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The Critical Role of Audio Analytics in Robocall Threat Mitigation Programs. Get the Free White PaperSchedule a Demo

How has Phone Number Reputation API changed Traditional Caller ID?

You may have heard of Caller ID … but newer technologies such as Phone Number Reputation APIs can give you additional information to know if you should trust the caller.

In this article, we cover:

What Is Phone Number Reputation And The Related API?

Phone Number Reputation API is a tool that provides a “reputation” of a phone number in real-time. It’s essentially the next level of information above Caller ID, and it works by using data from a wide range of sources to label a call. Labels might include:

  • Nuisance cal
  • Fraud risk
  • Spam risk
  • Potential Spam
  • Scam likely
  • Robo call

These labels are great for a consumer to know whether they should accept or trust a call. But they can also be problematic for companies who have their outbound calls incorrectly labeled.

(Importantly, the labels are not removed once a prior owner releases a phone number. So it’s possible to inherit negative labels, as well as to have them applied for the wrong reasons.)

The reputation of a number is determined using a number of data points:

  • Authentication: The STIR/SHAKEN standards enable users to trust that a caller is who they say they are. If a number is not authenticated, its reputation will be dramatically affected.
  • Traffic analysis: Network traffic data — from the number of calls, to the timing, to the duration — provides data used in analyzing a number’s reputation.
  • Content-based analytics: Some service providers, such as YouMailPS, rely on analytics of billions of data points of audio content associated with unwanted robocalls. This data can provides priceless information on a call as it relates to spam, unlawfulness, and fraud.
  • Databases: Comparing the phone number to a database of known spam and fraud numbers, as well as other information such as the caller's name and address, provides further clues.
  • AI algorithms: Artificial Intelligence can often create a “fingerprint” of a bad actor’s actions, allowing sophisticated robocall mitigation companies to follow those bad actors to different phone numbers and different locations.

Sophisticated algorithms put this information together. CSPs can then use these rankings to decide how to handle the call: apply warnings, block, etc.

How Does That Compare To Traditional Caller ID?

Caller ID simply displays the phone number of an inbound call. This number could be fraudulent, a legitimate robocall (such as an appointment confirmation), a spam robocall, etc. For a time, it was quite easy to spoof (show another number of your choice) Caller IDs, but within the last few years, protocols have emerged that result in many of the Caller IDs being verified. A large volume of calls is still not yet verified, though.

Comparing traditional Caller ID with Phone Number Reputation API is similar to looking at a map versus adding traffic data to a map. A traditional map shows the layout of roads and landmarks, but it does not provide real-time information on traffic conditions, alternate routes, etc. A map with traffic data, on the other hand, provides additional information that makes the map much more trustworthy.

Similarly, Caller ID is a basic tool that shows the phone number of an incoming call, but it does not provide any additional information about the caller. Phone Number Reputation API, on the other hand, aggregates a wealth of additional information to offer a score for that call, making it a much more powerful tool than Caller ID alone.

How To Make Phone Number Reputation API Work For You

For Corporations, particularly large brands …

Big brands should care about Phone Number Reputation API, particularly if a company is making a large number of outbound calls and wants to avoid them being marked as spam or fraud. Additionally, companies which are using an automated calling system, such as a robocall system for appointment confirmations, should track their Phone Number Reputation using the API to ensure that their calls are not blocked or filtered as spam. It’s important for companies to monitor their call reputation data to be sure that their calls are getting through, and their brand is safe from negative flags.

For Communication Service Providers…

Communication Service Providers — the companies that deliver calls — need to mitigate robocalls and fraud, not only so that their clients are happy, but to avoid enforcement action from the FCC in the US. (The FCC has made combatting robocalls and caller ID spoofing a top priority, and has pushed those responsibilities to Communication Service Providers.) Adding reputation management scoring allows CSPs to detect, label, and interdict these calls before they traverse networks or reach consumers.

There are a number of third-party analytics companies — such as YouMailPS — which provide the data points, IT, and analysis to assign a reputation to a call. With the right outsourcing, CSPs get better scoring on a smaller IT budget, with greater accuracy and reduced risks.

In closing, Caller ID was like having map. It gave us an address (phone number). But Phone Number Reputation is like adding traffic data to that map — we overlay sophisticated data analysis to know what we should do next.

Phone Number Reputation API has improved traditional Caller ID by providing more detailed and accurate information about the caller, offering many advantages to both corporations as well as Communication Service Providers.

Corporations should monitor their own numbers in order to protect their brand. See how to use Phone Number Reputation API for corporations here >

Communication Service Providers need the most accurate data, reliably, in real-time, and affordable, in order to properly protect their customers… and themselves. See how to use Phone Number Reputation API for CSPs here >


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