I’m Not Spam! – Stop Getting Marked “Spam Likely” as a Legitimate Business

New, industry-wide regulations and protocols are rapidly changing business communication and you need to keep up.


If you’re a legitimate business trying to communicate with leads and clients, there is nothing more annoying than finding out your call is coming up as “Spam Likely” or “Scam Likely” on their Caller ID. You follow the law and you want to separate yourself from actual scammers!

Understanding the rules and how carriers enforce them is important. Telecom companies try to protect customers, but sometimes their algorithms mistakenly affect legitimate businesses. This article outlines some tips and tricks to keep your phone numbers from being marked as Spam.

Before we discuss tips, let’s review some of the ways phone numbers become marked as Spam. Note that “spam likely” designations are decentralized at the receiving carrier level and based on private algorithms, so while we’re sure these criteria are used, we cannot guarantee how the algorithms process this information: 

  • A Multiple call recipients manually marked the number as spam.  
  • A high number of short calls from one number (we’ll go into details on this below!) 
  • A low average length of calls 
  • A high volume of outbound calls, per day
  • Previous owner was making spam calls, and the number was never ‘rested’ 
  • Dialing the same number multiple times in a row (or multiple times in the same day)
  • A large portion of calls go straight to voicemail or unanswered

You might read that list and worry you have no control over some of these factors. But we can advise you on how to maintain a high outbound volume while reducing the likelihood of being marked as Spam. 


1. Register Your Phone Numbers + Enroll in STIR/SHAKEN

First, you should register your phone numbers with an independent data registry who feed call analytics engines for carriers. Free Caller Registry and First Orion are both free and trusted within the telecom industry. Registering helps your phone numbers’ reputation in one step, through a central organization instead of dealing with each carrier separately.

STIR/SHAKEN is an FCC-mandated protocol that helps receiving carriers know if the Caller ID information is legitimate or spoofed. The major carriers have all implemented the STIR/SHAKEN framework, and it’s best practice to enroll. 

Think of registering like getting an identification card for your phone numbers that proves your identity and increases consumer trust. It’s a no-brainer! And if you’re a smrtPhone customer, our Trust Center automatically enables STIR/SHAKEN when you register


2. Be Strategic with Dialing Practices 

Let’s go over some of the ways to combat being marked SPAM Likely with current criteria being utilized by major telecom carriers:

Shows the common problems with their descriptions and solutions to avoid getting marked 'spam likely'

3. Follow TCPA and State/Local Guidelines

Following the law seems obvious – but it’s necessary! We recommend doing your own research and talking to a lawyer to make sure your business follows the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) rules. But here’s a brief overview of how to stay in compliance: 

  • Do not call anyone on the national Do Not Call registry 
  • Maintain your own, internal DNC list of consumers who’ve asked not to be called or texted, in addition to any list kept in smrtPhone. 
  • No robocalls without express written consent (a robocall is made from an auto-dialer that contains a pre-recorded message featuring either an actual person’s voice or an artificial one).
  • The person calling must provide their name, the company name, and a phone number or address for future contact. 
    • Hot tip: use call scripts to help your employees stay in compliance and never miss a crucial piece of information!
  • You can only contact residential customers between 8 AM and 9 PM in their time zone. Some dates may have complete restrictions depending on the state. 
  • No autodialed marketing calls or texts to any device where the recipient might be charged for the call (without prior opt-in). 

Violations lead to TCPA fines and less trust in your business, which can result in being labeled as “Spam Likely”. Be proactive when you’re dialing, don’t wait for the FCC or carriers to come after you!


4. Don’t Blame Yourself! It’s Complicated! 


Sometimes you can do everything right, and some of your numbers will still come up as spam likely. Try resting them for a bit, and if it still occurs, rely on other, new numbers to do your business. It’s entirely possible that a mistake was made, probably by an automated algorithm. Sometimes even new numbers will come with a SPAM Likely designation because bad actors figured out a way to illegally spoof it while it was meant to be “resting” with a carrier. 

By following the rules and being honest, you’re setting yourself up for the best chances of avoiding “Spam Likely” designation. smrtPhone is always here to help along the way. Reach out if you have questions, either via our live chat (always a real person, 9 am – 9 pm ET every weekday) or set up a customer success meeting for new customers. 

Happy Phoning 🙂