Are Do-Not-Originate lists underutilized?

A recent news story describes a widespread robocall scam in which the caller impersonates Medicare services. Would Do-Not-Originate lists help? Why aren’t they being used? This article discusses the issues.

Many scam robocalls spoof Medicare caller ID, 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Fraudsters do this to trick the called person into giving their personal information, which the fraudster uses for identity theft. Many of these illegal robocalls originate overseas.

From December 19, 2022, gateway providers are required to block any calls purporting to originate from a number on a reasonable Do-Not-Originate (DNO) list. (The gateway blocking requirement also extends to invalid, unallocated, and unused numbers.)

So, why aren’t these robocalls with a spoofed calling number being blocked by gateway providers? Because the Medicare number is used for both inbound and outbound calls. Therefore, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has not provided this number to services that maintain DNO lists.

Since the 1-800-MEDICARE vanity number is easy to remember, it would make sense to dedicate it to inbound calls only and put it on DNO lists. Medicare services could use other numbers for outbound calls. This wouldn’t prevent fraudsters from spoofing Medicare numbers, but it would make it more difficult. Why make it so easy?

Enterprise callers should consider how they use their telephone numbers:

  • Might fraudsters want to spoof your calling identity?
  • Do you currently use the same number(s) for both inbound and outbound calls?
  • Would it be wise to use some numbers as inbound only and put them on DNO lists?
  • Would there be an advantage to originating your outbound calls in the U.S. with a voice service provider that can provide a legitimate A-level attestation and branded calling?

Gateway providers should be checking that they comply with requirements to check for foreign-originated calls with calling numbers that are DNO, invalid, unallocated, or unused.

Hat tip to Madison Hall, who covered the Medicare number spoofing story for Business Insider.

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