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How Will Caller ID Authentication Help Consumers?

Caller ID authentication technology enables subscribers to trust that callers are who they say they are, reducing the effectiveness of fraudulently spoofed calls. This technology is critical to protecting Americans from scams using spoofed robocalls because it erodes the ability of callers to illegally spoof a caller ID, which scammers use to trick Americans into answering their phones when they shouldn't. Caller ID authentication technology also allows consumers and law enforcement alike to more readily identify the source of illegal robocalls and reduce their frequency and impact.

The STIR/SHAKEN framework, an industry-standard caller ID authentication technology, is a set of technical standards and protocols that allow for the authentication and verification of caller ID information for calls carried over Internet Protocol (IP) networks. As implementation continues to progress, it will give Americans more confidence that the caller ID information they receive is accurate and will allow voice service providers to provide helpful information to their consumers about which calls to answer.

What Does STIR/SHAKEN Mean?

STIR/SHAKEN is a framework of interconnected standards. STIR/SHAKEN are acronyms for the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) standards. This means that calls traveling through interconnected phone networks can have their caller ID "signed" as legitimate by originating carriers and validated by other carriers before reaching consumers. STIR/SHAKEN digitally validates the handoff of phone calls passing through the complex web of networks, allowing the phone company of the consumer receiving the call to verify that a call is in fact from the number displayed on Caller ID.

What Is the FCC Doing?

In 2020, the FCC adopted rules requiring voice service providers to implement STIR/SHAKEN in the IP portions of their voice networks by June 30, 2021. Since then, the FCC has worked to expand the implementation obligation to additional providers with the goal of achieving ubiquitous STIR/SHAKEN adoption. Today, most providers—including voice service providers, gateway providers (U.S.-based intermediate providers that receive calls directly from a foreign originating or intermediate provider), and intermediate providers that receive unauthenticated calls directly from originating providers—are required to use STIR/SHAKEN to authenticate the caller ID information for the calls they transmit.

Because the STIR/SHAKEN framework is only operational on IP networks, Commission rules also require providers using older forms of network technology to either upgrade their networks to IP or actively work to develop a caller ID authentication solution that is operational on non-IP networks.

The FCC also requires all providers—regardless of whether they have a STIR/SHAKEN implementation obligation—to institute robocall mitigation programs to ensure that they are not originating or transmitting illegal robocalls. Providers are required to produce robocall mitigation plans that describe their programs, including the specific reasonable steps they are taking to avoid originating or transmitting illegal robocall traffic.

All providers are required to file both certifications confirming their compliance with STIR/SHAKEN implementation obligations and their robocall mitigation plans in the Robocall Mitigation Database. The submissions must include additional information to help protect consumers and support the FCC’s enforcement efforts, including the contact information for the personnel at the company responsible for robocall mitigation-related issues, the provider’s role in the call chain, information about any previous or existing robocall-related enforcement actions, and whether the provider is eligible for a limited STIR/SHAKEN implementation extension or exemption. Consumers may review information submitted to the Robocall Mitigation Database through the public portal linked above.

Other Materials

FCC Consumer Resources