All articles

What are “Spam Risk” or “Scam Likely” numbers and why do they keep calling me?

One of the best advancements in telephone technology over the past 50 years is the caller ID display. Being able to see who is calling has changed a lot about how consumers answer calls, especially calls from numbers they don’t recognize. 

When your phone rings with a number you don’t know, it’s common for you to also see a label that says something like “Spam Risk” or “Scam Likely”  in addition to the phone number or calling location. What does this label mean, and what should you do about it? We’ll cover all that and more here. 


What are “Scam Likely” and “Spam Risk” numbers?

Phone Carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon maintain lists of suspicious numbers. When you receive a call, they check if the number is found in their database. If it is, the caller ID on your phone will display a spam warning so that you know to be wary of the call. 

Spam warning labels are beneficial because they give you a heads-up before you decide to answer the call, and if you do answer, you can be wary of giving personal information, and on your guard for anything suspicious in the call. 

However, reputable business numbers can sometimes be incorrectly labeled as spam. It’s generally a good idea to save the numbers of people you contact frequently or the number of businesses that may be calling you. This will not only help you recognize the callers but will also help signify to carriers that the number is not a spam number.

How are “Scam Likely” and “Spam Risk” labels determined?

There are two types of unwanted calls that carriers are likely to flag: spam calls and scam calls. Although sometimes used interchangeably, they’re actually different. Spam calls are legal nuisance calls typically in the form of repeated calls where a robocall or a person tries to sell you something and you’ve never given consent to receive them, while scam calls are made with the intention of stealing your money or personal information. Both types of calls occur frequently, but only scams are illegal.

Spam or scam likely calls are flagged in several different ways. Sometimes they are flagged by the carriers themselves. Carriers maintain a list of known fraudulent callers and check incoming calls against this list. Carriers also test the technology that places a call and can check for and flag automated dialing systems set up to spam callers until someone answers. 

These numbers can also be flagged by customers. If you receive an unsolicited call that seems like spam or a scam, you can block it on a device level, and report it to your carrier. If there are several reports of spam on a certain number, the carrier will add it to their list of spam or scam numbers, which will flag the number for future customers who receive the call. 

Numbers may also be flagged if they are used in a spoofing attack. This is where a scam caller essentially “hacks” a phone number and uses it to place calls. To the receiver, it seems as though they’re receiving a call from one number when the caller is really calling from a different number. If the receiver were to call the number back, they wouldn’t reach the original caller - instead reaching someone who likely has no idea their number is being spoofed. 

What should I do if I’m getting calls from “Scam Likely” or “Spam Risk” numbers?

If you’re getting a lot of spam calls, there are several things you can do. Most phone carriers have the option to block all incoming calls that are marked as spam. While these spam filters are most likely accurate, carriers don’t block numbers automatically because they may block legitimate numbers that are mistakenly marked as spam. You can also block individual numbers on a device level. This will mean that the number cannot contact you unless you unblock it in your phone settings.

“Scam Likely” or “Spam Risk” numbers impact business

If you have a business that frequently contacts customers, you have probably noticed the impact that spam calls have on call answer rates. Thanks to an increase in spam calls, customers are warier when answering calls. Plus, carrier labels, filtering, and blocking systems may mean your business number is being incorrectly labeled or even blocked before it even reaches customers. 

With Hiya Connect, you have the capability for branded calls, which will display your company name and logo on calls that customers receive. You can even add a custom reason for the call, so that customers answer the phone confidently and securely, knowing exactly who and why you’re calling. 

For even more tips and tricks on how to increase answer rates in today's call environment, check out our free ebook: Beyond Caller ID: 3 Easy Steps to Increase Answer Rates.

Author Hiya Team