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Robocalls: Not Just an Annoyance, But a Threat

Back when machines (or programs) first started making calls as a way to cheaply find a live person answering his/her phone, they were more annoyance than anything else.

robocalls

However, as the technology has evolved, they have now become a true threat: With the exception of reminders from medical professionals and pharmacies, many of these calls come from scammers, thieves, collection agencies and the like.

To help you combat this latest technological scourge, I’ve compiled the information you’ll need to both better understand the dangers it poses, and and some tips for avoiding them.

Dangers:

  • New AI (artificially Intelligent) programs can fool you into thinking you are speaking with a live person. The calls use even the most basic responses from you to then commit you to fraudulent activities. I consider this to be is the most dangerous threat;
  • Simply by answering the phone (even if you say nothing) you could find yourself on the equivalent of a “do call list” and the calls increase, clogging your phone line; in many cases the folks paying for robocalling do not care if your phone number is on the National Do Not Call List (Registry);
  • A Robocaller from another state or overseas can easily generate a local caller ID signature, thus fooling you into answering/considering the source legit and it’s downhill from there (see bullets 1 & 2).

What to do (personal phones):

  • Register all personal/mobile numbers with the National Do Not Call List.
    If you have a Google Voice number remember to register that too. While it may not stop some callers, it at least cuts down on the number of calls you’ll receive.
  • If you don’t recognize the incoming call phone number, don’t answer it.
    Let it go to voice mail. If it’s legitimate, the caller will leave a message.
  • Do not say a word.  If by accident you do answer the call and you don’t know the caller,  hang up.
  • Never hit the opt-out option.
    This used to be a legitimate way to stop further calls, but now it’s a sign to the robocalling service that they have reached an active line. This will result in more robocalls.
  • Use your cell phone blocking feature.
    This by itself is far from a full proof solution to the problem but it helps
  • Report suspicious calls to the FCC.

What to do (office)
(especially one that gets large number of calls from unrecognizable numbers)

The good news is that most of the current voice scams won’t work on calls to businesses simply because at any given time multiple people can be answering the phone and that defeats some of the scams.  But they do still happen, and when they do:

  • Don’t hit the opt out option
  • Report any suspicious calls to the FCC
  • Do an internet search on the phone number
    …to determine if a legitimate person or company is associated with that number. You can then decide whether taking calls from that number benefits your business.

If you have any questions on this or any other phone safety topic, don’t hesitate to call us at  813-276-1666, or toll free: 866-459-7266.

Love Your Norstar? Then You’ll Love This!

We understand that all of you Norstar phone systems owners have an attachment and loyalty to these systems not seen with other phone equipment owners.

Yet, as these systems get older keeping them at their best has become an increasingly costly proposition.

Well, help is here. JHB is pleased to have recently acquired a limited supply of good condition used 7324 Executive Display Sets.

executive display phones

Better yet, they’re just $50 each plus tax.

Buy 3 get one FREE.

Shipping is free for orders of 3 or more.

To order yours, call us at 813-276-1666 X115 or contact us by email.

How to choose a phone service company

Many believe that all business phone service providers are alike, even people who diligently shop around for the best provider at the best price for personal use.

In fact they are not, so here’s the important basics you need to choose the right company for your business’ needs:

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  1. Do not use an internet carrier for your phone lines (exception: low priority fax and alarm lines) because:
    – Internet providers monthly costs for phone lines will be higher than most other carriers
    – If the Internet carriers infrastructure goes down your service could be out for days
    – Internet carriers are great at providing internet – they are not phone companies
  2. Do not use a company with less than $50M in financial resources, meaning they have
    – Technical teams that work 24/7/365
    – Separate divisions for support, new service, phone number transitions, software R&D, etc.
  3. Check to ensure the company has a good record of consistently high quality customer service – don’t take their word for it
  4. Phone equipment products will include top of the line equipment by Polycom, Yealink and Panasonic:
    – Other manufacturers’ phone products we have found to be lesser quality
  5. True cloud based hosted phone service products will not require intermediary equipment other that the internet modem and possibly Ethernet switches: make sure the one you choose complies with this.

If you still have questions or want help finding the right phone service company, we’re glad to help.   Call us: 813-276-1666. Ext 115; or email us: info@jhbtele.com

A Great Way to Start a New Year…

Take Advantage of This Once a Year Offer

Have an old beat up phone system but not ready yet to try one of the newer technology systems?

Well this is the time to rethink that!

Down arrowNow until January 27th

JHB is offering these newer technology phone systems used/refurbished, all in good condition & with free Tampa Bay area installation included
(when we install it using your existing cable)… 

2017 flyer phoneStarting at just $500 plus tax!

For more information or to arrange an appointment to see what these great looking systems can do for your business, call me @813-276-1666/toll free 866-459-7266 – or, if you prefer, email me directly at johnb@jhbtele.com

Tips for Fixing VOIP Voice Quality Problems

While the majority of folks we speak to love the high quality, low cost and technological benefits of VOIP phone service,  we do run across folks that have some issues with the voice quality of it (although admittedly it happens rarely).
For those very few folks, here are some tips on how to address those issues:VOIP solutions

  1. Call your VOIP Service provider
    Less than 10% of sound quality issues we have seen with VOIP phone service are due to issues with the VOIP carrier itself, and we have found these carriers often have excellent tools to help you figure out where to look for the cause or causes of your sound quality issues;
  2. Try increasing your internet speed
    Because there are cases when either the listed internet speed in practice is not what you are getting or because you are using more bandwidth than you realize, trying  1 month at a higher internet speed might turn out to be a quick and easy fix.
  3. Make sure your office is set up to give internet priority to your VOIP
    The technical term for this is QOS. It simply means that any incoming or outgoing VOIP signals are given top priority over all other types of  emails, video etc. you might be sharing with your VOIP signal.  Start by checking with your Internet Service Provider to see if they can help you with this;
  4. Check your IP phones and computers cablescables
    If the building you are in is 5 or more years old, the cables may simply not be able to handle the higher amounts of traffic going over them (this is something JHB can help with);
  5. Have your Internet Service Provider replace your modem
    Older modems or ones with minor technical flaws in them can cause real problems with VOIP phone service. In most cases the carrier will  swap out your modem at no charge;
  6. Consider switching internet carriers
    Now and again for some reason a given internet service provider in spite of their best efforts simply can’t get the job done right at a specific location. Don’t fight it. Make the change and move on;IT tech
  7. Involve an IT Professional
    They can make sure all of the VOIP signals coming to and from the carrier are flowing as cleanly as possible. They can also give you good advice as to when its time to “give up the ghost” and switch internet service providers.

Finally VOIP technology is arguably the best thing to happen to business phone service since the advent of the multi-line business phone back in the 1930’s and 40’s.
Give it a clean and effective internet platform to work from and it will serve you well now, and for many years to come.