Robocalling has long been a problem in the telecom world. After years of attempting solutions like blocklists, do not call registries, or crowdsourced databases of unwanted or illegal caller ids, the FCC mandated the solution, named Stir/Shaken.
Stir/Shaken is a technical solution and database of carriers and businesses, that allows the receiving carrier to verify the quality of the caller or the likelihood they are a legitimate caller.
As a first attempt, it does reduce robocalls, spammers, and scammers — at least our early experience reflects that.
Update on Stir/Shaken: Early Effects to Look Out For
Anytime a complex system is altered there can be unexpected effects. One of these early effects of Stir/Shaken we’ve seen relates to the ubiquitous use of call forwarding.
With most voice platforms, forwarding inbound calls to a user phone, often a mobile phone, is common and the recipient wants to know who is calling. In this scenario, the Caller ID is passed through to the mobile phone.
However, this is where we see early effects of Stir/Shaken and the variety of carrier implementations tripping up their subscribers. When forwarding calls, especially from a mobile caller back out to another mobile device, the carrier’s implementation may block the calls completely.
Why does this happen?
The mobile carrier may see a Caller ID of one of their own subscribers, coming from an external carrier, like VirtualPBX. Their rules may be to assume that is impossible their customer has another profile and they block the call entirely.
Solutions for Those Using Call Forwarding
If you experience this issue, one workaround is to disable passing through the Caller ID so that the calls will complete. This will prevent mobile carriers from seeing multiple profiles. The calls will complete because all VirtualPBX hosted phone numbers are rated properly under Stir/Shaken, and have been since last December.
Of course, another solution is to revisit your options outside of call forwarding.
The most common reason we see for users who choose call forwarding is their desire to use existing mobile devices. While call forwarding does this simply and effectively, a more powerful solution exists in a VoIP softphone. Softphones, like the VirtualPBX Softphone, bring core features like voicemail, a company directory, SMS, and video conferencing.
Stir/Shaken has a lot of promise to kill off the spammers and scammers that have plagued the telecom world. It will take some time for carriers to refine their implementations and minimize the issues, such as Caller ID and Call Forwarding.