Service Providers

Congress Hoping to Put an End to Illegal Robocalls

May 6, 2019

If there is one thing that everyone can agree on, it’s that we need to put an end to illegal robocalls. Americans received 47.8 billion robocalls last year alone according to the Federal Communications Commission, and nearly 50% of those calls were from scammers. Not only that, but the reported number of complaints about illegal robocalls has been increasing – from 172,000 complaints in 2015 to 232,000 complaints in 2018.

However, that’s not to say that all robocalls are a problem. There are legitimate uses such as severe weather and school closing alerts, and notifications from your bank or your doctor’s office. However, the barrage of illegal robocalls that we get – coming from scammers hiding behind a false phone number – have made it so people can no longer trust any call they receive from an unknown number.

This onslaught of robocalls has become something Americans deal with on an everyday basis, and Congress wants to put a stop to it. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have come together to reintroduce bipartisan legislation called the TRACED Act, or the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement Defense Act. The hope that this bill would improve enforcement policies as well as coordination between agencies that are policing robocalls.

The TRACED Act would also require all service providers to use a STIR/SHAKEN solution (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited/Secure Handling of Asserted Information using toKENs), which validates the origin of the call and allows for faster tracing of illegal calls. STIR/SHAKEN provides a means of verifying calls and eliminating spoofing, but it only applies to SIP-initiated calls and must be supported by the carriers at both ends of a call. Thus, STIR/SHAKEN alone isn’t the complete solution — but it’s a great start.

REDCOM’s Personalized Call Screening (PCS) is a flexible, and highly-customizable solution for screening incoming calls. This PCS solution utilizes STIR/SHAKEN for call authentication and integrates with TNS Call Guardian to provide real-time analytics to identify robocalls and spoofing. So, with this legislation in the works, REDCOM PCS will allow service providers to meet these requirements and help make it safe for their subscribers to answer their phones again.