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Do You Know How Your Calls Are Being Labeled Across the Network?

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Fraud. Scam Likely. Spam.

If you’re a business using the voice channel to connect with your consumers, these labels could be getting in the way of your contact rates. You can attribute this problem to the growing pressure from the FCC on the carriers to implement more aggressive call blocking and labeling mechanisms.

Though these call labeling technologies have been around since the beginning of 2017, they’ve started to kick into high gear within the last few months. As carriers and service providers respond to the pervasive requests from their subscribers to ‘stop robocalls’ and work to put actions in place in response to the FCC declaratory ruling allowing their ability to block calls by default, now is the time to understand what all of this means for the legal enterprise caller.

How Does Call Labeling Work?

Call identification and labeling analytics companies were created in order to provide information to carriers, service providers, and consumers on the suspected nature of an incoming call. The purpose was to identify illegal or suspected scam calls to consumers in advance of them answering in the hopes of reducing phone fraud. These analytics companies, while all taking strides to increase the accuracy of their technologies, do generate false positives which cause legal callers delivering legitimate business calls to be improperly classified as potential scam calls.

When legitimate business’ calls are miscast as ‘bad’ calls, a number of different types of labels, varying in severity, may become associated with the incoming calls. Analytics will assign a ‘risk’ to a phone number which fluctuates based on algorithms that are continuously running, monitoring call traffic, receiving reports or complaints on phone numbers, and applying this technology to assign a visual warning label to a call if it’s determined to be potentially harmful to a consumer.

Calls deemed to be no or low risk won’t be accompanied by any negative or warning call labels. Medium risk calls can sometimes be accompanied with a subjective warning such as ‘possible spam.’ When numbers escalate into the high risk category, you’re likely to see labels such as ‘spam’ or ‘nuisance.’ And when risk peaks out at the highest scoring, this is when ‘scam,’ ‘scam likely,’ and ‘fraud’ labels will become associated with your phone numbers.

Who Sees These Call Labels?

What a user sees on their device is going to be a reflection of what type of device they’re on, who their carrier or service provider is, if they have (either independently, or by default) been opted in to a call labeling service, and/or if they’ve downloaded any 3rd party apps to identify and filter calls. Although caller ID name is pretty standard in the world of landline phones, especially business phones, the ability to push an actual ‘name’ or ‘label’ out via the mobile/wireless channel is not native to the technology.

Currently, not all of your consumers are going to see call ‘warning’ labels and/or caller names displayed with an incoming call, but as carriers take action on this June’s FCC Declaratory Ruling allowing carriers to block calls by default, the landscape of who does and does not see call labels is likely to shift.

Let’s look at some prevalent examples. Each of the top 4 wireless carriers has offered some form of caller identification/call labeling solution prior to the default call blocking ruling. In order to take advantage of those solutions in the past, a consumer would have needed to opt in to those services (typically with some kind of monthly fee associated). What the declaratory ruling is now allowing is for the carriers to just push those services out to their consumers by default (as opposed to a consumer needing to take steps to opt-in). AT&T was the first to announce the release of default call blocking to their subscriber base and we believe the other carriers will be moving in this direction as well.

What Can You Do About It?

The first step in ensuring your phone numbers are correctly labeled across the network is by establishing your ownership and compliant use of the numbers with key stakeholders across the calling ecosystem. This includes carriers, analytics engines and the developers of call blocking and labeling apps; the key stakeholders involved in determining the labels that are ascribed your numbers.

The good news is that Numeracle’s Trusted Entity Certification and Registration process does just that. And through our partnership with Arbeit, you’re able to add these services, powered by Numeracle, directly onto your existing Arbeit services to register your phone numbers across the AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile ecosystems as well as with some of the top call blocking apps, such as Hiya and YouMail.

The carriers decisions on call blocking and labeling are based on data provided by ‘reasonable analytics’ (AKA the carriers’ 3rd-party partner analytics companies). Numeracle serves as the only caller vetting service with a strong “Know Your Customer” certification process vetting entities verifying call compliance prior to registering the entity’s phone numbers with the carriers’ analytics partners. It’s this Trusted Entity Certification process that enables the analytics to agree to remove ‘scam,’ ‘scam likely,’ and ‘fraud’ labels from your registered phone numbers.

As we’ve mentioned other calls labels, such as ‘spam’ and ‘nuisance’ above, we’ll point out that the rest of the journey in removing those lower risk (but still unwanted) labels includes implementing actions and strategies to proactively address the root causes behind your numbers’ labeling. By building an understanding of the evolving complexities of the calling ecosystem and implementing strategies for improved number management (which Numeracle and Arbeit will guide you on) to ensure your call delivery is as successful as possible, you’re able to mitigate the risk of calls being blocked as the result of ‘scam’ or ‘fraud’ classifications, and achieve the de-risking of medium to high risk numbers through the implementation of best practices.

Explore Our Phone Number Reputation Resources

To learn more about Numeracle’s call blocking and labeling solutions to improve your agency’s contact rates, click here.