Show
 

37.5°F
Light Rain

360.898.2481
 

An Important Message About Fraudulent Contests and Prize Scams

Posted on: February 20th, 2019

Hood Canal Communications does not serve pop ups to our customers for contests or prizes. Official HCC contests are only available at https://www.hcc.net/contests.

Here is a sample fraudulent contest pop up. It is misleading and could potentially harm your computer or tablet. HCC advises our customers not to click on these links, but to instead close them immediately and clear your browser’s cache.

How to identify and protect yourself from fraudulent contests & scams:

This information is courtesy of the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION.

Signs of a Prize Scam

Plenty of contests are run by reputable companies and non-profits. But every day, people lose thousands of dollars to prize scams. Here are some signs you’re dealing with a scam:

You have to pay

Legitimate sweepstakes don’t make you pay a fee or buy something to enter or improve your chances of winning — that includes paying “taxes,” “shipping and handling charges,” or “processing fees” to get your prize. There’s also no reason to give someone your checking account number or credit card number in response to a sweepstakes promotion.

A skills contest where you do things like solve problems or answer questions correctly canask you to pay. But these contests also tend to get more difficult and expensive as you advance, leaving contestants with nothing to show for their money and effort.

You have to wire money

You may be told to wire money to an agent of “Lloyd’s of London” or another well-known company — often in a foreign country — to “insure” delivery of the prize. Don’t do it. Wiring money is like sending cash: once it’s gone, you can’t trace it or get it back. The same goes for sending a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier, or putting money on a prepaid debit card.

You have to deposit a check they’ve sent to you

When you do, they’ll ask you to wire a portion of the money back. The check will turn out to be a fake, and you will owe the bank any money you withdrew.

You’re told they’re from the government — or another organization with a name that sounds official

Scammers might pretend to be a company like HCC, which runs legitimate sweepstakes. Look for signs of a scam, but if you’re still unsure, contact the company to find out the truth.

You have to attend a sales meeting to win

If you agree to attend, you’re likely to endure a high-pressure sales pitch. In fact, any pressure to “act now” before you miss out on a prize is a sign of a scam.

You get a call out of the blue, even though you’re on the Do Not Call Registry

Once you register your phone number for free at donotcall.gov, unwanted telemarketing calls should stop within 30 days. Unless the company falls under one of the exemptions, it shouldn’t be calling: it’s illegal.

Foreign Lotteries

Sometimes a letter you get will say you’ve won a foreign lottery or sweepstakes. Typically, the letter will include a check. This is a fake check scam. Or a letter will say they’re offering you a chance to enter a foreign lottery. The truth is that, even if your name was entered, it’s illegal to play a foreign lottery.

Text Message Prize Offers

You get a text message that says you’ve won a gift card or other free prize. When you go to the website and enter your personal information, you’ll also be asked to sign up for “trial offers” — offers that leave you with recurring monthly charges. Worse, the spammer could sell your information to identity thieves.

When you see a spam text offering a gift, gift card, or free service, report it to your carrier, then delete it. Don’t reply or click on any links. Often, they install malware on your computer and take you to spoof sites that look real but are in business to steal your information.

Check Them Out

Scammers don’t obey the law. To avoid a scam, you have to do some research. If you’re not sure about a contest or promoter, try typing the company or product name into your favorite search engine with terms like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” You also might check it out with your state attorney general or local consumer protection office.

Keep in mind that many questionable prize promotion companies don’t stay in one place long enough to establish a track record, so if no complaints come up, it’s no guarantee that the offer is real.

How to Report a Scam

If you think you’ve been targeted by a prize scam, close out of what ever you’re working on, and clear your browser’s history and cache. You can also report the scam to HCC by emailing the details and a screenshot to info@hcc.net.

Snow Response

Posted on: February 13th, 2019 No Comments

Last Updated 2/13/19 at 11:25 am

The severe cold weather is affecting some of our customers’ services. We are monitoring our maps and trying to keep up as best we can. Please call 360.898.2481 to report outages. We are experiencing a high volume of calls at this time. If your call does not go through, please continue trying.

Thank you for your patience during this extreme weather, we hope to have everyone restored soon.

