Yes, you can. One of the advantages of VoIP is the ease in setting up the system and using the phones in remote offices – as long as they have appropriate Internet connections. Many businesses have taken advantage of this technology, while decreasing communication costs. According to a 2004 CIO magazine article,
Hat manufacturer New Era Cap uses VoIP to connect five disparate facilities while simultaneously slashing long-distance costs.
The VoIP technology has been around for a few years – it’s not experimental or something strange – it’s the way many businesses operate daily. Calling an office across the country is not a big deal in terms of costs or setup, even for the small business owner.
When considering VoIP plans, check those that include features, such as remote offices and long-distance calls. They may be part of a service bundle, or you may need to pay extra. Be sure that the provider has experience in this area.
You can choose your own area code regardless of where you are located. This may give business the ability to select a prestigious area code or an area code where most of your customers call you, avoiding long-distance charges. If a business is located in Colorado, but most of its prospective customers are located in New York, the phone number to contact those customers could contain New York area codes. This flexibility is great at first glance, but it comes with certain risks. Unscrupulous individuals have used VoIP to mask own phone numbers with the purpose of deceive and defraud. This is known as “spoofing” and it’s illegal in the U.S.
On December 22, 2010, President Obama signed into law the “Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009,”which prohibits the use of any caller identification service to mislead with the purpose of defraud, harm and obtain valuable information. So,the best approach is to be careful and upfront about using numbers that are not your original ones.
In spite of the new law, VoIP seems to be focus of fraudulent activity, such as “vishing,” where unscrupulous individuals acquire phone numbers just to steal social security numbers and other private information using the masking feature of the service. On March 7, 2011, the U.S. Credit Union, security resources page was updated to alert customers about this sneaky use of VoIP. You can check it out at http://www.usfed.org/home/fraudandsecurity/vishing
Using VoIP to call remote offices and customers can be a boom to your business, but be careful. You can place and receive calls using VoIP and many firms have done it with no problems. Your long distance costs may be slashed, allowing you to use the funds in other areas of your business. However, be aware of the current law and the possibility for fraud using this technology.
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