The CRTC Is Implementing Tech To Stop Scam Calls…. Except That It Will Not Work

Yesterday the CRTC announced that it was getting Canadian telcos to implement STIR/SHAKEN technology to stop scam calls. You know, the calls for duct cleaning services, or the ones where scammers pose as government agencies who threaten you with all sorts of bad things if you don’t pay up. Here’s how the CRTC explains STIR/SHAKEN technology:

STIR/SHAKEN will enable service providers to certify whether a caller’s identity can be trusted by authenticating and verifying the caller ID information for Internet Protocol-based voice calls. This new framework will empower Canadians to determine which calls are authenticated, reducing the frequency and impact of caller ID spoofing.

In case you are not familiar with caller ID spoofing, which is faking the number that someone is calling from, this Wikipedia article can help with that.

Now it sounds good on the surface. You’ll be able to tell at a glance if the call is coming from a legitimate source, or is a scam call. So in theory by the time this fully rolls out in September 2020, Canadians should be safe from the scumbag scammers of the world.

Well, not so fast. There’s two reasons why this may be a short lived victory:

  • It’s entirely possible that these scammers will simply change their tactics. Right now many overseas call centers utilize VoIP calling, but route all of that activity through a private branch exchange (PBX) based in the United States or Canada.  That means it appears as a phone call originating in the U.S. or Canada. While STIR/SHAKEN would mean that scam calls originating from suspect PBX operators would start to get marked as spam, they could just set up shop with another PBX and be back in business. In other words, it would be like play whack a mole.
  • STIR/SHAKEN is currently only supported in the U.S. and Canada. Other countries would have to sign on for STIR/SHAKEN to be really effective. And as far as I am aware, that hasn’t happened with any other country on the planet. So seeing as the majority of scam calls come from countries like India, this may not make that much of a difference. And as an aside one has to question if the government of India has the will to actually implement STIR/SHAKEN seeing as scammers in that country are basically bringing in large amounts of money into their economy. Though they are doing it in less than legal ways.

So STIR/SHAKEN is a good step in terms of cutting down on scam calls. But it’s only a step. More has to be done to keep people safe from the scumbags who are behind these calls and I hope that the CRTC and others are working on that.


2 Responses to “The CRTC Is Implementing Tech To Stop Scam Calls…. Except That It Will Not Work”

  1. I thought Stir/Shaken meant they were sending James Bond to track them down!

  2. […] to be addressed by the end of September of 2020 by the rollout of additional tech to stop spoofing. But as I’ve written about previously, I am still dubious that even those efforts will make nuisance calls go away. But one could argue […]

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