Robocalls in the US have decreased. But that doesn’t mean they’re letting up. In April 2023 alone, over 5 billion robocalls were placed.
In response to the continued nuisance of unwanted calls, carriers remain in an aggressive stance in their attempts to address robocalls. Legitimate businesses continue to have their phone numbers marked as spam or “scam likely,” sometimes even before a new number has even been dialed.
As a result, contact and conversion rates are suffering.
Use this guide to better understand why your phone numbers are marked as spam—and what you can do about it. Below, we cover:
- How phone numbers get marked as spam risk
- Why some new caller IDs might already be flagged
- How to help stop your numbers from being marked as spam in the first place
Why Is My Phone Number Marked as Spam or Scam Likely?
To address call flagging, it’s important to first understand how providers are marking phone number numbers as a “spam risk” or blocking them altogether.
When the FCC instituted regulations like STIR/SHAKEN, they placed much of the burden for rooting out spam calls on the shoulders of telecoms carriers.
As a result, major telco carriers each use their own set of complicated algorithms to determine whether or not a number is likely to be spam. There’s little transparency around these algorithms, and they are frequently being updated.
The most common reasons that numbers are marked as Spam or Scam Likely include:
- Call recipients manually labeling a call as spam
- Inconsistent call volume from a given phone number
- A high number of short calls, i.e., just a few seconds long
- Large spikes in call volume, such as suddenly making 100 calls within an hour from just one number
- A large portion of calls going straight to voicemail
- Dialing the same number multiple times in consecutively, or too many times in the same day
Industries Face Adverse Effects of Labeled Calls—and Little Recourse
Nevertheless, carriers’ aggressive practices, which rely on algorithms and not human intervention, have aggravated an industry-wide problem.
According to the FCC, a number of industry groups have reported experiences of adverse effects, as blocking and flagging impedes their ability to reach customers and prospects who have provided their express written consent to be contacted.
In the debt collections industry, for example, 78% of businesses said they’d had calls blocked, and 74% said their calls were being mislabelled as spam.
Businesses Have Few Options to Respond Once Numbers Are Marked
To make matters worse, they also reported that carriers are slow to react (or even non-responsive) when it comes to rectifying issues related to improperly blocking or labeling calls as spam.
Meanwhile, existing statutes leave legitimate businesses stuck between a rock and hard place, with few options for taking action: Due to safe harbor laws instituted under the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act of 2019, carriers are shielded from any liability if they flag or block legitimate numbers.
Why Are Some New Phone Numbers Already Flagged as Spam or Scam Likely?
In this environment, clean caller IDs are in higher demand than ever before, especially in popular area codes.
Thanks to the carriers’ aggressive tactics, legitimate businesses are cycling through phone numbers at a quicker pace. And with everyone on the hunt for clean, rested DIDs, it’s become increasingly challenging to obtain them.
Meanwhile, the problem of spoofed caller IDs has become so pervasive that even supposedly rested DIDs are not safe. Although number providers are resting numbers for up to 90 days, those numbers may still be used by the illegal spoofers during the rest period.
When this illegal activity isn’t identified by carriers, new numbers purchased by call centers may already be marked as spam.
The Convoso Product and Engineering teams proactively monitor activity in order to quickly identify algorithm changes. This way, we can quickly adapt to these changes, and minimize the risk of your calls being labeled incorrectly.
So, how do I stop my numbers from showing up as spam?