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Staying on Auto Attendant with special keys


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In the past i noticed that robots would call on to auto attendants and stay there indefinitely or until the system drops the call. To circumvent that i started designing all the PBX's with a hang up time-out.


This has worked well for a long time but i started noticing that the robots are able to stay on the auto-attendant for an hour before the system drops them. So i started doing my own little tests on how to bypass the hang-up time out.


If you consistently press * or # the auto-attendant will keep your call connected without dropping you. Now i know that you can technically force them to drop by creating a F input for the * press but there is no similar option to the #.





I can start implementing the F input in all auto-attendants but this might not work for attendants that are already using every single input option, and i would need two if to implement the #.



I'm wondering if there's any setting or configuration that i can apply to the auto-attendant in order to beat these robots. It's not practical to blacklist as everyday it will be a new number. This is mostly present on auto-attendants that have a toll free number attached to them.


Would it be possible to create some unconditional hang-up timeouts or maximum call duration on an auto-attendant?


Thank you for your time.


(Running version 5.2.5a)



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Hmm. So people deliberately keep the call up, just to tease you?! What you could do is to redirect the call into an IVR node e.g. when F is detected, where you can "kill" the all easily after a timeout. If you send the call to a mailbox, it will also eventually turn off the call, because the mailbox recording duration is usually max two minutes.

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Yeah the robots specifically target toll free numbers and sometimes they are attached to an auto-attendant as part of the call flow.


I was able to modify the IVR so that the * isn't treat as a special key and passed it off into an extension with a disabled mailbox. But the main issue is that the same cannot be done for the # symbol and will actually just force the auto-attendant to keep replaying it's message. Also i wasn't able to replicate the redirection with my cell phone (tested with iPhone 5s) but it worked on a snom phone.


So even if i get the * option to redirect with the fax tone detection i won't be able to do the same for # and i'm back to the same problem 1-2 months once the robots change up their strategy.


I am however assuming how the robots stay active within the auto-attendants but so far using * and # was the only way that i found on how to beat the redirection and hangup options available to me.


I know even if an uncondtional time-out is introduced into the auto-attendant it will not ultimately resolve the issue but it will minimize damage and make it a less lucrative avenue. When i introduced the hang-up timeouts it worked really well for a year and actually cut down on a lot of the spam calls.


If you have any other suggestions i would be more than happy to read them.


Thank you for your time.

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Well we could work on allowing # also as non-special key. But the problem might go a lot deeper. If they just dial in, connect, hang up and repeat it (from a different DID) it will be really hard to turn them down. Is this what SPIT was all about? Ultimately it could become really hard to keep a toll-free number open, not only with our system but everywhere.

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I agree that it's hard to combat SPIT, especially with the design of toll free numbers. I won't be able to eliminate it but i can hope to try and minimize it. When i introduced the hangup time-out on the auto attendants it had a really positive effect for about a year up until now that they found a way to bypass the hang-up timeout.


I think they use a rotating list of numbers and based on whatever metrics they gather they might single out numbers for repeat calling.


Even if they keep calling back once every couple of days/months the time-out or uncondtional hang-up press will minimize damage to a couple of cents a month instead of 20-30$. It also clears up lines faster, if a call stays on the attendant for the maximum call duration of one hour then that line is inaccessible for that hour.


Ultimately what i would like is an unconditional hang-up on an auto-attendant, button presses or not. Once the IVR message has played, timer runs for x amount of time and if no valid inputs have been used terminate the call.

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