For those of us old enough to remember, it is reminiscent of the James Bond one liner – Shaken, not stirred – but has nothing to do with alcohol, unless you’re drinking because of all the robocalls you’ve been receiving.

STIR/SHAKEN is an acronym for Secure Telephony Identity Revisited and Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENS.  No wonder they call it STIR/SHAKEN.  If you are a contact center with outbound dialing campaigns, STIR/SHAKEN most definitely applies to you! But what exactly does it mean? Before you can understand what STIR/SHAKEN does, you need to know why it needs to happen.

STIR/SHAKEN Background

We’ve all been plagued in recent years with an increasing number of scams and telemarketers that have turned to call ID “spoofing” to trick us into answering our phone.  Call spoofing is when someone manipulates the information that you see on your call ID so that you think someone else is calling and you are more likely to answer.  Once you have answered, scammers and telemarketers now have an active line and the likelihood of receiving more calls exponentially increases.  Telemarketers frequently chose local numbers or area codes to trick us into answering.  If you’ve answered your own area code on the caller ID and are greeted with a pre-recorded voice giving you the latest health care deal, you’ve been spoofed. Although many telemarketers use call spoofing to sell their legitimate products and services, there are many unscrupulous companies who use it to scam their unsuspecting victims.

Robocall software is cheap and easy to operate, making it a simple way to scam people out of thousands of dollars. Robocalls are the number 1 complaint by consumers to the FCC and they have taken a stand against it. In 2016, it was estimated that more than 2 billion robocalls were generated per month.  In June of 2019, it was estimated at 4.4 billion – an increase of 120% over 3 years. If you have been on the receiving end of at least one of these robocalls, you can understand how much of a headache they have become!

What Will STIR/SHAKEN Do About These Robocalls?

STIR/SHAKEN is aimed at verifying caller IDs prior to the user answering the phone.   It is looked at as the most practical solution to meet the FCC’s need for call authentication systems.  The FCC is requiring providers to have STIR/SHAKEN implemented by the end of the year.                                  

Simply put:  each phone call is verified against a digital certificate proving that the number is coming from where it claims to be coming from. These digital certificates are what the industry will use to determine security and authenticity, and will determine if the calling number has been spoofed.

STIR/SHAKEN is a beginning, but it is not the final solution  It only applies to SIP-initiated calls and must be supported by the carriers at both ends of a call. Thus, scammers could conceivably get past STIR/SHAKEN simply by originating their robocalls on a TDM network.

Where Do We Go from Here?

STIR/SHAKEN is a start and hopefully reduces the number of calls received. Hopefully, it will also help to restore consumers’ faith in the validity of caller ID. As of now, implementation of STIR/SHAKEN is voluntary but the FCC proposed to require implementation “if major voice service providers fail to meet an-end-of-2019 deadline for voluntary implementation”.

I have simplified the process quite a bit in the blog, but I would be more than happy to jump on a call to discuss further. My team of expert Consultants can help you navigate through the strategy and logistics of this new legislation and ensure your contact center is compliant. In fact, I have a Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional (CCEP) on my team – this is an individual with knowledge of relevant regulations and expertise in compliance processes sufficient to assist organizations in understanding and addressing legal obligations, and promote organizational integrity throughout the operation of effective compliance programs.

CH Consulting Group provides unparalleled expertise in the Contact Center and Customer Experience (CX) verticals. We have a nationwide team of industry veterans that can assist you to achieve exponential growth, manage change, and generate profit. For a comprehensive CX assessment and strategic plan customized for your unique business needs, connect with us here today.