For most of the telephone’s history, phone calls were a chance to have real conversations with other human beings. Now, the most common type of call received is uninvited spam. In 2020, Americans received nearly 46 billion robocalls. That’s over 2,000 calls per second! The goal of spam callers is to make money, and unfortunately, the business makes $10 billion off Americans every year.
The problems for the American customer are obvious. Less frequently discussed are the effects of spam calls on reputable businesses. The algorithms phone carriers established to protect users from spam calls have led thousands of legitimate business calls to be falsely flagged. Many of these algorithms operate on incorrect assumptions, such as the belief that a high volume of calls is an automatic indicator of spam or calls from an unknown number are unlikely to be taken.
Since phone carriers have failed to effectively curb the tide of spam callers, the government has gotten involved. In March 2020, the TRACED Act went into law. This law set up new requirements for voice providers to mitigate robocalls. In June 2021, STIR/SHAKEN standards are expecting all service providers to implement a new method of caller ID authentication. Now whenever a business places an outbound call, its phone number is sent into a system for authentication. An A rated authentication means both caller and number are verified. A B rating means the caller is verified but their number is not. A C rating ascribes no authentication to the call origin. Once a rating has been attached to a call, it can go to its intended recipient with either a verified or “spam likely” description attached.
The benefits are immense. Spoofed numbers are now instantly traceable, legitimate businesses have nothing to fear, and consumers know which calls to trust.