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FCC staff talk scams, TV changes in Skagit County

September 20, 2018

MOUNT VERNON — Federal Communications Commission staff held a public meeting Monday with Skagit County commissioners to discuss the agency’s ongoing work.

“This is the first of hopefully many rural tours, trying to get out of the other Washington,” said Roger Goldblatt, deputy bureau chief of the agency’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.

Goldblatt said much of what people hear about the FCC is highly technical and doesn’t have a direct impact on their lives.

With these rural tours, he said the agency is aiming to communicate parts of the agency’s work that is more relevant to residents.

The majority of complaints the agency receives are for robocalls and scam phone calls, he said.

People can take precautions against these scams by putting their number on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call list, but Goldblatt said scammers are unlikely to comply.

“If you’re trying to steal money from people, you’re not going to pay attention to the rules,” he said.

The best way to avoid becoming a victim of a scam is to not answer calls from unknown numbers, he said.

“It’s really important not to answer your phone, but if you do, be careful what you say,” he said.

Becky Lockhart, consumer education and outreach specialist with the agency, addressed an upcoming change to broadcast TV planned for 2020.

People using an antenna to watch TV over the air will have to perform a re-scan to access their local channels.

People using satellite or cable won’t be affected by the change, she said.

The group will continue its tour this week, with scheduled public meetings in Seattle, Chehalis and Canby, Oregon.

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