Please note, even if a customer’s house has power, there may be HCC power supplies feeding the neighborhood that are without power.

The following HCC service areas are waiting for PUD to restore power to HCC equipment:
– Roadrunner-Brockdale Area

Once power is fully restored, customers may need to “power cycle” their equipment once services are restored. For information on power cycling your equipment, please call 360.898.2481.

More Snow Forecasted for Western Washington

Posted on: February 6th, 2019 No Comments

The National Weather Service is forecasting up to 12 inches of snow in the Seattle metro area (up to six inches for Mason County) over the weekend.

Snow and ice is heavy, and may cause downed limbs or cables. Call 360.898.2481 to report outages and, as always, be safe!

Three Ways to Strengthen Your Wifi Security

Posted on: February 5th, 2019 No Comments

Even though a router lacks moving parts, it needs to be maintained with the latest security updates. Easier said than done, right? Here is a basic step-by-step for how to do that:

  • Consult the instruction manual for your router to get its IP address—a string of numbers that you will punch into a web browser for access to the router’s web dashboard. Jot down the number and store it somewhere safe like your filing cabinet.
  • After entering the router’s IP address into a web browser, log in to the base station with your username and password. In the router’s web dashboard, click on the firmware settings. Look for a button that lets you check for the latest firmware version.
  • If an update is available, choose to install it and let the router restart. Repeat this process every three to six months.
  • Call customer service at 360.898.2481 and ask whether your equipment has been updated with the latest firmware.

Usernames and passwords like “admin” and “password” are not unique, and are easy for hackers to guess. Many wifi stations come with generic passwords by default that manufacturers intend for you to change.

The problem with having a generic username and password is that anybody within range of your router could log in to it and change its settings, potentially opening it up to the outside world.

So while you are checking for firmware updates in your router’s web dashboard, make sure to also check your security settings and change the username and password to something strong and unique. Security experts recommend creating long, complex passwords consisting of nonsensical phrases and added numbers and special characters. (Examples: My fav0rite numb3r is Gr33n4782# or The cat ate the C0TT0n candy 224%.) Write down these credentials on the same piece of paper where you recorded your IP address.

Even if your router still appears to work properly, the device has reached the end of its life when manufacturers stop supporting it with firmware updates, leaving it vulnerable to future cyberthreats. You can expect this to happen every three to five years. At that point, it is crucial to upgrade to a new piece of hardware.

The best way to check is to look up your router on the manufacturer’s website and read notes about its firmware releases, or call customer service at 360.898.2481. If there hasn’t been a firmware update in the last year, the router has probably been discontinued.

This excerpt appears courtesy of The New York Times. Read the full article here.

February Employee Spotlight

Posted on: February 1st, 2019 No Comments

Congratulations to Vanessa Nelson, our February Employee of the Month.  Continue reading below to find out why they are being recognized.

Vanessa is always positive and helpful. She has lent a lot of her time to training and onboarding our new customer service reps, and helped me keep the local channel updated and on the air, while maintaining all of her own daily work. She is a total rock star and I know I can rely on her.

I do not know what I would do without Vanessa. She is incredibly knowledgeable, patient & kind. Even when she’s swamped, she takes time to answer my questions. She never complains about anything and never fails to help her coworkers. I can’t thank her enough for her continued support, helpfulness and determination. Her work ethic is amazing, and I really look up to her. I hope to be as knowledgeable as her some day!

When I was sick and not feeling good at all, Vanessa was so helpful! She was more than willing to help the walk ins and she even jumped on my phone to help a customer while I was having a cough attack. I am always so grateful for her awesome teamwork!

Relief for Furloughed Federal Employees

Posted on: January 25th, 2019 No Comments

We believe that cable television, broadband internet, and home phone services are essential in today’s connected world.

We also believe that uninterrupted access to these services is crucial to our customers’ quality of life.

This is why we are putting profits aside and providing relief to HCC customers affected by the government shutdown.

If you are a Hood Canal Communications customer employed by the federal government, and you’re in need of assistance to ensure uninterrupted access to HCC services, we would like to help.

