‘Tis the season! Watch out for these scams!

Scams aren’t new; they’ve been around for decades. With technological advances and the rise of the Internet, scams have gotten more elaborate and convincing. They are used to con the most unsuspecting and vulnerable among us.

Most of us have heard of the more common cons out there, such as claims of false inheritances as well as IRS and social security scams. However, new scams are on the rise and they are not always as easy to spot! We have compiled a list with some of the current cons out there! The best way to combat scammers is to be aware of the scams, making you less likely to fall for them! Here’s what to look for so you don’t become a victim.


Free WiFi scams:
Free WiFi scams have become increasingly common, as most of us tend to jump on WiFi when we’re not at home or at the office, as we work to preserve our allotted cellular data for the month. The next time you’re looking for a wireless hotspot and locate one called Free WiFi, beware! These WiFi scams enable hackers to access personal information, emails, usernames, passwords and credit card numbers. This can happen anywhere you try to connect to the internet while on the go, but it is especially prevalent at airports.

Social Media Q&A Scams:
Sometimes on Facebook, people may share “viral” posts which include questions such as: “What was your first car?” or “Who was your best friend as a child?”. If you’ve noticed the most common security questions on Apple or your bank’s website, you’ll notice that these are very much the same. Don’t ever answer them on a public forum such as Facebook or Instagram! If people can get one or two answers like this, they can get into your accounts claiming they’ve forgotten your password.

Utility Scams:
Fraudsters have been taking advantage of rising utility bills to prey on consumers and steal personal and financial information. There are two common types of utility scams—the phone call from a fake representative of your utility company and the more brazen door-to-door promotional pricing or product scam. These scams are particularly prevalent in California with scammers pretending to represent SCE, PG&E and other local utility companies. For example, customers have been notified through phone calls and emails of overdue bills that appear to be sent form PG&E and need to be paid for immediately. Other times, the companies ask for deposits due to new changes in policies, etc.

If you believe you have been scammed or believe someone has attempted to defraud you, be sure and tell the FTC. Your reports help the FTC and law enforcement partners stop scammers. We hope you found this information useful and hope you share your newfound knowledge with your loved ones to help protect them from the long-term damage financial crimes can do.

Please keep in mind that Race will never ask for any personal information through email and all official communication will come from a race.com domain and late notices are always sent on official Race letterhead. Our company does not seek out deposits to fund our fiber deployment nor do we require payments via money orders or gift cards.  

If you’re ever in doubt about someone who claims to represent Race, be sure to ask for their company badge as it is required for all our employees to have proper identification when interacting with customers.

Thinking about breaking out your shovel?

Calling 811 can save you some trouble!

Race Communications recently experienced a major interruption in service throughout California due to a cut fiber line. Cut fiber lines tend to occur during this time of year as this glorious warm weather is a great motivator when it comes to getting home-improvement projects done!

Whether you’re finally getting around to fixing up the patio or you’re adding a new and improved garage or shed, calling 811 should be your very first step! You never know what may be lurking underground.

Water, gas, and electricity are just some of the utilities that may be underground on your property – not to mention your precious fiber lines for internet and phone services. Surely you wouldn’t want to disrupt your service (or your neighbor’s service)! In order to avoid a major headache in the form of a burst water pipe or electrical outage, be sure to call 811 at least two business days before you plan to dig. 

The 811 call center will then ensure that all public utilities are notified about the upcoming dig on your property. You may be asked to mark the area you plan to dig with white paint or white flags, which can be found at many hardware stores.

Then, each organization, either by themselves or via a hired third-party, will mark the area of each utility. Each type of utility has a different color so that you will know what is where. Not sure what the colors are? Here’s a quick recap:

The designated color for drinking water is blue; sewer is green, and gas, oil and steam are all marked yellow. Red is the color for electrical utilities and orange signifies communications – like internet, telephone and TV.

When you call 811, they will also mark for public utilities which are the ones that use the public right of way (or easement) to your house. You’ll need to keep an extra eye out for these as these lines could be responsible for providing service to entire neighborhoods.

So again, don’t break out that shovel before you make the call to 811! Be prepared that the representative will ask you some questions in order to process your request, including your address and nearby cross streets, city, county, the type and scope of the digging project, and a contact number. Now, what are you waiting for? Better get started on that “honey-do” list!

GIGABIT vs. GIGABYTE – Why is everything so confusing?

Do you get confused when you hear gigabit, gigabyte or megabit? Do you scratch your head when you see abbreviations such as Mbps? If your answer is “Yes” to any of these questions, rest assured you are not alone. We at Race understand this can be confusing, especially for those of you who live in unserved or underserved communities where broadband has been non-existent and we are here to help you navigate through this new terminology.

Many people confuse the terms “gigabit” and “gigabyte” as well as the terms “megabit” and “kilobit”. While both “bit” and “byte” are units of measurement describing digital data, how much they measure and how they are used are different.

