Why It’s So Important to Register Phone Numbers with Carriers
To avoid getting your number flagged for Spam, Scam Likely, or another individual or entity “spoofing” your number, it’s important to register your CNAM data with each individual carrier.
What is CNAM?
CNAM is your caller ID name. When you purchase numbers for your organization, you should register these numbers to carriers with your CNAM data. This will help authenticate your number and tie it to your business, and for carriers that are using CNAM repositories it means your caller ID information will display on consumer's phones.
However, not all carriers use the same CNAM repositories so the data could be fragmented.
How to Register Phone Numbers with Major Carriers
Major carriers and apps use third party companies for caller ID management. These third parties verify business caller IDs and manage the reputation of each within their own app. For instance, if the caller ID app receives a Scam or Spam Likely report, this data is housed in the app and helps others on the same network by showing this information on the called party’s phone screen.
The following outlines some of the major carriers’ phone number registration methods:
Verizon is one of the few carriers who maintain their own database through the Verizon Call Filter App. Registering your number with Call Filter appears as if you’re reporting your number like it’s already been flagged. This is basically what you’re doing, but even if your number has not been flagged, the process is rather easy – just go to the Verizon Call Filter Feedback page, click the option for business or enterprise phone numbers, and follow the steps.
Registration for T-Mobile’s CallTransparency is a little more stringent. Head to the webpage for CallTransparency. There, you’ll enter all your business phone numbers manually – if you have a CSV file of your numbers, you can upload it. Then, you’ll provide your business details. A representative from CallTransparency will call each number to confirm the number directs a caller to the business you specified in the original upload. Each number you provide should reach:
- A human
- An IVR (interactive voice recognition) application, or
- A voicemail
In addition, the caller must be greeted with the name of your company for confirmation.
Hiya is the reputation management and verification app used by AT&T for business caller identification. Hiya’s registration process is a bit different than the first two approaches. For Hiya, visit their site’s support tab and open a ticket. On the ticket, give Hiya your website address. Your website must clearly identify the phone number used for your business. If your business has multiple phone numbers, your site should clearly list a Directory tab or page that lists each number individually with either the department or employee name highlighted beside it.
Hiya uses a web crawler to discover numbers within text, so your phone numbers cannot be an image.
Are You at Risk of Call Spoofing or Blocked Numbers?
If a consumer doesn’t have a phone number saved in their mobile phone, 9 out of 10 times, that call will be directed to voicemail. Sometimes, the customer will even mark the phone call or text message as Spam or Scam Likely. And in the worst-case scenario, there could be criminals “spoofing” or copying your phone number and posing as your company in order to conduct their own, often less than legal, business.
However, sometimes it is indeed your company calling a customer and your number could still get flagged and blocked. How can you protect your company, your numbers, and your reputation? And what are the usual types of businesses or organizations whose numbers are frequently spoofed or blocked?
Nonprofit Targets for Scammers
Nonprofit organizations have long been a target for scammers. Partly because they acquire critical information on donors as well as the ability to fundraise. Security procedures for nonprofit organizations tend to lag behind for-profit entities making nonprofits an ideal target.
But those aren’t the only targets scammers tend to attack – from small organizations to large corporations, immunity to call spoofing is becoming more and more difficult. For instance, in February 2020, a small, non-profit Boys and Girls Club ranch in North Dakota was the target of scammers, and in May 2019, a group passing themselves off as the popular non-profit for teen employment, All Grown Up, Inc. was also spoofed.
Political Campaign Calls Being Blocked
Call blocking can occur generally in one of two ways.
Customers can flag numbers they deem as nuisance or spam calls. Once enough customers flag a number, its carriers will use the data to update the caller ID display on their customers' devices.
Carriers also monitor call activities. If a number exceeds the "human calling" threshold, it can be assumed that the numbers are using robodialing practices. In these cases, carriers can issue automated flags on numbers deemed to be engaging in this form of outbound dialing.
In a recent example of this, text messages from Trump's campaign efforts were blocked for sending out mass texts to voters.
A report from Neustar indicates voice channels account for 63% of meeting customer service goals. Not having efficient contact rates can waste campaign funds and even tarnish the reputation of your organization if your numbers are showing up as "scam likely" or "spam risk".
Healthcare and Government Organizations Flagged as Spam
Healthcare and government organizations have been hit particularly hard by call spoofers. Consumers see these as reputable organizations and their phone numbers become targets of spammers to try to defraud consumers. These can lead to numbers getting flagged and patients may not receive calls from their doctors or other important entities.
Recently, an organization in Florida contracted a call center to handle their COVID-19 contact tracing efforts. Problems ensued when the call center's phone numbers began showing up as spam.
Unintentional Results of Call Blocking – CNAM Registration Can Help
If your business’ phone number receives flags for Spam or Scam Likely, it can have immediate and extenuating results. But you do have a remedy – CNAM. CNAM registration helps curb the unlawful use of your phone number and identifying information and helps keep your reputation smoke-proof.
Disputing Spam Flags
While the STIR/SHAKEN framework mandates carriers to block robocalls, many businesses are getting blocked as well. Carriers must have a single point of contact to dispute blocked numbers. Having your business CNAM data registered beforehand will significantly help identify your legitimate business numbers if you have a dispute with a carrier.
In the era of STIR/SHAKEN, every business conducting outbound calls should register phone numbers with CNAM repositories.