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Pulling the Plug on Robocalls with STIR/SHAKEN: What You Need to Know

This article was updated on July 1, 2021

STIR/SHAKEN is a new regulation that combats spoofed robocalls in North America. Find out how you can ensure compliance and build trust for your outbound calls.

Illustration of a mobile device being protected from a robocaller

No, I do not want information on extending my vehicle’s warranty. Do you get that call every day, too? If not, there are probably others you’re accustomed to hanging up on or not answering at all. Robots claiming to be law enforcement, Apple support, or Visa/Mastercard are commonplace annoyances on American cell phones. According to YouMail, “18.0 billion robocalls were placed nationwide so far in 2021, equaling roughly 54.9 calls per person affected.” 

If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t answer your phone at all anymore. And this is a problem for legitimate businesses trying to communicate real information to their customers. But there’s good news: To cut through the noise, the FCC is introducing new regulations, known as STIR/SHAKEN, to combat spoofed robocalls in North America by mandating authentication of Caller IDs by 30 June 2021.   

STIR/SHAKEN is not a question of your martini preferences, but rather a framework of interconnected standards. STIR/SHAKEN are acronyms for the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) standards. This means that calls traveling through interconnected phone networks would have their caller ID "signed" by originating carriers with an appropriate trust rating and validated by other carriers before reaching consumers. So whether end consumers prefer their cocktails shaken or stirred, happy hour won’t be interrupted by annoying spam phone calls.

What Does This Mean For You?

If you are a Vonage Voice API or SIP Trunking customer who engages in outbound calling to North America, we want to help you achieve the highest possible level of trust to ensure your customers pick up your call safely in the knowledge it’s you they’re talking to. If no action is taken, your calls would be assigned the minimum level of trust which may result in your calls being marked as SPAM, or even blocked by terminating carriers within North America. 

In an attempt to stop unwanted “robo-calling,” North American carriers, including Vonage, will use attestation levels to sign calls with a level of trust to indicate our confidence that the call is from a legitimate entity.  We will assign outgoing calls with trust levels A, B, or C, depending on the information we hold on our customers and the numbers in use:

  • Vonage plans to provide an ‘A rating’ where we have both verified the identity of our customers in accordance with the STIR/SHAKEN requirements and also know our customer ‘owns’ the numbers they’re using   

  • If Vonage has verified our customers’ identity, but the customer is not using an owned number, the call is expected to receive a ‘B rating’ as we’re unable to prove they are entitled to use the caller identity in use 

  • And if no identity validation is held by Vonage, the call would be signed with a ‘C’ rating to indicate it’s a valid call from Vonage, but we’re unsure of the identity of the caller

Vonage Business Communications (VBC) customers are already verified and attested. If you are a VBC customer, no additional action is required on your part.

Take Action Now

If you are a Vonage Voice API or SIP Trunking customer and you’d like to apply for enhanced STIR/SHAKEN trust for your outbound calls to North America, we request that you complete your application for enhanced trust.

Please note that Vonage Business Communications (VBC) customer accounts are already verified and attested. If you are a VBC customer, no additional action is required on your part.

Vonage Staff

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