A bit is one of the most basic units used in telecommunications. A bit is considered data moving so when we’re talking about internet speeds, the correct term to use is bits per second. Race’s “Gigafy Me” plan provides speeds up to 1Gbps, one gigabit (or a thousand megabits) per second.

Meanwhile, bytes are generally used when describing data capacity such as hard drive storage. One Byte equals 8bits. We measure the sizes of our files and the hard drives that store them in megabytes, gigabytes, and terabytes. 

When we need to refer to numbers of bits or bytes as those numbers get larger and larger, we use the prefixes from the metric system (see table below for examples).

prefix multiplier bits-to-bytes bytes-to-bits
kilo- (K) 1,000x 1Kb = 125B 1KB = 8Kb
mega- (M) 1,000,000x 1Mb = 125KB 1MB = 8Mb
giga- (G) 1,000,000,000x 1Gb = 125MB 1GB = 8Gb
tera- (T) 1,000,000,000,000x 1Tb = 125GB 1TB = 8Tb
Source: Atlantic.net

To distinguish between the two when abbreviating them, the lower-case “b” traditionally represents “bit”, whereas the upper-case “B” represents “byte”.Bytes are generally used when describing data capacity. We measure the sizes of our files and the hard drives that store them in gigabytes and terabytes (and, perhaps soon, petabytes!).

This can get confusing for many, especially if they are switching from a satellite or wireless provider that sells their packages based on usage, not speed. With Race, you are never charged for usage and you can rest assured that we won’t be throttling your speed after a certain amount of data is used. With us, you simply pay for the speed you want – and we make selecting a plan as easy as possible.

We offer 25Mbps as our Basic Broadband+ package and 1Gbps (1,000Mbps) as our “Gigafy Me” package. Both packages offer symmetrical speeds which means you are getting the same speed for your uploads and your downloads!

How fast is 1000Mbps or 125MB/s is in terms of usage? Below are examples of files with the average download duration:

  • MP3 file — 3MB, less than 1 second
  • TV episode — 350MB, 3 seconds
  • 720p High Definition TV episode — 950MB, 8 seconds
  • Blu-Ray Movie — 15GB, 2 minutes
Source: myrepublic.com

What is fiber optics and why is it better than copper?

Today, your Internet and TV services are probably connected to your home via copper wires. This technology has been around for over a hundred years, and it certainly wasn’t built for today’s uses and demands. Race Communications recognizes this and is working to build a network that will provide fiber optic internet to homes across the state of California. Now you may be wondering, what is fiber optic technology and is it better than copper? If so, why?

Fiber optic technology is far better and faster than copper at transmitting information, such as the bits that make up your favorite websites, Netflix shows, or online games. Fiber-optic cables are made of glass, and they use lasers to transmit information — close to the speed of light!

Investing in fiber-optic networks can significantly increase bandwidth potential and reliability. As mentioned earlier, copper infrastructure is limited because it was originally designed for transmitting the telegram! Think about that! The same infrastructure has been in use since the telegram – no wonder most homeowners are familiar with the slowdown that occurs when the clock hits 6:00 pm and everyone is home from work.

The signal for copper networks degrades as the signal is carried from the central office (CO) so distance is a huge factor in your internet’s performance. In contrast, when traveling over a long distance, fiber optic cables experience less signal loss than copper cabling. This is known as low attenuation. It is estimated that fiber loses only three percent signal strength going over 320 feet in distance. By contrast, copper loses 94 percent over the same distance.

While not everyone needs gigabit — or 1,000 megabits per second — the move to faster speeds is inevitable, and more companies are trying to offer these services, just look at Spectrum and Comcast. However, these providers do not use fiber optic technology and instead rely on the old copper wires. This means that the speeds will rarely (if ever) be symmetrical, data caps will apply and reliability will be an issue.

There are a number of factors that can cause outages when a company relies on a copper network – temperature fluctuations, severe weather conditions, and moisture can all cause a loss of connectivity. Old or worn copper cable can even present a fire hazard, due to the fact it carries an electric current – since fiber is made of glass it doesn’t present the same hazard!

Fiber optics is an amazing technology, but unfortunately, very few homes have direct access to fiber networks today. This is in large part due to the resource-intensive process of deploying new infrastructure – but Race Communications hasn’t let that slow us down, thanks to grants and partnerships with public and private entities!

If you are lucky enough to live in one of our fiber communities, don’t hesitate!

Submit an inquiry today to find out if you live in our fiber footprint (or if we are coming to a neighborhood near you soon) – or give us a call at 877-722-3833 to place your order!

Sources:
https://smallbiztrends.com/2015/08/fiber-optic-copper-wireless-internet-transmission-methods.html
https://www.atlantech.net/blog/8-advantages-of-fiber-optic-internet-over-copper-cable