Collector- June 2018 - 23
a call management platform which aims to
"help legitimate, verified brands know when
their numbers have been illegally spoofed or
are getting a negative reaction from individuals
(e.g. high number of blocks and complaints),"
according to First Orion. The platform includes
First Orion's Number Reputation Service,
which monitors the "nuisance score" for callers'
phone numbers and provides periodic reports.
First Orion provides services for T-Mobile,
but Rip Harris, director of product management
for Ontario Systems, said he believes other
providers are working on similar technology.
While First Orion's efforts are a step in the right
direction, Harris pointed out that the bigger
problem is that there isn't a centralized solution
like this across all the carriers.
Ultimately, blocking and labeling
technologies like these are only short-term
solutions to this problem because scammers
will attempt to exploit any mitigation tools
tech companies dream up. Plus, illegal
spoofing, a key part of the unlawful robocall
problem, makes it tremendously difficult to
That's why reliable Caller ID authentication,
known as SHAKEN/STIR, is expected to play
a major role in curbing unlawful robocalls.
Currently being tested by carriers, this robust
system would allow all carriers-landline,
wireless and VoIP-to authenticate callers'
identities as being legitimate and accurate.
WHAT CAN ACA MEMBERS DO?
While regulators, carriers and industry
groups work to sort out a solution to this
problem, debt collection industry members
unfortunately have limited options.
At ACA's 2017 Fall Forum and Expo, Michelle
Shuster, partner at Mac Murray & Shuster LLP
and PACE general counsel, told attendees that
one simple step businesses can take to help
their calls go through is to make sure both their
phone number and company name are being
displayed accurately on caller ID.
"It's a good idea to go back to make sure
your numbers are outpulsing a legitimate
number-not all zeros or something else
that's not a 10-digit telephone number-
because the carrier will have the ability to
block those types of numbers," she said.
You'll also want to keep an eye on the
FTC's Do Not Call and robocall complaint
list, published every weekday right here:
https://bit.ly/2GB6ZNh. If you start to
notice your phone number showing up
there, you may want to take a closer look at
your calling patterns.
But beyond that, the best way to make a
difference is to actively monitor your contact
rates and let ACA know if you see significant
drops that you believe are attributed to call
blocking and labeling.
"We need hard data like that," Stevens
said. "Those experiences are critical for
both ACA and PACE so when we meet with
the FCC we can tell them what's actually
happening and back it up with numbers."
In the meantime, Eric Snyder goes to
411.com and whitepages.com once a week to
see if his company is being mislabeled, and it
often is. He sends the site a request to correct
the listing, and then checks back week after
week to repeat the process.
"It doesn't seem like a good use of my
time to play this cat-and-mouse game,"
Snyder said. "I'm a small company; I have
14 employees. We're very busy and we have
limited resources to tackle something like
this. These companies need to come up with
some more concrete criteria before they
hand out these 'scam' labels. We've been in
business since 1948 and we've had the same
phone number since they started assigning
phone numbers in our area, so you'd think their
algorithms would be able to tell that we are a
legitimate business, doing things the right way."
Unfortunately, the technology powering
blocking and labeling software today
doesn't seem to take information like that
Anne Rosso May is editor of Collector
magazine. Maria Wolvin served as vice
president and senior counsel, regulatory
affairs, for ACA International.
For an update on the illegal robocall
problem, register to attend ACA
International's 2018 Convention and
Expo, held July 23-25 in Nashville, where
Josh Stevens, senior associate, and Nick
Whistler, partner, at Mac Murray &
Shuster LLP will be discussing this hotbutton issue. Find more info here: www.
The side effects of
robocall blocking and
labeling tools threaten
debt collectors' ability
to communicate with
consumers to share
The FCC allows telecom
providers to block
calls both upon consumer
request as well as those from
spoofed and unassigned
ACA is asking the FCC
to require providers who
offer call blocking services
to give an indication that
a call has been blocked so
companies know what's
happening to their calls.