You may have seen in the press recently articles around robocalling scams, specifically in relation to the COVID 19 crisis. We felt it was important for our customers, employees, partners, and the public at large to understand the actions we take to prevent illegal robocalling on our network.
IntelePeer is a leading communications software company providing critical voice services, messaging, communications workflows and analytics to thousands of businesses. The services we provide to our customers are more important than ever at this time, as companies large and small try to navigate the economic impact of the COVID 19 crisis, stay in business, and keep their employees working. Unfortunately, crises can bring out scammers and people trying to take advantage of the public’s heightened anxiety level.
We at IntelePeer have zero tolerance for unlawful robocalls and, given their increasing frequency and the public concerns about them, I wanted to let you know what steps we take to root them out if this is suspected to be happening on our network:
- We have several processes in place to lessen the likelihood of someone using our network for illegal activity. This includes regular reviews by our operations team of customer calling patterns, where we can identify suspicious activity.
- In our sales process, we conduct extensive due diligence on those seeking our services to make sure they are legitimate businesses, with sound business models. New, unknown entities are given a higher level of review than our returning customers with a proven track record of good behavior on our network.
- IntelePeer also has reserved contractual rights that give us the ability to terminate our customer relationships when we suspect any illegal activity. This is the course of action we always take when receiving any information from regulatory authorities, UST, or discover such activities through our own internal systems.
Additionally, IntelePeer is working collaboratively with regulators, USTelecom, and its Industry Traceback Group (ITG), which helps regulators identify potentially bad actors using robocalls to defraud the public. When necessary, we have encouraged regulators to use their subpoena powers to obtain confidential information about potential robocalling schemes that we are not able to provide voluntarily. The cooperation between IntelePeer, regulators, and USTelecom has resulted in new tools and mechanisms to enable a faster response to legitimate requests for the identity of any customers suspected of illegal robocalling.
These are important actions, but not enough. Going forward, there are additional, proactive steps we will be taking to protect the public and ensure that bad actors are not disguising themselves as legitimate customers on our network.
First, we intend to become a member of USTelecom’s Industry Traceback Group (ITG). Membership in the ITG will give us better access to information, allowing us to identify known bad actors and a greater ability to prevent them from accessing our network in the first place.
Second, we are in the process of implementing STIR/SHAKEN, an industry-wide initiative that helps identify and prevent bad actors from reaching consumers. Once it has been deployed by all participating communication providers, STIR/SHAKEN will help give the public additional assurances that the phone calls they receive are from legitimate callers.
Finally, we implemented a number of additional operational measures to optimize our existing procedures. These include:
- Elevating USTelecom traceback requests to our highest priority review tier, which was previously reserved for government requests and full service outages – this will fast-track any traceback requests we receive from USTelecom going forward instead of relying on the standard 5-day window that is currently required under its policies;
- Enhancing our internal review and escalation protocols to ensure senior executive oversight of customer activity during the sales process and following the discovery of any potential fraudulent activity by an existing customer;
- Evaluating various technologies and solutions that could boost our ability to detect and flag concerning call patterns and enable us to better protect and inform the public of potential scammers.
IntelePeer is fully committed to protecting the trust and safety of our customers, and their customers. Scammers undermine the public trust in the U.S. voice services industry and there is no place for them on the networks of any provider. We know completely eradicating the illegal use of robocalls is not a simple task. However, we at IntelePeer are committed to continuing to work cooperatively with federal and state regulators as well as industry groups to be part of the solution. Please refer to this post for more information on IntelePeer’s efforts related to STIR/SHAKEN.