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Why Stronger Robocall Mitigation Rules Need to Be Proposed
The culmination of nearly a decade’s work (and counting) should count for something. Considering the Federal Communications Commission has been working with the telecom industry since 2014 to mitigate robocalls and phone number spoofing, it’s reasonable to assume most of the sweaty work occurred in the lead-up to the initial caller ID authentication implementation deadline at the end of June 2021. No such luck. Certainly, the efforts of the FCC were needed, are appreciated, and have had impact. However, a hard stop to the malfeasance of illegal robocall activity it was not.
In this article, we cover:
- The regulatory steps the FCC has taken to mitigate unwanted robocalls.
- The effect of STIR/SHAKEN.
- Why stronger robocall mitigation rules are still needed and how to fill those gaps.
There was an 8.5 percent increase in robocalls from May 2022 to June 2022. In counting numbers, that’s a nearly 340 million robocall uptick in just one month. This kind of surge is hardly an outlier. A few months earlier, between February and March, we saw a 16.1 percent increase in robocalls. For all the good the FCC’s efforts have done, it’s hardly the case that the robocall landscape is less volatile. So how did we get here?
Illegal and spoofed robocalls are the FCC’s No. 1 consumer complaint. These include both spoofed numbers and ones that are mistakenly blocked or labeled as possible scams. To combat the problem, the FCC:
- Issues hundreds of millions of dollars in enforcement actions against the bad actors that perpetrate illegal robocalls
- Empowers phone companies to block by default illegal or unwanted calls based on reasonable call analytics
- Allows consumer tools to block calls from any number that doesn't appear on a customer’s contact list or other white list
- Requires phone companies to implement caller ID authentication
- Makes consumer complaint data available to facilitate better call blocking and labeling solutions
One of the most recent regulations the FCC has put out to combat unwanted robocalls is the STIR/SHAKEN.
Since June of 2021, the FCC’s STIR/SHAKEN protocol has incorporated digital certificates and encryption to secure phone calls. The idea is the call recipient can verify the caller’s identity, virtually eliminating number spoofing. The reality is that while STIR/SHAKEN is helpful, it isn’t an end-all-be-all solution to unwanted robocalls.
Consider Amazon imposter calls. In Q2 2022, five A-attesting voice providers and 25 B-attesting voice providers originated Amazon imposter calls received by consumers. Half of the attested volume originated from just three voice providers. So while event-based analytics relies on call data — such as answer seizures and call duration rates — to predict outcomes, they can only be proven post-fact and can lead to false-negatives.
Content-based analytics on the other hand takes into account the actual call content to determine the nature of that call. Call analytics technology that uses algorithms to process both event-based data and content-based data scores every call more accurately, virtually eliminating false-positives.
This accuracy isn’t possible, however, without enhanced robocall mitigation solutions that go far beyond regulations and protocols.
Consumers dread unwanted robocalls, and operators and service providers can’t afford to originate or transit such traffic on their networks. While fines, complaint data, and protocols continue to offer some deterrence, stronger robocall protection rules will continue to be required to keep up with the constantly evolving threat posed by fraudsters and spammers. Robocall mitigation solutions for enterprises and service providers continue to offer the most holistic prevention strategy.
To identify patterns of good and bad behavior, businesses should employ solutions that include AI and machine learning techniques that identify wanted versus unwanted robocalls. Technologies coupled with expert curation and analyst services — such as those offered by YouMail Protective Services — dramatically reduce the incidence of false-positives, especially pertaining to scoring of fraud and unlawfulness.
Indeed, in absence of stronger robocall mitigation rules and solutions, unchecked incidents still lead to communication service providers being held liable for enabling unlawful communications to reach the public. And brands run the risk of fraud and number spoofing weakening their hard-earned reputation.
To learn more about how identity spoofing works against brands and the gaps in STIR/SHAKEN and other regulation, download our free white paper Protecting Communications from Identity Spoofing now.
If you’re ready to see how YouMail Protective Services can protect your communication networks and brand reputation, schedule a demo today.