With robocalls now making up almost 60% of calls in the US, you’ve likely seen some of those calls flagged as “Potential Spam” or “Scam Likely.” These are called call labels, and they warn users when they receive calls from suspicious sources.

Callers can receive call labels from either a carrier or a third-party call labeling application. Both carriers and applications consider a caller’s behavior, call data, and feedback when deciding whether and how to label a call. While the exact calculations might vary from one labeler to another, the same general factors remain important to each of them.

Call labels are sometimes divided into intent labels and warning labels. Intent labels can let you know what a caller’s intent might be, such as a survey or a call from a nonprofit organization doing fundraising. Warning labels are more common and serve to alert the user that the caller has some suspicious behavior in the past.

Knowing the differences between these call labels can help you understand how they might already be affecting your business. Warning labels can severely impact response rates from users, and they’re easy to avoid if you know what steps to take. On the other hand, the right intent label could positively affect whether people answer your calls.

Warning Labels

By far, the most common type of call label is the warning label. Warning labels protect consumers by letting them know when someone with a pattern of suspicious behavior is reaching out to them. They severely impact users’ response rates by discouraging them from answering the phone. 

Spam Labels

Some warning labels let users know that they’re receiving a call that might be spam. Different carriers and applications phrase their labels differently, but some might say “Spam Risk” or “Potential Spam.” 

These spam labels signal that the call might be a nuisance (one possible label is “Nuisance Likely”) but don’t signal any criminal or malicious intent on the part of the caller. For example, an automated “robocall” from a legitimate business might be annoying spam for many users, but it would not be illegal and would receive a spam label.

Carriers and applications apply spam labels when the information they have about a caller signals suspicious behavior but not necessarily malicious intent. For example, if a carrier sees call data that signals that one caller has made hundreds of calls per day every single day, they are likely to label that caller as potential spam.

Calls with poor call attestation can also receive spam labels. Call attestation is how carriers signal the amount of information and trust they have with a caller and is determined by the service the caller uses to dial through. While high-quality dialers like BatchDialer don’t often face this issue, others might receive spam labels through dialers that cut corners.

A “Potential Spam” label does not necessarily result from negative user feedback. While complaints can contribute, other factors like call data and attestation can cause the caller to receive a spam label by themselves.

Scam Labels

While spam labels let users know that a call might be a nuisance, scam labels are a much more grave warning. These labels signal that the caller might have specifically malicious intent. These types of labels, such as “Scam Likely” and “Potential Fraud,” are reserved for callers that the labeler suspects may be engaging in criminal or unethical activity.

Because scam labels imply a much more negative intent, they also require a higher level of proof. In order to label you as a scammer, a carrier or application usually requires some kind of evidence of malicious behavior. Usually, that means negative feedback from the person who received the call.

Anyone can make a complaint about a call to their carrier or a third-party application. Armed with this information, that body may start applying scam labels if that caller receives multiple similar complaints.

Call screening applications may go beyond just collecting user feedback. Some record calls in order to review them for scams. Fortunately, this type of review is much more accurate than user feedback. That means that it’s much less likely to receive a false scam label from applications reviewing call recordings. 

Scam labels have severe impacts on the chances the call’s recipient will answer. People who see “Potential Fraud” are very unlikely to answer the call, even if the source isn’t actually a scammer. If you find that your calls are being flagged with scam labels, you should reach out to the relevant call labelers as soon as possible to resolve the issue.

Intent Labels

Warning labels signal when a call might be from a suspicious source, but intent labels are much more neutral. Instead, they let users know why an unknown caller is calling. That’s important for many people, 80% of whom don’t answer calls from numbers they don’t recognize.

Intent labels help people differentiate between calls from unknown numbers that they might be interested in and spam calls. For example, some universities arrange for the phone number of their donations office to show up with the university’s name so that alumni know their alma mater is calling. That can help increase response rates, especially from prospects who are already interested in the call. 

In order to receive an intent label, callers register their CNAM data with carriers. The carriers can then communicate that information to users through an intent label. Because these labels are chosen by the callers, there is usually a wide range of options available for whatever label you believe would represent you the best. Some examples include:

  • Survey

  • Prison/Jail

  • University

  • Charity/Nonprofit

  • Political

  • Customer Service

Call Label Impacts

Call labels can have significant impacts on users’ answer rates. If you are cold calling a prospect and “Scam Likely” shows up, they are significantly less likely to pick up. However, a call labeled as from a charity they’re familiar with or a customer service call they’re expecting might see a higher response rate, especially among people who are already interested.

In fact, warning labels might not be the only labels discouraging people from picking up. One study suggests that the wrong intent label could also discourage people from answering calls. Generic labels like “Survey” might see low response rates–after all, who wants to answer a generic survey?

Instead, specific intent labels with the name of the calling organization might see more success, especially if the recipient is familiar with the organization. Call labels have a powerful effect on whether someone answers a call, so optimizing your intent label is an important part of creating your dialing infrastructure.


  • Warning labels are divided into two categories: spam labels, which imply a call may be a nuisance, and scam labels, which imply that a call may be malicious.

  • Intent labels are powerful tools to determine how your call is perceived by the people you reach out to.

  • One important way to avoid warning labels is by making sure you have the highest call attestation possible, by using quality tools like BatchDialer.