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What STIR/SHAKEN and New Cold Calling Regulations Mean for You

Gavin Finch
Written by Gavin Finch 

Believe it or not, cold calling is about a lot more than skillful sales techniques, smooth scripts, and convincing people not to hang up on you. In fact, the hang-ups, unanswered calls, and ineffective campaigns may not have anything to do with your sales skills at all.

The world of business calling is changing drastically. Because of the rampant abuse that scammers and spam callers have subjected consumers to for years, the federal government is taking action and changing how businesses are allowed to work the phones. With new regulations and anti-spam laws taking effect, the distinction between legitimate callers and spam callers is shrinking, and many businesses are feeling the effects.

However, cold calling is essential to real estate wholesaling and investing, so it’s important that you’re aware of the current state of the voice network, what’s recently changed, what these new changes mean for you, and why they give you a unique opportunity to grow your business.

The current state of the US voice network

There are more than 60 billion spam-based robocalls per year in the US. And in 2021, more than 59 million Americans lost money to scammers, costing the average victim more than $500.

To put it plainly, scammers are destroying confidence in the voice network. Most people don’t want to pick up their phones anymore, and for good reason. When someone receives a call from an unknown number, it’s almost always the Attorney General, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or an urgent warning about an extended car warranty.

Another critical problem in today’s voice network is caller ID spoofing, which is when bad actors make calls with numbers that they don’t own. Sometimes they do this to encourage consumers to answer a robocall, and sometimes they do this to convince consumers that they are from a legitimate business or agency such as Amazon or the IRS. This is a common scam tactic, and unfortunately, it’s very effective.

However, it’s not only hurting consumers. With scammers running rampant, network providers are being required to fix the issues, and they’re addressing them head-on. Now, any call or calling operation that remotely resembles spam is being labeled as such, and many legitimate businesses are being blocked.

How is the government combating spoofing and scam calls?

On June 30, 2022, new regulations went into effect to combat spoofing. These new regulations are known as STIR/SHAKEN, and they require carriers to assign levels of trust to the numbers in their networks.

There are three levels of trust, also known as attestation:

A-level – Full Attestation
B-level – Partial Attestation
C-level – Gateway Attestation

A-Level Attestation is designed to end spoofing. It’s a way for originating carriers to say, “We know without a doubt that the person making the call is the owner of this number and they are authorized to use it.”

B-Level Attestation means that the originating carrier can verify who has made the call, but they can’t verify that the caller owns the number or is authorized to use it. While numbers with B-Level Attestation aren’t far behind A-Level, using them isn’t ideal.

Finally, C-Level Attestation means that the carrier can verify the call crossed their network, but they won’t vouch for the caller or their ownership of the number. You should avoid C-Level Attestation at all costs. In fact, by the middle of 2023 calls from numbers with C-Level Attestation probably won’t go through at all.

What do new regulations mean for your business?

As the world of business calling continues to change, it’s important to set yourself up for success. We recommend that you always seek A-Level Attestation when possible. However, you can only do this if you buy your numbers directly from the originating carrier you are using to make calls. This is why you should only use trustworthy dialers. Otherwise, the carrier can’t verify where a number came from and whether or not you own it, which will limit you to B-Level Attestation.

A recent blog from Trans Nexus reported that calls from numbers with B or C-Level Attestation were five times more likely to be robocalls. So when possible, only call from numbers with A-Level Attestation and only use dialers with legitimate, trustworthy originating carriers.

Of course, it’s important to know that having A-Level Attestation does not guarantee your calls will go through every time. It’s still only one part of the scoring system that major carriers use and there are other technical factors that play a role in your success as well.

The good news

Thankfully, these are all good changes that will have a positive impact on the voice network, especially in the future. While they will force you to change how you work the phones, these new regulations should restore consumers’ faith in unknown numbers as spammers are run out of business or blocked completely.

There’s also the issue of competition. To put it frankly, many of your competitors won’t adjust to new regulations the right way. As their calling operations stagnate, your opportunities will grow, provided you adapt.

As with any change, there are two ways to look at STIR/SHAKEN and new calling regulations. You can treat them as something you have to comply with or you can look at them as an opportunity. None of us can ignore these changes, so having a positive mindset and learning how to start calls the right way are the best options if you want to grow your business.

Of course, there’s a lot more to the new world of calling than STIR/SHAKEN and calling behavior. The technical side of dialing is rather complex, which makes finding a trusted dialing solution even more important.

BatchService partner Dean Hansen is an SIP40 Data Analyst and he partners with businesses to help them navigate regulations. Feel free to email him if you have any questions about protecting your business and configuring your operation for success!

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