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Blockchain To The Rescue – Part Three: Phone Porting

Blockchain to the Rescue – Part Three: Phone Porting

Porting or transferring your phone number to a new carrier is nothing short of a nightmare that can take several days.

Enter blockchain and a digitized letter of authorization (LOA) that reduces this lethargic legacy process to a matter of minutes.   

As you read in our first two blockchain blogs, blockchain technology is transforming the telecom industry in a multitude of ways. Many of the cumbersome legacy protocols and processes that have been in place for years are now getting a complete makeover.

One of the most cumbersome processes in the telecom industry is called porting, which is when the subscriber – whether it’s a business owner or consumer – wants to switch to a different carrier but keep the same telephone number.

It should be a relatively simple step to transfer a phone number from one carrier to another. But instead, this legacy process is rife with gross inefficiencies; just Google “porting nightmares,” and you’ll read a litany of complaints by customers who were left without phone service for days on end. Some frustrated and flustered customers finally gave up and switched phone numbers to escape from (another popular search term) “porting hell.”

Blockchain resolves the thorny issues around number portability

Once again, blockchain technology “comes to the rescue” of customers who are understandably frustrated and flustered by the lethargic legacy process of porting.

And talk about confusing: each carrier has their own unique process; some use a PIN, some don’t, and of course the whole point is to validate the true owner of that phone number when there’s currently no single record or registry of phone numbers and their rightful owners.

In their quest to validate the owner, the whole process can hit a logjam if just one piece of information – the spelling of the person’s name, their zip code, e.g. – is inconsistent. Features that are associated with that phone number such as call forwarding or an Internet account can further muck up the process. And until the porting is completed, the current carrier is in charge. In the worst case scenarios, they can delay or even deny the porting request.

Enter blockchain technology, which has brought lightning speed to the process, blazing a path to instant porting and validation.

This powerful technology was used to build Midori’s proprietary service called Text ProtectTM. Text Protect creates a digitized path to a letter of authorization (LOA), creating a much more efficient, cost-effective means for subscribers to claim ownership of their phone numbers.

Many would be surprised that just because they’ve been using the same phone number for years, they don’t actually “own” their numbers.

That’s right – your phone number isn’t actually yours until you ‘claim’ it – which is why porting can take days while you go through the process of creating and validating what you thought was already yours.

By claiming your numbers, you protect yourself from a new type of phone fraud called ‘slamming.” A recent SOMOS study found that with very little effort, Toll-Free numbers could be text-enabled by a scammer. By hijacking the text portion of the phone number, the scammer can send and receive text messages without the subscriber’s knowledge or permission, potentially violating FCC regulations that can incur significant fines.

In another common type of telecom fraud called ‘port-out’ fraud, the scammer ports your phone number to a different carrier they’ve set up in advance. The scammer then resets the access credentials on the victim’s financial and social media accounts in a scheme to ransom back access to these accounts or simply drain whatever money the victim has in their accounts.

How text-savvy business owners protect against common fraud – while increasing brand loyalty

These types of fraud is why text-savvy business owners are taking simple steps to protect their business from hackers and save their brand reputation from harmful and costly scams.

The first step is the simplest, and that’s to claim ownership before a competitor or someone else does.

With the free version of Text Protect, we enable the rightful owner to validate the text portion of the phone number with a private security code, and then lock it down so no one else can text enable or port the number. The more robust version enables the business owner to be notified via text message, email or whatever channel they choose if and when there’s any activity on that number. They can then follow their internal process for approving or rejecting any such requests or transactions.

Of course, Text Protect is just the beginning of a journey toward using text messaging to communicate with customers via today’s most popular communications channel. The savviest business owners recognize that the vast majority of customers want to be able to use text messaging to correspond with them.

The next steps in the journey include finding out what customers are texting, capturing essential customer data and answering common questions with programmed responses. Text messaging has proven to be a much more efficient channel than phone calls, website searches or social media messaging to answer customer questions and resolve common issues.

And when they listen to their customers via the channel they strongly prefer, business owners enjoy increased customer satisfaction and greater brand loyalty.

In summary, the porting process is not only time-consuming and unwieldy – it also exposes subscribers to porting fraud. But the good news is that there’s an answer that virtually eliminates porting fraud while dramatically speeding up the process. And all this is made possible thanks to blockchain technology.

Keep watching our blog for other ways in which Midori is using blockchain technology to mitigate telephone fraud, protect privacy rights and connect more easily to our favorite people and businesses.

Noah Rafalko, Chief Enterprise Officer

Midori Interactive, Inc.

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