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Free advertising is offered for non-profit organizations doing local community events, such as bake sales for schools, benefits to help individuals, church dinners, and concerts put on for the public. You may make your ad requests via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI)?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set rules for telephone companies to protect their customer’s information. Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) includes where, when, and to whom a customer places a call, as well as the types of service offerings to which the customer subscribes and the extent to which the services are used. The FCC is requiring telephone companies to:
• Ask for a password when a customer calls in with questions involving their account.
• Provide password protection for online access.
• Notify customers when a password, online account information or address of record is created or changed.
• Notify customers if there is ever an accidental disclosure of their CPNI.
Richland-Grant Telephone Cooperative is serious about keeping your information safe from pretexting (someone calling in pretending to be you). In accordance with the FCC rules we will secure the privacy of your information.
What is a Robocall and how can I stop them?
If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it’s a robocall. If you’re getting a lot of robocalls trying to sell you something, odds are the calls are illegal. Many are also probably scams.
Here’s what you need to know about robocalls and what you can do about them.
Are robocalls legal?
A robocall trying to sell you something is illegal unless a company has your written permission to call you that way. To get your permission, the company has to be clear it’s asking to call you with robocalls, and it can’t make you agree to the calls to get a product or service. If you give permission, you have the right to change your mind later.
A few types of robocalls are allowed under FCC rules without your permission, like political calls about candidates running for office or charities asking for donations. Keep reading for more examples.
Why do I get so many robocalls?
It’s cheap and easy for scammers and telemarketers to make robocalls over the internet from anywhere in the world.
How can I know if a robocall is a scam?
If someone is already breaking the law by robocalling you without permission, there’s a good chance it’s a scam. At the very least, it’s a company you don’t want to do business with. Don’t rely on your caller ID. Scammers can fake the name and number that shows up, making it look like a call is from a government agency like the Social Security Administration or a local number. That’s called spoofing.
What kinds of robocalls are allowed without my permission?
Under FCC rules, some robocalls don’t require your permission:
- Messages that are purely information. Robocalls about your flight being cancelled, reminding you about your appointment, or letting you know about a delayed school opening fall into this category, as long as the caller doesn’t also try to sell you something.
- Debt collection calls. A business contacting you to collect a debt
- Political calls
- Calls from some health care providers
- Messages from charities
How can I get fewer robocalls?
The best way to limit the amount of robocalls is to register your phone number on the “Do Not Call” list through the FCC. Visit www.donotcall.gov to register your phone number(s). Another option to get fewer robocalls is to look into call blocking solutions. The call-blocking option you choose will depend on whether you’re getting calls on a mobile phone, traditional landline, or home phone that uses the internet (VOIP).
What should I do if I get an illegal robocall?
Hang up. Don’t press any numbers. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.
Report the call to the FCC at www.donotcall.gov. Report the number on your caller ID and any number you’re told to call back, which helps the FCC track down the scammers behind the call. Even if you think the number on your caller ID is fake, report it. The FCC analyzes complaint data and trends to identify illegal callers based on calling patterns.
The FCC takes the phone numbers you report and releases them to the public each business day. This helps phone carriers and other partners that are working on call-blocking solutions. Your reports also help law enforcement identify the people behind illegal calls.
What else is the FCC doing about robocalls?
The FCC continues to bring enforcement actions against robocallers and has already stopped people responsible for billions of robocalls.
Why doesn’t the Do Not Call Registry stop robocalls?
The National Do Not Call Registry is designed to stop sales calls from real companies that follow the law. The Registry is a list that tells telemarketers what numbers not to call. The FCC does not and cannot block calls. Scammers don’t care if you’re on the Registry.
Even though the Registry can’t stop all the unwanted calls you’re getting, being on the Registry could make it easier for you to stop scam calls. If a caller is ignoring the Registry or making an illegal robocall, hang up. There’s a good chance it’s a scam. Visit www.donotcall.gov to register your phone number(s).
Learn more about unwanted calls at www.ftc.gov.
Learn more about the Telemarketing Sales Rule that governs robocalls on the FCC’s Business Center (www.fcc.gov/general/telemarketing).
What is spoofing?
Spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity.
Spoofing is not always illegal. There are legitimate, legal uses for spoofing. For example, a doctor calls a patient from their personal mobile phone and it displays the office number rather than the personal phone number of the doctor. It will display a toll-free call-back number.
Spoofing is illegal when the caller falsifies the caller ID display information to disguise their identity with the intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongly obtain anything of value.
You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed. Be extremely careful about responding to any request for personal identifying information.
- Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
- If you answer the phone and the caller – or a recording – asks you to press a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
- Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes” or “No.”
- Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
- If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.
- Use caution if you are being pressured for information.
- If you have a voicemail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voicemail if you do not set a password.
Recognize the “Red Flags” before answering the phone.
- Neighborhooding – Calls from numbers that resemble your own – the area code and Prefix (next three digits) match your number. If you don’t recognize the number, and you’re not expecting any calls, let it go to voicemail.
- Mirroring – Spoofing of your telephone number to trick you into answering the phone.
- One Ring – Scammers ring your phone once and hang up. The hope is that you will call the number back. The call back often results in per minute toll charges. Similar to a 900 number on your phone bill.
- “Yes” call. Once you answer the call, someone asks a seemingly harmless question (such as can you hear me?, Are you there?) in an effort to record a yes response and use it as evidence that a product or offer was authorized.
Rural Call Completion:
Problems with Long Distance or Wireless Calling to Rural Areas
Consumers across the country continue to report problems placing and receiving long distance or wireless calls to and from rural areas on their landline telephones.
If your landline telephone is working (for example, you can make calls and receive most calls) but you learn that callers have been unable to reach you at your home or business, you may be experiencing “failure to complete” problems.
Typical symptoms of “failure to complete” problems include the following:
- Long distance or wireless callers tell you they repeatedly hear nothing or “dead air” for 10 seconds or more after they dial your number. If they stay on the line, the call may seem to drop off or they may eventually hear a busy signal.
- Long distance or wireless callers tell you they repeatedly hear prolonged ringing on their end after they dial your number, but it doesn’t ring in on your end (e.g., the callers wait 10-20 rings before they finally hang up).
- Long distance or wireless callers tell you they repeatedly hear a recording such as “The number you have dialed is not in service” or “Your call cannot be completed as dialed” when they know they’ve correctly dialed your number.
- Consistently after you answer a call, the voice quality is unacceptable. For example, one person cannot hear the other, the sound is choppy, there are awkward transmission delays after speaking, or there is an echo.
- When trying to send a long-distance fax the fax machines consistently fail to interoperate.
What is the cause of these problems?
In a nutshell, the problem appears to be occurring in rural areas where long distance or wireless carriers normally pay higher-than-average charges to the local telephone company to complete calls. That is, for a long distance or wireless carrier to complete one of its subscriber’s calls to a resident of a rural area, the carrier must get the call to the exchange serving that resident (the local phone company), and then pay a charge to that local carrier to access its exchange. The physical process of getting calls to the exchange is called “routing,” and the charge paid by the long-distance company to the local carrier is called an “access charge.” These charges are part of the decades-old system of “access charges” that help pay for the cost of rural networks. To minimize these charges, some long-distance and wireless carriers contract with third-party “least-cost routing” service providers to connect calls to their destination at the lowest cost possible. Although many of these contracts include strictly-defined performance parameters, it appears that all too frequently those performance levels are not being met or, indeed, some calls are not even connecting at all.
What is being done to fix these problems?
The FCC is addressing call completion and call quality problems affecting long distance, wireless, and VOIP calls to rural telephone customers on multiple fronts. In 2018, Congress passed the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2017, the RCC Act. The RCC Act required intermediate providers – companies assisting originating phone providers to route phone calls – to register with the FCC and to comply with the service quality standards that the FCC is directed to establish.
What can you do?
- Whenever possible, you should encourage the person trying to call you to report details of the problem to their telephone service provider. The number to report such problems should appear directly on the person’s monthly bill. That provider should be best able to locate the source of the problem and fix it.
- You can also file a complaint with the FCC. For the FCC to act on your complaint, you must provide the caller’s number, the called number, and the date the attempted calls or problem calls were made. To file a complaint, complete the online Phone Complaint Form found at www.fcc.gov.
Wisconsin Relay Makes Telecommunications Accessible for Nonstandard Phone Users
What is Wisconsin Relay?
Wisconsin Relay is a free, completely confidential 24-hour public service that makes the use of the telephone possible and a better experience for many thousands of citizens and visitors of the state who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, and speech-disabled.
How does Wisconsin Relay work?
The person dials the toll-free Wisconsin Relay number and gives the communications assistant (often abbreviated as the CA) the area code and number of the person receiving the call. An example of a Wisconsin Relay service is a highly trained CA who voices the typed comments by the TTY (text telephone) user and types the spoken comments by the other person back to the TTY user. Wisconsin Relay provides several options to meet the needs of people who do not use the standard telephone.
