed to fool telemarketers into thinking they’ve called a real person”; if you didn’t know any better, you’d think you’re talking to an old man. He talks about his eldest daughter Rachel, his third eldest Larissa, the “world finances”… and when he’s run out of things to say, he “puts down the phone” to look after his ducks, after which he asks if you’re the same person who called him last week. Most versions of Lenny’s software use speech detection algorithms to play the recordings at the right time; when you aren’t speaking. If you don’t respond, it’ll start playing a different set of recordings: “Hello?” “Are you there?”
Different telemarketers will, of course, react to the recordings differently: a few know about Lenny and hang up immediately, some talk to him for almost twenty two minutes.
But some of the best recordings are Lenny talking to “Microsoft scammers.” These scammers call phone numbers, stating that your computer has a virus. They ask you to grant them access to your machine, so they can infect it themselves, or charge you money to “fix” problems you didn’t even have!
I much rather have these people talk to a recording instead of scamming someone… enjoy!