Despite the fact that traditional landlines and mobile carriers are still considered to be the backbone of telephony, many people are beginning to realize the advantages that switching to VoIP can provide. Not only do cloud phone services have cheaper maintenance costs – even when compared to mobile data service providers – but they also come with many enterprise-grade features, simple and straightforward system management, and the option to connect to your system from anywhere in the world.
But those that have already made the switch to VoIP may have encountered one major stumbling point with such services, namely that highly frustrating message displayed during the creation of an online account that says that the VoIP phone number isn’t eligible for account verification.
Intrackability as a Disadvantage
Rejecting a phone number during account registration just because it’s already owned by a VoIP provider seems rather unwise, especially seeing how the popularity of virtual telephony is on the rise. But what’s even more ridiculous is that one of the reasons commonly brought up against VoIP is a complete lie, falsely claiming that most VoIP providers – including residential and business services alike – are not capable of handling text messages, including SMSs. So, if cell phone numbers that support SMS messaging are more than able to serve as account authenticators, then why can’t users do the same with VoIP numbers? The answer is a bit surprising since it’s actually because of one of the biggest advantages of cloud telephony: its inability to be tracked.
To understand the issue, let’s see why cell phone numbers are preferred over VoIP numbers. Those services where online transactions are handled on a regular basis – i.e. online gaming platforms – are required by law to match the data of new users with another database that confirms their identities and their ability to pay. The latter information can easily be checked through cellphone carriers as these services will never assign phone numbers to those who cannot pay. In addition to that, area codes in cell phone numbers always correlate with real people living in existing locations, and the SMS protocol used by cell carriers can determine whether users are in the U.S. by using geolocation services. Therefore, sending an SMS message for verification purposes is more than enough for online services to check whether the new user is an honest citizen and therefore can prevent fraud from happening.
With VoIP, however, this kind of information exchange is impossible, and not just because certain VoIP services lack SMS features. For starters, the voice system runs through the internet, meaning that detection is much harder than traditional telephone signals. Then there is the fact that users can opt for virtually any kind of phone number regardless of their actual residence, meaning that a VoIP phone number used for registration cannot be traced back to its owner. In other words, VoIP simply doesn’t meet the obligatory security standards of many online services, which leaves them no choice but to reject VoIP phone numbers by default.
What Can VoIP Users Do?
Preventing anyone from registering to a service just because they have a VoIP phone number is certainly unfair, but unfortunately there is nothing that can be done against companies’ security protocols. In fact, VoIP subscribers have only two options to choose from to get through the tedious verification process: the first option is to contact the company that owns the service you want to subscribe to and ask them how your identity and trustworthiness can be verified in an alternative way. Note, however, that this approach relies completely on the goodwill of the company in question and therefore may even work.
No matter how ridiculous it may sound, complying with the rules regarding phone numbers is by far the best approach. The reason is simple: it’s quite likely that VoIP users will also have mobile subscriptions since VoIP companies require an alternative, non-VoIP phone subscription for emergency reasons. As such, it’s more than obvious to use the mobile phone number for subscription if the user already has one anyway. And if you are worried about data privacy, don’t: most online accounts have privacy settings that can be modified in such a way that companies won’t be able to bother you by phone.
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