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March 1st, 2016

Your Phone is Ringing. Answer the Call or Send It to Voicemail?

Traditional Caller ID is suffering from trust issues. Mobile device users these days are “rolling the dice” when deciding whether to answer calls from a phone number they don’t recognize. With no rhyme or reason, it's seemingly just as likely that a call from someone you want to talk to will go unanswered as picking up a call from a telemarketer you wish would just leave you alone. I mean, who hasn’t been fooled into answering a robocall from a telemarketer at some point?

On the flip side of this, legitimate businesses are losing time and money when their relevant phone calls repeatedly go unanswered because their customer doesn't recognize the phone number. But perhaps most troubling is when a call is spoofed to mask the true identity of the caller. (Remember: regardless of how official it may sound, the IRS will never call you.) Beyond just annoying, these practices are illegal, with regulatory agencies working to develop anti-spoofing solutions to address them.

Exacerbating the problem is the growing dependence on mobile communication. According to the CDC, more than 71 percent of adults aged 25-29 have cut the cord and have only wireless telephones to their name. And with 55 percent of children growing up in wireless-only homes, a corded landline phone will be as familiar to them as a typewriter is to many of today’s millennials. This rapid shift in global communications from landline to mobile devices brings a renewed significance to caller identification services, as consumers and enterprises want to know who’s calling and texting them.

Unfortunately, telecom fraudsters have taken advantage of IP innovation to misrepresent their identity with illegal practices including spoofing, swatting, and vishing to trick us into providing personal information that is then used to defraud or steal our identity. In the United States alone, consumers lose $350 million a year to phone scams and file over 33,000 formal complaints with the FCC.

In our white paper, The Evolution of Caller ID for Mobile, IP and OTT: Renewing Truth in Calling with Secure Identity, we discuss how these challenges are being addressed with innovative, next-generation Caller ID solutions for mobile devices. These solutions benefit both the called and calling parties — whether consumer or business — with enhanced and verified Caller ID functionality.

These next-generation Caller ID solutions include:

  • Fraud alerts that enable credit card companies to provide personalized detail vs. an 800-number, to catch the called party’s attention
  • Enterprise calling that provides the caller’s details with a corporate logo, URL, photo, or video
  • Trust indicators that help users decide whether to answer, ignore, or report telephone numbers

While these next-generation services have value for both landlines and wireless phones, the proliferation of smartphones and other mobile display devices creates the opportunity to expand Caller ID beyond today’s telephone number and 15-character name display. Neustar is working with CSPs and standards bodies, including the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Standards (ATIS), to develop and deploy standards and technologies to address these critical issues.

Download the white paper to read more about Neustar’s next-generation Caller ID solution.

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