STIR-SHAKEN technology unmasks spoofed robocalls

Orlando ranked 2nd for most impostor calls in 2017

By Mike Holfeld - Investigative Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Those unwanted robocalls disguised with spoofed numbers that appear to come from your area code will soon be unmasked with the help of a new system called STIR-SHAKEN.

Jonathan Nelson, of Seattle phone-blocking company, HIYA, told News 6 the new tracking system should be in place with some of the top carriers, including AT&T, very soon.

“The design process has been going on for a couple of years in partnership with the FCC, and some of the carriers are hoping to roll it out by the middle of the year,” he said.

Nelson’s company offers a free robocall blocking system that provides a visual alert that an unwanted scammer is on the other end.

The news of the STIR-SHAKEN system comes in the wake of fresh data from HIYA that found Orlando’s 407 area code ranked second behind Atlanta for spoofed calls.

“Spoofing is a good way to trick people into answering the calls. It also allows them to evade detection,” Nelson told News 6.

According to Trans Nexus officials, detection will now be possible with the new STIR-SHAKEN protocol.

“STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited) and SHAKEN (Secure Handling of Asserted information-using tokens) are protocols created to combat bad actors who use caller ID spoofing to increase the chances of speaking to a subscriber.”

It’s technology that is designed to determine legitimate or spoofed callers.

Experts said the system will screen and confirm a digital signature that allows verification of the calling number. 

A spoofed phone number won’t get through because the caller doesn't have legitimate access to the number.

Nelson told News 6 the spoofed calls are a front for con artists operating around the world.

“We tend to see them from very large, urban areas," Nelson said. “Florida saw a federal take-down (in 2017), but many of them come from India and major towns overseas.”

Nelson said the spoofed numbers employ the “neighbor scam.”

 The software used in the neighbor scam mimics the first six numbers of your in other words, the area code, and the next three digits to make you think a neighbor or local business is calling you.

For more information on HIYA, go to HIYA.COM.

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