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Answering questions about the Prineville phone book

Each year, the Central Oregonian updates their listings to correct inaccuracies
Questions about the listings for the Prineville-Crook County Phone Book keep coming up from businesses as well as residential customers.
   We purchase our listings from CenturyLink (formerly Qwest) each year. This year’s listings arrived this past Friday. The “fun” can now begin.
   When they arrive, they are in a complicated format that is not guaranteed to be accurate. In past years, we have received the original file with fax numbers instead of phone numbers, names misspelled, wrong addresses, etc. The list of inaccuracies that can occur are many, and in many cases, there is nothing that we can do to correct them due to contractual agreements with CenturyLink. We then send the listings away to be formatted into a file that we can go through and clean-up to be republished.
   We then try to identify and separate the residential from the business listings so that we can include them in the yellow pages. After that process, we then try to best fit that business in a category that represents what they offer or do for the yellow-page listings. Only businesses that purchase ad placement have the opportunity to specify what heading(s) they are listed under.
   As many as six of our personnel go through the listings to make sure that everything is as accurate as possible, but we do miss some in the process. With that said, we can only guarantee inclusion, as well as the accuracy of business listings, of purchased advertisements in the Prineville-Crook County Phonebook for both the white and yellow pages. Many businesses do not have traditional landlines and rely on their customers reaching them through their cell numbers. Cell numbers are never included in the listings that we purchase and can only be included in the phonebook if the business contacts us and places an advertisement.
   We are now taking orders for the 2012-13 phonebook, so if you want to have your business included in this year’s publication, call us at 541-447-6205.
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   Partner 4 Kids takes place this Friday, June 1, at Erickson’s Thriftway, located at 315 N.W. Third St., and the checkout counters always have “piggy banks” for your loose change. On Tuesday, June 5, stop by Goody’s Chocolates, located at 346 N.W. Deer St., for a treat. When you shop locally at these locations on these dates, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Crook County Kids Club. For more information, go to www.crookcountykids.org.
   Prineville Veterinary Clinic is hosting “A night with your pet,” on Thursday, May 31, from 5 to 8 p.m. They are located at 350 N.E. Hickey Farms Drive. For more information, call 541-447-2179.
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   This Saturday, June 2, Ericksons Thriftway will be hosting their 7th annual Barbecue Benefit, at 315 N.W. Third St., with the proceeds going to help Steffy Woolsey and her family with medical costs. This event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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   Pacific Power is warning its customers in Oregon, Washington and California to be aware of scammers posing as company customer service agents or attorneys and offering phony bill credits.
   During the con, consumers, often the elderly, are told that under a new federal grant, they can receive a utility bill credit or have their bills paid directly. Of course, the potential victims are told they must first provide their social security, credit card, or check routing number to take advantage of this deal. Pacific Power verifies that no such federal program exists and customers should hang up and report any attempts to get their personal information to local police and Pacific Power.
   Pacific Power offers the following suggestions for customer safety and security:
   1. Pacific Power employees always wear identification badges when performing work in the field. If the ID is not visible and you don't see any other Pacific Power logo, you should ask the individual to show you their badge.
   2. All Pacific Power vehicles are marked with the company’s name or logo. If you are approached by someone claiming to be from Pacific Power, check to see if their vehicle is clearly marked and/or ask for identification.
   3. Verification is easy: If you have any doubts or concerns that a visitor or caller represents Pacific Power, call toll-free at 1-888-221-7070 to confirm the person’s identity and role with the company before proceeding with any transaction.
   4. If Pacific Power contacts a customer, the representative will always have the customer’s account number. Even then, if you are approached by phone and have any concerns about the validity of the call, it is always appropriate to let the caller know you prefer to call them back later. Customer service representatives can always be reached through the toll-free 1-888-221-7070 number, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
   5. If a customer calls Pacific Power to ask questions or pay their bill, the customer will be asked specifically to verify his or her identity to protect access to their account.
   6. Pacific Power employees will not demand immediate payment for damaged or broken electrical equipment or any other service. Be suspicious of anyone who approaches you and asks for on-the-spot payment, especially if they ask for cash.
   7. Customers should never provide unsolicited callers or visitors with credit card numbers or any other information that may compromise their financial security.
   8. Pacific Power encourages customers to consider paperless billing. Not only is it environmentally-friendly, it is more secure than billing by mail. Every bill you receive on paper is more costly to resources and also is an opportunity for account information theft from the mail box or the trash can.
   9. Anyone receiving suspicious visits or calls about their utility bill is encouraged to pay attention to any information — such as license plate numbers, a number that appears on caller ID, or an address where they’re supposed to send money — and to report the incident to local police and Pacific Power.
   For additional information, call Pacific Power toll-free at 1-888-221-7070, or visit www.pacificpower.net.