Your phone rings. You answer it with a traditional “hello”. The caller asks, “Is your refrigerator running?” Puzzled by the strange question, you innocently reply, “yes”. “Then you better go and catch it!” jokes the prankster on the other line.
If you’re old enough to have either been a victim to such a trick or, at least, to have heard this joke, you’re likely old enough to recall the days when Caller ID wasn’t around. By today’s standards, Caller ID is pretty much a standard feature with your phone services. It certainly is with MeloTel’s VoIP-based Commercial Phone Services. However, it appears as if Caller ID alone is no longer enough to avoid receiving unwanted calls.
Earlier this month, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced that it expects companies that provide cloud-hosted phone services to adopt new technology by next fall. The new technology is aimed at reducing the number of fake calls received by unsuspecting consumers. It is known as “Universal Call Blocking”.
This new CRTC mandate aims to block invalid Caller IDs including incoming voice calls that have malformed calling line ID information. The new rules apply to all Canadian service providers. Malformed calling line ID information contains telephone numbers that do not comply with North American or International numbering plans.
With the implementation of Universal Call Blocking, you will avoid having calls come into your home or business if they have calling line IDs with malformed numbers. Any incoming call with a malformed calling line ID will likely be blocked by the destination party’s service provider.
Generally, any number that does not comply with the North American Numbering Plan or international standards will be blocked. 000-000-0000, 111-111-1111 or numbers with more than 15 digits are examples of non-compliant numbers. This affects everyone. No one can opt out of Universal Call Blocking because it is a CRTC- mandated service that applies to all customers.
It works on all devices. Universal Call Blocking is a network level solution that is applied to all incoming voice calls for wireless, IP and landline phones. It is free of charge so there’s no need to worry about increased billing once the new Caller ID mandate takes effect.
Keep in mind that Universal Call Blocking isn’t designed to block all of the spam calls you may be receiving. It only blocks calls with malformed calling line IDs which is also known as “Caller ID spoofing”. This is when a caller deliberately changes the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise his/her identity.
Until Universal Call Blocking kicks in, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from Caller ID spoofing. Don’t call back or answer calls from unknown numbers. If you do answer a call from an unknown number, make sure to ask for a phone number so you can call the person back.
If you answer a call and it’s a recording that asks you to press a button to stop receiving calls, or if it asks you to say “yes” in response to a question, just hang up. Scammers often use this type of trickery in order identify and target live respondents. They could also use your “yes” response to apply unauthorized charges to your bill.
For more information about Universal Call Blocking, please don’t hesitate to call MeloTel at 1-888-MELOTEL or use the Live Chat feature on our website!