Aug. 09, 2019

FCC Takes Next Step in Battle Against Robocalls, Spoofing

Recognizing the frustration and potential danger posed by spam calls and spoofing, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced new rules this week that will ban malicious caller ID spoofing of text messages and foreign calls.

The rules are designed to close a loophole in existing law that prevented the agency from pursuing scammers sending spoofed text messages and international bad actors making spoofed calls to Americans.

Earlier this summer, the FCC approved rules that could make it easier for AT&T, Verizon and other telecom giants to block suspected spam calls on behalf of their subscribers. It allows the companies to enroll consumers in their call-blocking services by default, as opposed to waiting for customers to sign up for such tools on their own.

While these changes are important steps in the fight against robocalls and spoofing, no one expects they will result in their elimination. Protect yourself by using some of the following tips provided by the FCC: don’t answer calls from unknown numbers; due to spoofing, don’t assume when the caller ID shows a local number that the caller is actually local; if you answer and the caller asks you to press a button to stop receiving calls or asks you to say “yes” in response to a question, hang up to prevent your response from being used for unauthorized charges; and if a caller claims to be from a legitimate company or organization, hang up and call them back using a valid number found online or a recent bill if you do business with the organization.

If you have lost money because of a scam call, notify your local law enforcement agency.

If you receive a spam call, file a complaint with the FCC Consumer Complaint Center.
 
 
Hotline to Assist Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

A new hotline to help connect thousands of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren to the resources and programs available to them is now live.

The KinConnector hotline was established through Act 89 of 2018 to address the growing number of grandparents who have become primary caregivers to their grandchildren in the Commonwealth. It is a situation that has skyrocketed in recent years as a result of the state’s opioid epidemic. An estimated 82,000 grandparents are the sole caregivers for nearly 89,000 grandchildren in Pennsylvania.

KinConnector can be reached by calling 1-866-KIN-2111 (1-866-546-2111). The KinConnector helpline is staffed by social service professionals prepared to help families understand and access local, state and federal resources. A website of resources will also be available in the near future.
 
 
Economic Update

 
Pennsylvania’s General Fund Revenue collections totaled $2.3 billion for July, which was the start of the 2019-20 Fiscal Year. The figure is nearly $91 million, or 4%, higher than last July’s collections. Learn more here.


 
 
Ag Progress Days Set for Next Week Near State College

One of the largest outdoor agricultural expositions in the east will draw thousands of people to Centre County Aug. 13-15 to learn more about the science and business of agriculture production.

Ag Progress Days attracts more than 450 exhibitors from across the United States and Canada, showcasing innovations in agricultural equipment and related industries.

A variety of exhibits are planned, including those highlighting the battle against spotted lanternfly, and livestock nutrition and reproductive health. Youth activities and research tours are also available.

While there, the House and Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees will host an informational meeting Aug. 14 to discuss dangerous livestock disease threats and the importance of biosecurity efforts to keep our food supply secure.

No admission fee is charged, and parking is free. For more information, click here.
 
 
Wild Turkey Survey Underway

 

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is asking for the public’s help to report wild turkey sightings via a survey on the agency’s website, or via its mobile app.

The survey runs through Aug. 31. Participants should submit the number of turkeys they see, the general location, date and contact information. The information will help to improve Pennsylvania’s wild turkey conservation program. It also helps the Game Commission analyze turkey reproduction.
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