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July 18th, 2018

Carriers on the Hot Seat to Protect Consumers from Illegal Robocalls

One of the earliest phone scams was reported by the Electric Review in 1888. A well-dressed man knocked on the front door of a home In Chicago and asked the butler if he could use the house phone. The man used the house phone to call the homeowner at his place of business and demand $20,000 in ransom. “Your cook, chambermaid and wife are lying here bound and gagged.”

The homeowner quickly paid the ransom and rushed home to find his wife, cook and chambermaid fine and unaware that the ransom demand and ensuing scam had even taken place.

While the likelihood of a fraudster walking up to your front door to borrow your telephone is unlikely in today’s world, phone scams are on the rise. In fact, estimates by Harris Poll had 24.9 million Americans losing $8.9 billion to phone scams between March 2017 and March 2018.

As our world becomes more connected and consumers rely more heavily on the mobile devices they use every day, there are unintended side effects. Many people will not answer a call from an unknown number, which has contributed to the 75% of consumers who report that they have missed important calls. These include calls from businesses to notify their customers about a delivery, service delay or following up on a support issue.

Research quantifies that 88% of calls from businesses to consumers are not being answered. It seems that Illegal robocalls and caller ID spoofing have created a perfect storm where consumers are missing important calls in order to prevent falling victim to a phone scam or simply not wanting to be bothered by a telemarketer. As a result, businesses are not able to deliver on customer expectations because their calls are not getting through or being answered.

Regulators in the U.S. and Canada want more to be done to protect consumers and businesses and have established timelines for carriers to resolve these issues.

Restoring a trusted call experience in an era of phone scams

In our e-book “Trusted Calls in an Era of Robocalls and Calls Scams”, Neustar provides in-depth guidance into how carriers can help re-establish trust in the call experience.

The universal scourge of robocalls has led to the development of more than 500 mobile apps designed to filter them out. However, adoption continues to linger at around 3% due to the limited and siloed fashion that these apps address wireline, mobile and VoIP separately over different carriers and networks. Carriers are in a unique position to deliver a trusted call environment to all consumers and businesses regardless of the carrier of the caller or the people being called.

One of the main complexities to solving this issue is identifying which robocalls to block, while ensuring that legal calls are connected and not mislabeled as SPAM. It’s important to remember that not all robocalls are illegal. Examples of permissible robocalls include appointment reminders from your doctor, or notifications from schools and political organizations. Eradicating illegal robocalls, therefore, cannot be done with a broad stroke and instead requires multiple considerations to accurately detect, block and reduce unlawful robocalls and caller ID spoofing.

Check out “Trusted Calls in an Era of Robocalls and Call Scams” to learn about the tools and techniques carriers should implement to ensure all calls to wireline, mobile or VoIP devices are protected against unlawful robocalls calls, inadvertent blocking of legal calls and caller ID spoofing.


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