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Safeguard your customers and protect your business with Number Masking from Telesign

October 16, 2023

A woman holds a smartphone.

According to the UK’s data watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), 1 in 3 young people have had unwanted propositions from “text pest” workers at companies who had access to their personal details.

Approximately 30% of individuals aged 18-34 and a quarter of those aged 35–44 have fallen victim to such behavior, according to research conducted by the ICO, who categorically stated that such actions are, “quite simply…against the law.”

Consumer rights, business responsibilities

Providing personal contact details when transacting online has become standard practice, be it to make a purchase, inquire about services, or make a reservation. Companies receiving this personal information have a responsibility to protect the data and ensure it’s not misused.

Emily Keaney, Deputy Commissioner, Regulatory Policy at the Information Commissioner’s Office, made comments about the rights consumers have:

“People have the right to order a pizza, give their email for a receipt, or have shopping delivered, without being asked for a date a little later. They have the right to know that when they hand over their personal information, it will not be used in ways that they would not be comfortable with.”

These comments make a few things clear:

  • Consumers accept that exchanging some personal information is necessary for a transaction.
  • Consumers believe companies have a responsibility to use their information judiciously.
  • Participating in a transaction does not imply that the customer is open to any further relationship with the business or its employees.

Ms. Keaney added further comments about the responsibility businesses have:

“If you are running a customer facing business, you have a responsibility to protect the data of your customers, including from your employees misusing it. We are writing to major businesses, including food and parcel delivery, to remind them that there are no excuses, and there can be no looking the other way.”

It’s clear that companies have an obligation to protect their customers, especially in the face of mountains of data available in the age of digital transactions.

And what about the companies themselves? Can they prevent their own ecosystems from becoming at-risk?

Off-platform transaction protection

Online marketplaces, places where buyers and sellers connect one-on-one, strive to ensure all traffic and engagement takes place within their platform. Keeping transactions in the platform reduces the risk of revenue leakage, improves policy enforcement, and creates a safer environment for buyers and sellers. Number Masking offers a convenient way for parties to connect on the platform without giving up personal information—thus incentivizing use of the platform.

To protect customers and their own respective businesses, Telesign customers who use SMS and Voice services have access to Number Masking to create secure and anonymized communication sessions between two parties.

Number Masking with Telesign

Consider the scenario of a food delivery company that needs its drivers to contact customers to confirm or arrange specific delivery details. In such a case, the company can request Telesign to facilitate a communication session.

Telesign would then create a bridge between the driver and customer’s respective numbers—and when a call/SMS is sent, the phone numbers are only accessible to the delivery company and Telesign. This is Number Masking, and it is used to help keep information secure and in the right hands.

The Number Masking service is ideal for those limited duration interactions—such as food delivery, but also parcel delivery, ridesharing, property viewings, and more. And the service allows the timeframe of the communication session to be defined, so there can be no follow up communication once the purpose of the initial session has been fulfilled.

Whether your business has been contacted by the ICO and you’re seeking proactive measures to safeguard your customers, or if you simply want to explore how Telesign can deliver secure communication experiences, feel free to chat with us today.