Stir/Shaken Your Business Calls

Stir/Shaken: how do the new stir/shaken phone call regulations affect your business?

What is Stir/Shaken?

Stir/Shake is a way of verifying phone calls are legitimate. The network carrier (Telus/Rogers/Shaw) use technology to verify a number is from a real business or person. For example, Joe’s Widgets calls you from 604-555-1234. Their carrier verifies the business name matches the caller number. The carrier passes that information onto your phone carrier. A checkmark or green bar appears on your phone letting you know this is caller is verified.

I am simplifying here to avoid acronym agony and tech headache.

You do need to know about this for your business. Here’s why.

Robocall Churn

Scammers bombard every business number every day. It’s costing your business.  One U.S. study showed that it one robocall call costs a business $9.46 per call and over half the businesses surveyed reported getting over 5 calls a day.

It also costs you if legitimate clients can’t reach you because you’re dealing with fakers pretending to be CRA, Google, B.C. Hydro, Microsoft, web designers, domain registrars, insert your favourite here.

Often I see people on social media say just block that number. Unfortunately, scammers frequently fake the number that shows up on call display so you could be blocking (and hurting) a legitimate business.

The scammers are using technology to generate these annoyance calls and gosh, there are technology ways to deal with them. The CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television  and Telecommunications Commission) finally forced the telecoms to do something about this and they picked Stir/Shaken.

STIR/SHAKEN Your Business Calls

CRTC legislated the telecoms (Telus, Rogers, Bell, etc.) to implement Stir/Shaken November 30th. Check your phone/VOIP provider for details specific to your carrier. You should have received something from them late last year. Telus implemented Stir/Shaken and also had the audacity to launch end user training as if the consumers  were responsible for the problem.

It’s not available for all phones, notably iPhones. The carriers are working with the phone makers.

However part of the problem is the CRTC solution is slightly different than the solution the FCC in the United States came up with. So not only are the phone manufacturers not in a rush to work a small market like Canada but also even if your business number is verified in Canada it won’t show up as verified under Stir/Shaken in the United States (yet).

A better solution

A better solution for now to stop robocalls is to implement a call confirm or call control. Call confirm (Telus calls their version Call Control) makes the person calling you confirm by entering a random number before the call gets put through to you. Think of it like a CAPTCHA on web form.

I put that on my business line and the robocalls stopped dead. Not one in the 30 days.

Eventually scam robocallers will figure out how to bypass this measure.  As they probably will figure out how to bypass STIR/SHAKEN. One weak point in STIR/SHAKEN is that it doesn’t work if the robocall goes over traditional copper wire at any part of it’s journey.

Example of Call Confirm