Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tuesday Tip: Know Important VSC's

My sister called me and sounded worried. I can always tell when something is bothering her. Eventually she told me about some disturbing telephone calls she received.

The Phone Call

My sister answered the phone. The caller spoke her name in a soft voice. The caller made an obscene request then hung up. The phone rang again and the same caller addressed her by name. The caller told my sister that he was right outside her house. Since she does not have caller ID, she immediately used Return Call feature (*69) on her phone. This feature allows you to automatically return the last call you received. The phone number came up "Private Caller".

The phone call shook my sister up. The caller knew her name and said he was right outside the house. I was glad she was not home alone. The next day she called her telephone company and was given advice.

Immediately after receiving an obscene/harassing/threatening call use the Call Trace (*57). Call Trace service records your number and the caller's number and stores the information with the telephone provider. The telephone provider will only release trace information to law enforcement. There is a fee and special requirements for this service. Only used this feature if the call is considered life threatening or if the harassment is to the point where you wish to press charges. Please check your local phone book or call your service provider for more information.

Obscene or Harassing Calls are a crime under PA and Federal Laws. The local 2010 Yellowbook directory suggests the following steps if you receive obscene, harassing or threatening calls.

1. Hang Up at the first obscene word.
2. Give no info such as your name or address.
3. Advise your children to give no information to strangers.
4. If the call persists call your local Business Office or Police Department.

Tuesday Tip: Know Important VSC's. A Vertical Service Code (VSC) is a special code dialed in conjunction with a telephone number, usually preceded by an asterisk or * (star), that activates a special telephone service. Here is a list of VSC's.

Please note that not all services are available to all areas. Check your local phone book or call your service provider for available features.