EPIC Joins NCLC Coalition Reply Comments on Rented Numbers
December 22, 2023
The National Consumer Law Center—joined by EPIC and five other consumer advocacy organizations—submitted reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission urging the FCC to stop providers who help bad actors circumvent Caller ID protections when they rent telephone numbers to robocallers on a temporary basis. The FCC has bet big on the STIR/SHAKEN Caller ID authentication protocol to mitigate unwanted calls from spoofed phone numbers. However, when bad actors are able to rent phone numbers, they bypass this protection, as the number they are calling from is not spoofed and so registers as authenticated. This practice is still harmful to consumers because although the displayed number is accurate, it is just as meaningless as a spoofed number because it’s being used disposably.
The coalition urged the FCC (1) to explicitly prohibit the temporary rental of outward dialing telephone numbers and hold number resellers liable when their downstream customers violate this rule, and/or (2) to state unequivocally that renting outward dialing numbers on a temporary basis violate existing regulations.