Contact us at 360.898.2481 Mon-Fri 8:00 am to 5:30 pm, or email us at info@hcc.net.

Hood Canal Communications and Discovery Inc. Present Karen Hilburn Cancer Fund Special Sponsorship

Posted on: January 8th, 2019 No Comments
Board members Linda Cargill, Kelle Oblizalo, Ginger Brooks, and Karen Hilburn.

Hood Canal Communications, in partnership with Discovery, Inc. held a contest in the last quarter of 2018 to offer a cash sponsorship to a local charity. After an overwhelming response, the recipient was chosen. Thanks to a nomination by Shelton Local Virginia Brooks, The Karen Hilburn Cancer Fund will be receiving a $500 sponsorship from the two companies. The sponsorship will go toward the Fund’s annual fundraiser, Denim & Diamonds.

“I’m extremely proud of our community,” said Mike Oblizalo, General Manager and Vice President of Hood Canal Communications. “The number of entries we received on this contest was remarkable. And the Karen Hilburn Cancer Fund is a deserving recipient of this sponsorship.”

Kelle Oblizalo, Customer Service Manager at HCC, sits on the board of the Fund, but was not involved in the decision process. “I was just as surprised and excited as everyone else. The sponsorship will help make this year’s fundraiser even more special.”

The mission of the Karen Hilburn Cancer Fund is to help residents of Mason County with medical expenses for Breast and Cervical cancer, who are uninsured or under-insured. In addition to supporting Breast and Cervical cancer, in 2017, the Fund added Ovarian, Uterine and Endometrial cancers, along with Gardasil Vaccinations to prevent the HPV Virus to their mission. The Fund was established in 2004.

Hood Canal Communications is a local communications service provider with approximately 5,500 residential and business customers in Mason County.  With offices located in Union and Shelton, the company has been serving Mason County since 1934.

January Employee Spotlight

Posted on: January 1st, 2019 No Comments

Congratulations to Josh Heideman, our January Employee of the Month.  Continue reading below to find out why they are being recognized.

This morning I mentioned I left my glasses in my car and I needed to run out to the parking lot and get them. Josh said “I’ll get them!” and he took my keys and went out to my car. Above and beyond.

I am really appreciative of Josh. He always, ALWAYS notes serial numbers in equipment and it’s such a huge help when closing orders. It saves so much time.

Josh is so helpful on Saturdays! Saturdays can get a bit crazy sometimes and Josh is always so positive when I have to call stuff out to him. He never puts up a fuss and is more than willing to help me troubleshoot with customers. Thank you Josh for making those crazy busy Saturdays better!

Employment Opportunity – IT Help Desk Specialist

Posted on: December 11th, 2018 No Comments

Hood Canal Communications is seeking a highly motivated, technologically diverse Help Desk Specialist!

Must be a fast-learning, multi-tasked individual with excellent communication skills for troubleshooting, resolving, and documenting end user issues with various Internet Access Technologies, including Fiber to the Premise, Cable Modem, DSL, and Wireless.

Must have skills in PC ProblemSolving, Troubleshooting, and Repair, as well be knowledgeable in-home router setup and small networks.  Job duties also include ISP equipment recycling, provisioning, and inventory maintenance.

To apply, send resume to ISPManager, PO Box 249, Union, WA 98592 or email employment@hcc.net.

Hood Canal Communications is a drug free, equal opportunity employer.

December Employee Spotlight

Posted on: December 1st, 2018 No Comments

Congratulations to Chris Hasek, our December Employee of the Month.  Continue reading below to find out why they are being recognized.

It is so appreciated when we ask Chris a question—even if he’s busy working on something else—he always helps out. There are too many examples to list, but the last one was when Chris stopped in our office to drop of a receipt, an employee mentioned to Chris that their new printer was getting low on toner and they didn’t see that particular toner color in their back up stash. Chris confirmed that there wasn’t any toner, and then went down to the other printer to see if that one had any either. Chris could have ignored the problem, but he went out of his way to fix an issue that was brought up to him. He is so kind and smart, and when we have to ask him to speak in non tech language to understand what he’s telling us, he never makes us feel dumb for asking.

Designed & Produced by:

 Pivot Group marketing agency