Timeshare Exit & Timeshare Resale Companies Are Getting Flagged By Your Own Phone Company
- Learn How to Prevent It
- Learn How to Spot It
- Learn How it Affects You
If you've been in the timeshare or vacation ownership industry for any length of time, you're already well aware that caller ID can be a real problem when trying to contact potential leads. Just a few years ago, the industry's average contact rate was around 10-15%. That meant that for every 100 numbers you dialed, you might only actually speak to 10-15 people on that given day. Then if you called the same list the next day, again you'll get another 10-15 people, this time different people. that would give you a two-day contact rate of about 30%.
These days, the industry average has plummeted to just 5%. for some companies while other companies are still getting 15% and both companies are calling the very same style of lead. And in some cases, it's even lower than that. Why is this?
Well, there are a few reasons. First, more and more people are using call-blocking services to avoid unwanted calls. Second, many people now use VOIP (Voice over IP) systems. Both call-blocking services and VoIP systems aid phone companies in spotting companies that follow practices that AI (Artificial intelligence) says are the same practices and patterns followed by most Scammers and Spammers.
What Are Scam Likely Caller IDs?
When you receive a call from an unknown number, you may be tempted to answer it. But if you see a scam likely caller ID, it's best to exercise caution. Scam likely caller IDs are phone numbers that have been linked to scams or other fraudulent activity. Or they follow a similar pattern as the known Scam Likely caller ids that have been linked to real scams. They may appear to be from a legitimate company or institution, but they are actually being used by scammers to try to steal your personal information.
In 2019 72% of calls that were identified with the Scam Likely caller id went unanswered. One year later, in 2020 94% of Scam Likely calls went unanswered.(1)
How it Affects You
Attention Timeshare Exit and Timeshare Resale companies here is how it affects you:
Let's assume you just bought 1,000 leads, and your telephone line has been flagged by the new STIR/SHAKEN telephone protocol. 940 of those leads you just bought are not going to answer the phone. Before blaming the lead provider maybe you should be looking into your own procedures and checking out your phone lines & phone numbers. Not a week goes by anymore when 1 or more of my Timeshare Lead Clients will call me to reorder leads (or ask me why people aren't answering) and I almost didn't answer this call. Why? His/Her caller ID said "Scam Likely". I use to never answer those "Scam Likely" calls until I realized that I recognize the number, which is of one of my clients. Now I answer all the "Scam Likely" calls in order to tell my client he needs to clean up his phone numbers because that is why people aren't answering his call.
How are your timeshare leads related to scam likely caller IDs?
As stated in the last section, 94% of calls placed where the Scam Likely caller id is displayed go unanswered and unreturned. USA Today came up with that number, not me! But face it who would want to answer the phone when the caller id is telling you it's a scam? If you did answer are you going to give your real name or are you going to give the caller a fake name or tell the caller they got a "wrong number"? Common sense pretty much tells us that the caller isn't going to let the caller know they've got in contact with the correct person. I bet some even said they didn't have a timeshare huh?
Before blaming the lead company for selling you junk or bogus leads, look into your phone system as well as your phone practices. It was your phone practices that got you the Scam Likely caller id.
How Did Your Telephone Number Get Flagged as a Scam Likely Call?
While the proper outbound call practices help to reduce the chances of your numbers being flagged as spam, it is still ultimately up to the call recipients. There are many call-blocking apps available, and they are easy to use. This means that if you call a lead at a bad time or if you accidentally call the wrong person your number is likely to be blocked.
One blockage from a phone number isn't enough evidence to flag that number as spam, but if multiple flags or blocks occur in a short time frame, the phone number will likely be labeled as "Scam Likely or a "Spam Risk".
Luckily for businesses that rely on outbound calls, call-blocking apps only work with specific carriers. If one of your phone numbers gets flagged by one app, it is likely that your caller ID will still appear as normal on other carriers. This can be confusing for some recipients who see "scam likely" while others see your normal caller ID, but it is better than all of your outbound calls being universally marked as spam.
Tip Number 1: The best way to avoid being flagged as a potential scam is to have good outbound dialing practices and follow scripts that focus on informing the customer, rather than misleading them.
A common phone carrier practice is to have call activity thresholds that verify phone numbers to guarantee they aren’t being used for corrupt purposes. An easy example is that if one phone number makes more than 10 calls a minute, 100 calls a day, or 1000 calls a week, it is highly improbable that phone number is being used by a real-life human being to conduct credible business. When the phone company sees outbound call numbers like that, it's assumed that robo-dialers or predictive dialers are being used.
Tip Number 2: Do not use robo-dialers or predictive dialers that make multiple phone calls at the same time.
A sound tactic to help diminish the likelihood of being marked as spam by carriers is to switch the phone numbers you use to call potential customers throughout the day. This will help keep them below carriers' call limits, and also decrease the likelihood of a specific number being flagged by recipients.
Tip Number 3: Throughout the day rotate what phone numbers you are using for outbound calling.
Each carrier has distinct thresholds for what is considered spam and call behavior is monitored differently. AT&T, for example, uses internal tools to analyze customer behavior and identify Patterns that may be indicative of fraudulent or abusive behavior. Once a number has been identified as potential spam, AT&T may take a variety of actions, including blocking the number from calling or texting AT&T customers and reporting it to the FCC.
Unfortunately for outbound call-based businesses, the thresholds for the number of calls per day or the procedures each phone carrier use to attempt to identify phone accounts that are causing problems are not available to the public or to businesses. However, since the techniques used by some carriers have become known you can keep your phone lines away from the "Scam Likely" label.
Tip Number 4: Do not use Caller ID Spoofing software to change what phone number appears on the recipient's caller ID.
Today phone companies have an easy time detecting that where it was nearly impossible just a few years ago.
Dealing With Your Business Phone Number Being Flagged as Spam Likely
There is currently no process in place to have your caller ID re-evaluated or unflagged if your phone numbers start appearing as "Scam Likely" or "Spam Risk." It falls to the FCC and individual carriers to devise a review system. And until they do there is not much you can do besides using new phone numbers for outbound calls.
When looking about getting a new phone number to replace your "Scam Likely" or "Spam Risk" phone number if possible try a different phone carrier. Another idea would be to switch to a VoIP (Voice over IP) service. One such service is free and run by Google. It is called Google Voice.
You can also try reaching out to your original phone carrier and first see why your number was flagged, then see if there is anything you can do about removing the flag.
Checking Your Own Phone System to See if You are Flagged
It is advisable that you routinely call your own phone numbers to check for possible flags. I can't tell you how many times a Timeshare Exit or Timeshare Resale client will call me and the caller ID displayed on my phone says "Scam Likely". It has happened more than once, more than twice, but this year alone more than a dozen times. In each case, I do let the client know what is happening.
After getting some new phone numbers to replace the "Scam Likely" numbers you will want to try some new leads. We have Real-Time Timeshare Exit Leads which are less than 5 minutes old when you receive them. We also have Aged Timeshare Exit Leads ranging in age from 61 days old to no more than 365 days old. And we have our Live Transfer Timeshare Exit Leads where you won't have to worry about what your caller id says as we do all the calling.
(1) USATODAY Feb. 2021