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What You Need to Know About STIR/SHAKEN

by Kim Jaso

For many Americans, it’s not uncommon to receive a few—or more—phone calls a day from numbers you don’t recognize. More often than not, the calls turn out to be spam, whether it be unwanted contact from companies you never engaged with or scams designed to trick you and steal your money or sensitive information. Robocallers have upped their game in recent years, using strategies like number spoofing to make it look like an unknown number might actually be someone you know by replicating the area code to match yours or disguising the caller ID to look like that of a company you know and trust. It’s no longer just a nuisance for consumers; spam calls damage lives and the reputations of companies, and cost businesses who are trying to ethically engage with customers valuable money and resources when their calls are blocked or ignored.

Fortunately, the FCC is cracking down on illegal spam calls with new regulations slated to go into effect this summer that will authenticate the ID of callers in order to prevent spam and ensure calls are legitimate. You may have heard about upcoming changes to call authentication known by the acronym STIR/SHAKEN — otherwise known as Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN).

In this blog post, we’ll break down exactly what STIR/SHAKEN is and what it aims to accomplish, as well as how these changes will impact the call tracking industry in the coming weeks and months.

What is STIR/SHAKEN?

According to the FCC, the STIR/SHAKEN framework will essentially be the new “industry standard” in terms of how calls carried over Internet Protocol (IP) networks are validated in order to demonstrate that they’re coming from an authentic source. Calls traveling through interconnected phone networks will have their caller ID “signed” as legitimate by originating carriers and validated by other carriers before reaching consumers. STIR/SHAKEN digitally validates the handoff of phone calls passing through the complex web of networks, allowing the phone company of the consumer receiving the call to verify that a call is in fact from the number displayed on Caller ID.

Who does STIR/SHAKEN benefit?

These regulations are a win for consumers and businesses alike. By requiring calls to be validating by carriers, we can begin to cut down on unwanted and harmful engagement from robocallers for consumers, which will hopefully allow people to trust the validity of their incoming calls. For businesses, this will help legitimize your contact with consumers and prospects and ensure your calls are not being blocked or otherwise not reaching your audience.

When will STIR/SHAKEN go into effect?

FCC rules require providers to implement STIR/SHAKEN in the Internet Protocol (IP) portions of their networks by June 30, 2021. CallTrackingMetrics is closely monitoring the process and connecting with our clients on next steps and requirements. Check out our dedicated page for our clients that walks through more in-depth and specific FAQ’s.

Where does STIR/SHAKEN apply?

STIR/SHAKEN currently applies to the United States only.

How can my business comply with STIR/SHAKEN?

Businesses will soon be required to obtain an attestation “trust score” by creating a business profile. The trust score provides the underlying carrier with information to verify that your communications are not spam.

Once assigned a trust score, this will be “signed” by the underlying originating caller’s carrier and sent to service providers or mobile networks like AT&T, T-Mobile (including Sprint) and US Cellular for outbound calling. There will be different ratings, or attestations, of calls: A, B or C. These ratings allow carriers to verify information about the call and give consumers a better idea of the validity of the caller. “A” rated calls are likely to be treated favorably, while “B” and “C” rated calls will be viewed as more suspicious. Over time, the weight given to attestation ratings is expected to increase according to some carriers.

What about text messages?

STIR/SHAKEN is not the only regulatory change occurring in 2021. While STIR/SHAKEN applies to phone calls, there is another measure being implemented that requires business profile registration for text messages. The Application to Person messaging service, also known as A2P 10DLC, refers to a system in the United States that allows businesses to send A2P-type messaging via standard 10-digit long code (10DLC) phone numbers. To build trust with mobile carriers, businesses register their brands and campaigns and benefit from high-volume, high-deliverability messaging over long codes. Similar to STIR/SHAKEN, you will need a business profile in order to obtain trust scores.

Next steps for STIR/SHAKEN

As a CallTrackingMetrics partner, we’re here to guide you through the process and ensure you have all the information you need to comply with STIR/SHAKEN regulations. Explore our landing page for more information and be on the look out for future communications from our team regarding registration.

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