In order to protect their subscribers from an increasing number of scam phone calls, carriers and third parties have developed tools to identify and flag suspicious numbers. When a person being called by one of these numbers that has been flagged by their carrier or a service they use, they will see a message that says “Scam Likely”, "Spam Likely", "Potential Spam", or something similar included with the caller ID.
Unfortunately, it’s possible for legitimate businesses to have their numbers flagged in this way. This article contains information to help you navigate these challenges.
Disclaimer: The factors contributing to numbers being flagged are ever-evolving, and often, vary by carrier. Additionally, recommended actions to safeguard against or respond to flags are evolving as well. We cannot guarantee the applicability of this information to your particular situation, so due diligence is recommended.
The most common reasons that numbers get flagged as Scam Likely are:
- Inconsistent volume of calls from the same number
- Cold starting numbers, where you go from zero calls to over 100 an hour
- Short-duration calls, which are typically under five seconds
- Triple calling
- Ignored calls sent straight to voicemail
- Conversation lengths below a 15 second minimum threshold
- Call recipients manually flagging your number as spam
Some steps you can take to avoid problems with Spam flags
- Get your numbers registered at Free Caller Registry - https://www.freecallerregistry.com/fcr/ and https://www.calltransparency.com/ - This helps register/white-list your numbers with the major carriers and reduces the chances of them being flagged. All numbers and information provided will be shared with all three Carrier Spam Monitoring Partners - HIYA, TNSI and First Orion. If you only do ONE thing on this list, do this. Getting your numbers registered has shown to be highly effective in protecting them from being flagged for many of the reasons listed above.
Note: PhoneBurner now offers a service to register phone numbers you purchase from Phoneburner with these websites on your behalf. To be eligible you must complete a business profile with us and have it approved. Once done, you can request to have your numbers registered by us by emailing the request to email@example.com.
- Use good call practices / don’t give call recipients a reason to be upset - Because many numbers get flagged based solely on reports from call recipients, managing their perception of your calls can be important. One of the best ways to avoid being reported is to not participate in behavior that could be perceived as fraudulent or suspicious. Also, avoid activity that would upset someone such as hanging up or calling the same person multiple times a day.
- Ask your customers to save your number - Some third party spam block apps will block unknown numbers. Asking users to save your number will ensure you reach them successfully.
- Maintain consistent call patterns - It is important that you maintain consistent call volume and call patterns, and that you build up a "history" on your phone numbers. This consistent usage helps carriers see that you're not a spammer (they buy and replace numbers constantly). If your new number is marked as spam, read this.
- Understand the laws - There are numerous federal, state and sometimes even local laws that regulate telemarketing. Understanding and following these laws will help you avoid having your number marked incorrectly.
What to do if your number is flagged as spam
The quickest way to overcome this issue is to use a different valid Caller ID number, but this may be a very short term solution if you follow the same practices that led to the previous flags.
The good news is that spam flags are often temporary and will resolve if you start to adopt the practices listed above.
If you find your numbers continue to remain flagged despite following the practices outlined above, you may be able to get the flags removed by contacting the carriers that marked it directly.
While PhoneBurner has not confirmed that this method will work, these links will allow you to potentially remove a Spam label. Please be aware that PhoneBurner.com is not affiliated with these companies.
- Verizon - https://voicespamfeedback.com/vsf/
- TMobile - https://calltransparency.com/
- AT&T - https://hiyahelp.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/requests/new?ticket_form_id=824667
Help with carriers
- Call Transparency - https://www.calltransparency.com/ - Can help verify your numbers with Sprint/T-Mobile.
- Report a robocall - https://reportarobocall.com/trf/ - can help with Verizon/Sprint.
- Comcast, Charter, Cox, Altice and other fixed line (VoIP) providers, email Nomorobo for call blocking services: firstname.lastname@example.org
Popular Spam Block Apps:
In addition, here are some of the most popular spam blocking apps and contact info if you wish to reach out about being unflagged with their apps.
Robokiller: Most popular call blocking app, millions of people have this application. Once you are blocked by them, every single user with the app will automatically have your number blocked.
- Contact Info: email@example.com
Nomorobo: No Scoring/Rating System. Very Popular Call Blocking App. Winner of FTC Robocall Challenge
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Icehook: Will be marked as spam if it falls into "highly_likely" / 81-100 Risk Level Range
- Contact Info: https://www.icehook.com/contact
TrueSpam: Uses 0 - 100 Scale, Flags occur @ 60 & above score
- Contact Info: https://www.truecnam.com/contact_us
Telo: Nuisance Score Flagged at 65 & above. We flag at a score of 65 to notify you before it becomes a nuisance type call at the threshold of 70.
- Contact Info: https://www.telo.com
Need further assistance?
If you still have questions and would like to request a direct consultation, you can email us at email@example.com.
More info is also available in our blog post: Why You're Marked Scam Likely, and How to Fight Back