May 24, 2023

Caller ID Labeling: Warning Labels vs. Intent Labels

Discover the differences between call labeling types: warning labels and intent labels, and learn how businesses can navigate this crucial system.

Caller ID Labeling: Warning Labels vs. Intent Labels

I. Introduction

Phone carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon employ caller ID labeling to categorize numbers, sometimes resulting in warning labels for suspicious activity. However, businesses may also receive intent labels, indicating the purpose of their calls. Carriers often automatically label phone numbers based on specific characteristics. For instance, if the same phone number is used to call 100 consumers within an hour, it could appear suspicious and receive a warning label.

Moreover, consumers have increasingly been using call-blocking apps, reporting numbers to their carriers, and filing reports with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Consequently, businesses may have their caller IDs labeled with either a warning label or an intent label. In this article, we will discuss the differences between these labels and provide guidance on avoiding warning labels while maintaining your intended label.

II. Understanding Caller ID Labeling

A. Definition of Caller ID Labeling

Call labeling is a safety measure implemented by cellular carriers to protect consumers from potential scams. It entails automatically tagging phone numbers based on specific patterns of behavior, thus helping users identify if an incoming call might be suspicious.

B. The Importance of Caller ID Labeling

Call labeling plays a critical role in our communication-heavy world. It is of utmost importance for businesses to ensure the accurate representation of Caller ID labels, as this prevents clients from feeling harassed or irritated. Furthermore, the correct label enables clients to receive and engage with important calls that they may have been anticipating or expressing interest in.

III. The Role of Carriers

Call Labeling among different carriers is shown on two iphones one with an apple AT&T carrier and the other an android on a T-Mobile Carrier.

A. How Carriers Label Caller IDs

Carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and others take a proactive stance against suspicious calls. They use advanced algorithms to analyze call patterns, automatically labeling numbers that exhibit behavior indicative of potential scam activity. For example, a number that calls hundreds of consumers within a short time span could be flagged and receive a warning label. Nevertheless, customers now have access to reporting numbers to their carriers through their devices or apps, which will cause numbers to convert to a warning label.

B. Examples: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, etc.

Each carrier has its own unique algorithm and labeling system. However, they all share a common goal: to protect their customers from harmful, unwanted calls.

IV. Consumer Response to Caller ID Labeling

A. Use of Call-Blocking Apps

As a reaction to the increasing prevalence of scam calls, a substantial number of consumers have turned to call-blocking apps. These apps grant users the ability to report phone numbers; however, given the absence of direct communication between the apps, carriers, and callers, the responsibility falls upon the customer's report to determine the appropriate label for the caller ID. Apps rely heavily on the customer's report to determine the label of the caller ID.

B. Reporting Numbers to Carriers

Consumers hold a vital responsibility in caller ID labeling by reporting potentially dubious numbers to their respective carriers. Such data is instrumental in enhancing the precision of call labeling algorithms. The FCC has instituted stringent regulations for carriers to safeguard consumers; nevertheless, the FCC acknowledges that these intensified measures may impede legitimate businesses and desired calls from reaching their intended recipients. Consequently, the FCC is committed to refining its efforts to strike a balance between consumer protection and facilitating legitimate communication. In the meantime, it is imperative for businesses to adhere to regulations and guarantee the accuracy of their Caller ID labels.

C. Filing Reports with the FTC

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently disclosed data demonstrating that consumer-reported losses due to fraud amounted to approximately $8.8 billion in 2022, representing an increase exceeding 30% compared to the previous year. Within the numerous categories of the submitted reports, fraudulent calls resulted in the highest median loss per individual, totaling $1,400. As a result, the FTC has directed considerable attention and resources to address this pressing issue; one of those resources is consumers are able to report phone numbers on the FTC website.

V. The Difference between the Two Types of Caller ID Labeling: A warning Label and an Intent Label

A. Warning Labels

Warning labels serve as an advisory for individuals to exercise caution when responding to calls. However, apps continue to depend on consumer input for accurate categorization. It is advisable for callers to disclose the reason for the call at the outset. Even if the recipient declines to engage further, they will be equipped to classify the number correctly. For instance, if the call pertains to a survey, the caller may begin by stating, "I am Austin from the UC Berkeley Research Department, and I am contacting you today to inquire about some survey questions."

The recipient may decline by saying, "No, thank you, I am not interested." Despite this, when apps seek their feedback regarding the call, they will be able to identify it as a survey, rather than erroneously labeling it as potential spam, likely nuisance, or other inaccurate warning labels.

Caller ID Labeling
Common Warning Labels

B. Intent Labels

Intent labels are another type of caller ID labeling that carriers and apps use to categorize calls based on their purpose. For example, a call might be labeled as a survey, Political, Account Services, or Telemarketing.

Intent labels serve to inform individuals of the anticipated content of a call when they answer the phone. Contrary to warning labels, intent labels provide a general understanding of the organization contacting them and the nature of the call itself.

It's essential for businesses to maintain their intended label and avoid being classified with a warning label that deters potential customers. NumberVerifier offers tools that deliver real-time alerts upon conversions of Call ID labels, thereby enabling prompt action to mitigate wasted time, reputation damage with clients, and the potential risk of being blocked and unable to contact customers in the future.

Caller ID Labels
Common Intent Labels

VI. Overcoming Call Labeling Challenges

A significant challenge confronting carriers and call-blocking apps is the differentiation between scam calls and legitimate business communications. With their primary focus on consumer protection, these entities may unintentionally mislabel a genuine business with a warning label, causing the call to be ignored or blocked. Consequently, this can lead to circumstances in which essential calls fail to reach clients due to erroneous assigned warning labels.

In response, legitimate businesses are now required to invest additional effort in overcoming call labeling challenges to conduct their operations and successfully reaching their clientele. NumberVerifier is a company that can audit and monitor caller IDs in real time, assess which numbers are flagged with warning labels such as likely spam or scams, and rectify spam flags in order to preserve the integrity of a company's caller ID reputation.

VII. Conclusion

In conclusion, the call labeling landscape presents a variety of challenges for legitimate businesses as they navigate the complexities of warning labels and intent labels. Although carriers and call-blocking apps primarily focus on consumer protection, this often results in unintended consequences for businesses that fall victim to mislabeling. It is crucial for businesses to invest in tools and strategies, such as NumberVerifier, that allow them to maintain the integrity of their Caller ID reputation and ensure their calls reach their intended audience.

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