A big paper is due tomorrow, but haven’t even started. In the weeks, months, maybe the whole semester that you had to work on it, you were partying, grinding video games, or otherwise procrastinating. Ah yes — the age-old college experience of pulling the all-nighter. Sometimes we don’t learn from the pain and drag this practice into our professional careers. Those big TPS reports are due tomorrow afternoon, but you haven’t touched them. Look, it happens. At least you’ve perfected the art of producing miracles in a short amount of time. It just so happens that in the ongoing saga of robocall blocking, one of the most critical deadlines in recent memory just passed: June 30, 2021. Are you compliant yet?

In this article, we cover:

If you’ve been following along, we’ve been warning now for a few months of the impending FCC deadline for large voice service providers to implement STIR/SHARKEN — the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) — digital certificates meant to authenticate caller ID information. Well, that faithful summer day has come and gone — so now what?

“At last, STIR/SHAKEN standards are a widely used reality in American phone networks,” said Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “While there is no silver bullet in the endless fight against scammers, STIR/SHAKEN will turbo-charge many of the tools we use in our fight against robocalls: from consumer apps and network-level blocking, to enforcement investigations and shutting down the gateways used by international robocall campaigns. This is a good day for American consumers who — like all of us — are sick and tired of illegal spoofed robocalls.”

At last report, more than 1,500 voice service providers have filed certifications informing the FCC of their robocall mitigation efforts. More than 200 of those providers have certified to full STIR/SHAKEN implementation. Hundreds more have reported partial implementation, with full implementation on the IP portions of their networks.

But what of the rest?

Those without full STIR/SHAKEN implementation must instead describe what steps they are taking to curtail illegal robocalls. An extension to full STIR/SHAKEN implementation is granted as long as the provider has “an appropriate robocall mitigation program to prevent unlawful robocalls from originating on its network.” Somewhat vague, and deliberately so. Specifically:

  • The robocall mitigation program should include detailed practices that can reasonably be expected to significantly reduce the origination of illegal robocalls
  • The voice service provider must comply with the practices it describes
  • The provider shouldn’t knowingly or through negligence serve as the originator for unlawful robocall campaigns

The phrase “significantly reduce” is key here. At the end of the day, the FCC wants to dull the deceptive practices fraudsters employ (in this case, number spoofing) to deceive their victims. The bottom line is that voice service providers are expected to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, or they will face consequences.

The Next Big Deadline

Sept. 28, 2021. That’s the date consequences begin taking shape. Any voice service provider that isn’t certified in the Robocall Mitigation Database will have its traffic denied by intermediates and other providers starting Sept. 28. In other words, if you were playing a game of chicken with the FCC and its June 30 deadline, you may have come away thinking they blinked first and you won. Come Sept. 28, that feeling will subside quickly as voice service providers become quite a bit less useful when other providers are prohibited from accepting their traffic.

So, what’s your robocall mitigation plan? Despite a two-month dip prior, the 4.4 billion robocalls placed in the United States in June 2021 pushed trends back up. Despicable new scams are popping up around the tragedy of the collapse of the Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida, in which the perpetrators claim to be from charities assisting victims. This problem is not going away. The American public is fed up and the FCC will not stand by idly.

If you’re a voice service provider in need of a robocall mitigation plan to gain certification or add an extra layer of protection to your program, YouMail can help. Sept. 28 will be here before you know it, just as June 30 has already come and gone. Prevent robocalls from traversing your network in real time with a solution that is designed to meet FCC requirements and help you protect your customers from bad actors. Schedule a demo with YouMail today.

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