How to connect to Wisconsin Relay:
Cap-Tel – a free captioned phone service
CapTel, short for captioned telephone, users place calls in the same way when dialing with a standard telephone. Utilizing voice recognition technology that displays verbatim captions of the conversation on a screen of a telephone, the CapTel user can hear and read what the other person is saying.
How do I apply for specialized telephone equipment?
The Telecommunications Equipment Purchase Program (TEPP) provides qualified applicants (proof of a disability that makes using a standard telephone difficult or impossible) with vouchers to purchase assistive telephone equipment. A person can apply for a voucher by visiting www.wisconsinrelay.com/tepp or by calling 1-800-251-8345 (TTY in state only) or 1-608-231-3305 (Voice).
Learn more about Wisconsin Relay
|Wisconsin Relay Website:||www.wisconsinrelay.com|
|Wisconsin Relay Customer Service:||1-800-676-3777 (TTY/Voice/ASCII)|
|Wisconsin Relay Spanish Customer Service:||1-800-676-4290 (TTY/Voice/ASCII)|
|Speech-to-Speech Customer Service:||1-800-787-1989 (Voice)|
|Voice Carry-Over Customer Service:||1-866-931-9027 (Voice)|
|CapTel Customer Service:||1-888-269-7477 (Voice/CapTel/TTY)|
|CapTel Spanish Customer Service:||1-866-670-9134 (Voice/CapTel/TTY)|
|Sprint TTY Operator Service:||1-800-855-4000|
Services supported by surcharge
A few cents per telephone bill surcharge makes Wisconsin Relay services possible for the citizens of Wisconsin. Sprint is the provider of the relay services for Wisconsin.
7-1-1 is not an emergency number
Some people might assume it is okay to call 7-1-1 for emergencies. The 7-1-1 Wisconsin Relay number is for relay service calls only. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that 911 centers be prepared to handle emergency calls from people who use the text telephone. Wisconsin Relay will make every effort to assist a person during an emergency but cannot serve in the same function as 911 centers. Wisconsin Relay does not assume responsibility for handling emergency calls.
National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline: 10DD
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted a new three-digit number to be used nationwide to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline, starting July 16, 2022. Customers must continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255) until July 16, 2022.
In order for 988 to work in your area code, 10-digit dialing must first be implemented. Since your area code is 608, you will need to change the way you dial local calls.
The following 84 area codes currently permit 7-digit dialing and also use 988 as a central office code. Providers operating in these NPAs must implement 10-digit dialing. Transitioning to 10-digit dialing involves both the technical work needed to implement mandatory 10-digit dialing as well as educating consumers about the transition:
|AZ||480, 520, 928|
|CA||209, 530, 562, 626, 650, 707, 925, 949, 951|
|FL||321, 352, 561, 904, 941|
|IL||309, 618, 708|
|MI||616, 810, 906, 989|
|MO||314, 417, 660, 816|
|NY||516, 607, 716, 845, 914|
|TX||254, 361, 409, 806, 830, 915, 940|
|WI||262, 414, 608, 920|
988 and Suicide Prevention Hotline
In August 2019, FCC staff—in consultation with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and the North American Numbering Council—released a report recommending the use of 988 as the 3-digit code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. In July 2020, the FCC adopted rules designating this new phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. The transition, which will take place over the next two years, will result in phone service providers directing all 988 calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022.
Topline Takeaways on 988:
• Suicide prevention is a critical need. Since 2008, suicide has ranked as the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Suicide claimed the lives of more than 48,000 Americans in 2018, resulting in about one death every 11 minutes.
• Americans who need help today can find it by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached by calling 1-800-273- 8255 (1-800-273-TALK) and through online chats. Veterans and Service members may reach the Veterans Crisis Line by pressing 1 after dialing, as well as by chatting online at www.veteranscrisisline.net or texting 838255.
• The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of approximately 170 local- and state-funded crisis centers. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration administers the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs, which manages the Veterans Crisis Line.
• Under the new rules, calls to 988 will be directed to 1-800-273-TALK, which will remain operational during and after the 988 transition.
• The requirement to transition to 988 as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline will take effect on July 16, 2022. The transition time gives phone companies time to make necessary network changes. It additionally provides time for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to prepare for a likely increase in the volume of calls following the switch.
• The adoption of the new rules reflects a commitment to delivering Americans necessary intervention services. Switching to an easy-to-remember 988 as the ‘911’ for suicide prevention and mental health crisis services will make it easier for Americans in crisis to access the help they need and decrease the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health issues. FCC staff first proposed 988 as a three-digit, nationwide number in a report submitted to Congress in 2019.