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STIR/SHAKEN: Protecting Your Business  

In 2020, American consumers received nearly 4 billion robocalls per month. While many of them might be legitimate – schools notifying parents of a closing, banks calling about unauthorized transactions, etc. – too many were scams. It got so bad that many consumers outright refused to answer calls from unfamiliar numbers. While no one can blame them, a lot of legitimate businesses suffered because of it. 

That’s why the STIR/SHAKEN initiative was rolled out in July 2021. While STIR/SHAKEN protocol isn’t a “silver bullet” solution to all SPAM calling, it’s a massive step in the right direction to protecting customers and – ultimately – renewing their trust.  

STIR/SHAKEN: What is it? 

At its core, STIR/SHAKEN is a set of protocols that enforces the FCC’s current rules and regulations by verifying caller identification and providing more ways to categorize, trace, and redirect unwanted calls.   

STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited) is the mechanism that allows voice providers to give a call their “seal of approval” or attestation. There are three types of attestation: 

  • Full Attestation (A): Everything’s Good to Go. The provider knows who is making the call and knows they are authorized to use this telephone number. 
  • Partial Attestation (B): I’ve Got a Few Questions. The provider knows who is making the call but doesn’t know if the caller’s allowed to use this telephone number.  
  • Gateway Attestation (C): Put Through at Your Discretion. The provider knows where in the world the call is coming from but doesn’t know exactly who is calling. This is a common attestation level for international calls.  

If both the originating and terminating providers attest that the call is legitimate and secure (it has the right name, number, etc.), the call is completed as normal. This is a common occurrence for calls with attestation A and even attestation B. If they can’t guarantee the legitimacy of the call, the call might be sent through a few additional authentication questions or just not connect at all. This will happen to unattested calls and can sometimes happen to attestation C calls.  

SHAKEN (Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) gives guidance on how STIR should be deployed on a VoIP network. In short, STIR is the “what” and SHAKEN is the “how.” 

Looking to learn more about STIR/SHAKEN? Check out the FCC’s resource here. 

STIR/SHAKEN: Why is it important? 

Now that we’ve had a quick refresher on what STIR/SHAKEN is, it’s important to discuss why STIR/SHAKEN is important. While there are many reasons we could give, here are two of the most important: 

1. STIR/SHAKEN Protects Your Customers from Fraudulent Calls 

One of the common misconceptions about STIR/SHAKEN attestation is that it will put an end to all SPAM and robocalling woes forever. This is simply not true. STIR/SHAKEN does not stop robocalling entirely. STIR/SHAKEN does help enforce the current FCC rules about robocalling. 

Don’t think of STIR/SHAKEN as a brick wall. Think of STIR/SHAKEN as a bouncer. It doesn’t directly stop robocalls from being made – especially robocalls that are perfectly legal – but it makes it faster (and easier) for the FCC to trace who made the call and to fine them accordingly. And it’s working. Since STIR/SHAKEN’s deployment, the FCC has issued cease and desist letters to over 25 different providers, all of whom are taking steps to stop transmitting fraudulent traffic. 

2. STIR/SHAKEN Builds Trust Between Your Brand and Your Customers 

According to a recent study by Salesforce, consumers’ trust in businesses is growing. Over 52% of consumers say they trust companies — up from 48% in 2020. STIR/SHAKEN allows you to build on that burgeoning trust. When your calls have a “stamp of approval” your customers won’t see just a random, unknown number. They’ll see your company’s name, number, and a small checkbox beside it indicating this is a legitimate call. On some smartphones, your brand will be displayed as well!  

Knowing who is calling before they pick up their phone will not only encourage customers to pick up the phone more often, but also boost their opinion of you. After all, you went through the proper steps to make sure it’ll be twice as difficult for spammers to spoof your number.  

Fun Fact: Some experts are predicting that STIR/SHAKEN might be able to include why you’re calling in the initial presentation as well. 

3. STIR/SHAKEN Prevents You from Being Disconnected 

Did you know that if a voice provider isn’t properly registered, they run the risk of not being able to make or receive phone calls at all? That’s right. Thanks to the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, voice providers are required to block any “unattested” voice traffic that comes onto their network. 

So any and all providers who are not registered in the Robocall Mitigation Database (RMD) by June 30, 2022, won’t be able to complete their calls because their traffic is “unattested” and therefore unsecured. Thankfully, thousands of providers are already properly registered, meaning their customers can rest easy knowing their calls have the proper seals of approval. 

Fun Fact: You can check to see if your provider is registered in the RMD! Just follow this link, type in your provider’s name and hit enter. If you see “Complete STIR/SHAKEN Implementation” next to their name, you’re good to go!  

Need more details about STIR/SHAKEN? P2P is here to help! 

With well over a century of experience in the telecommunications industry, P2P can help your business benefit from STIR/SHAKEN protocols. Many providers already have convenient, online solutions that let you filter spam calls, acquire the right attestation levels, and so much more. Reach out today for more information! 

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