April 19, 2023

Industry Leaders Unite to Consolidate Enterprise Call Vetting

Industry Leaders Unite to Consolidate Enterprise Call Vetting

STIR/SHAKEN’s attestation process has helped limit robocalls by affecting how calls appear on consumer caller IDs. Call recipients can use this data, including “spam” labels, to determine whether they will answer calls. However, this process has some limitations that have adversely affected the industry. The FCC has addressed some of them, but problems still plague the process.

Now industry leaders have united to improve enterprise call vetting, creating a consolidated framework in North America that strengthens and simplifies the current system. First Orion, Hiya, TNS, and Neustar are working together to standardize call authentication and vetting standard for the industry. This partnership promises to improve conditions for many telecom companies and consumers and lead to a more accurate validation method.

Industry Partnership Unifies Enterprise Call Vetting

These four industry leaders have joined together to fight phone scammers and to ensure consumers can trust the calls they receive. Until this effort, individual corporations had their own procedures, leading to a fragmented and less effective authentication process. 

Vetting and Registration

This enterprise call vetting effort includes two main parts: Vetting and Registration and Authentication. First Orion, Hiya, Neustrar, and TNS have established group best practices to determine if enterprises are legitimate and authorized for the numbers they use. They have created a fast and accurate way to both authenticate and register telephone numbers. 

Authentication

Their efforts have made it easy for various enterprises and contact centers to be part of the authentication process. Out-of-Band SHAKEN is key to their endeavor and completely automates the digital validation of calls. This process also facilitates branded calling, further authenticating calls using rich call data. 

STIR/SHAKEN alone has not fixed the problem. These new enterprise call vetting measures make it more difficult for scammers to continue their operations.

Importance of Call Vetting

Determining the origins of calls is essential to industry success and a big part of STIR/SHAKEN compliance. An advanced vetting process is essential to building trusted communication between carriers, networks, and consumers. Call vetting includes the following steps: 

  • Determining a legitimate call purpose: Intent labels include “telemarketing,” “charity,” “political,” “survey,” etc. They provide another helpful level of information for call recipients.
  • Confirming number ownership: This process determines the caller’s right to use the phone number appearing on a consumer’s ID. It counters the illegal practice of call spoofing.
  • Connect caller data to the phone number: This step gives even more information to the call recipient, allowing them to decide whether to answer the call.

This information will then be registered, monitored, and updated as needed – offering ongoing protection to your business and your customers. 

Importance of Call Authentication

Call authentication is the process of identifying the legitimacy of a caller’s identity. This practice allows the service provider to determine an attestation rating for the call. These ratings give terminating service providers insight into the validity of a call so they can then determine if they should connect it. 

Attestation ratings:

  • A status (Full Attestation) – The service provider has confirmed the call is coming from the correct origin.
  • B status (Partial Attestation) – The service provider has identified where the call is coming from but not if the caller is authorized to use the phone number.
  • C status (Gateway Attestation) – The service provider identified the call’s origin but not its source, making it untrustworthy.

Only A-Attestation ratings will protect your company’s caller ID reputation and raise your conversion rate. Anything less puts you at risk for blocked calls, a low answer rate, and negative call labels – creating a serious competitive disadvantage. 

Why Call Vetting Is Paramount

Bad actors go to great lengths to defraud consumers in the telecom industry. It is essential for service providers to verify a caller’s identity and their ownership of the phone number originating a call. The originating service provider attaches an attestation rating to a SIP header when a call is placed. In turn, terminating service providers analyze this attestation rating to determine the validity of the call. This process is designed to stop call spoofing attempts for legitimate phone numbers.

Robocall Mitigation Database

In addition, terminating service providers are required to particpate in traceback requests when requested. Service providers can be held liable for the illegal actions of their partners and customers. Additionally, service providers that fail to abide by proper voice compliance can be removed from the Robocall Mitigation Database (RMD). Practicing proper oversight and compliance are key to maintaining integrity in this industry.

The Need for Unified Call Vetting

Consolidated enterprise call vetting can only improve the current situation in the telecom industry. It will offer a standard framework to help make call authentication more consistent and accurate. Currently, different service providers use different methods to vet and authenticate calls, leading to confusion and inconsistent call labeling. Sometimes, calls originating with an A-Attestation terminate with a C, a completely unacceptable outcome. 

The FCC will continue to tweak STIR/SHAKEN to correct the existing authentication problems, but unity among industry leaders is also a necessary component. Collaborative efforts among industry leaders may well produce stronger results.