Time magazine Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer recently got a phone call from a young woman offering him a deal on health insurance, but her voice sounded a little too perfect.
When Scherer asked the female voice if she was a human or a robot, she replied with a perfectly charming laugh and said she was real (audio below).
However, each time she was asked to say, "I'm not a robot," she refused, notes Time.
She cheerfully claimed there was a bad connection when Scherer asked her multiple times what day of the week it was yesterday.
More Time reporters called the female voice and got a pitch perfect repetition of the same answers and her name, "Samantha West." The female robot was trying to find out if each reporter was on Medicare and then transferred the call to a live salesperson (which may be worse than a robot).
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There were also reports of a 'female voice" doing sales calls on 800Notes.com:
Woman on other end falsely claimed we requested health insurance quote, then had the nerve to request I answer five minutes worth of questions...Really? Telemarketer or scam.
They say she is a robot. ask her about it.they say, that if you ask her about' 'what's in the tomato soup'' she will say she doesn't understands the question. it is a scam. don't fall for it.
Received 2 calls today from this number and 1 last week. Both times, a friendly sounded woman on the other end claimed I requested health insurance information. She doggedly refused to deviate from her script. Twice I hung up on her after trying to engage her in conversation. The 2nd call today, she hung up on me. After she asked how I was doing, I said, "Not well." ;-)
One Time reporter spoke to a real salesperson, who said the company was PremierHealthAgency.com.
When the reporter called the company, Premier Health Plans Inc., directly he was curtly told, “We don’t use robot calls, sir.”
The reporter called again and spoke to another human who identified himself as "Bruce Martin."
“First of all, we use TV, we use radio, we use Internet,” claimed Martin, who wanted info about his company included in the Time article. “If you are going to publish this in the magazine, I’d like to get something out of it."
On Dec. 11, the website PremierHealthAgency.com was taken offline and now redirects to MyPremierHealthPlans.com, which has no content.