When a loved one is incarcerated, staying connected is critical to their emotional well-being and successful reintegration after release. However, calling prisoners can be very expensive and costly, with hidden costs adding up quickly. Fortunately, there are ways to save money on calling inmates without sacrificing quality or safety. This guide will explore the inmate calling process, offer advice on how to do it right, offer tips and tricks for successful execution, and provide guidance on how to avoid scams and find a facility that fits your needs. Finally, we’ll provide advice on how to manage your user account like a pro for the best user experience and security.
understand the process
Before we get into the details, it’s important to understand the basic flow of a prisoner phone call. Calls are usually made from designated phones within the facility and the call is charged to the inmate’s account or the recipient’s account. Rates and fees vary widely depending on facility and phone service provider, but prices can range from a few cents per minute to a few dollars per minute, plus additional fees for call setup, account activation, and other services .
How it works Step-by-step guide
First, prisoners must call a designated phone number within the facility. They typically enter a personal identification number (PIN) and select the desired recipient from a pre-approved list. Once the call is connected, the recipient will hear a message that the call is from an inmate at the designated facility and will be charged accordingly.
Next, the recipient can choose to accept or decline the call. If they accept, the call goes through and they are given a set amount of time to speak to the prisoner, usually up to 30 minutes per call. If they decline, the call is dropped and the prisoner needs to call back later or try another answerer.
It’s worth noting that some facilities may limit the days of the day or days of the week in which inmates can make calls. Also, some facilities may monitor and record all phone calls for security purposes, so it is important to be aware of what goes into those conversations.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that there are other options for communicating with prisoners, such as email or video visits. These options may have different costs and restrictions, but they can provide a way to keep in touch with an incarcerated loved one.
Mastering the Art: How to Do It Right
In order to save the prisoner the cost of calling, it is important to know how to do it correctly. Here are some tips to remember:
Tips and tricks for successful execution
- Research your options: Before choosing a phone service provider, research their rates, costs, and customer reviews. Look for a provider that offers competitive rates, transparent pricing, and great customer service.
- Choose a local number: Many phone service providers offer local numbers that can reduce long-distance call costs. Select a local number if available and approved by the institution.
- Prepaid phone calls: Some phone service providers offer prepaid phone plans that save you money compared to pay-per-view. Prepaid plans usually require a minimum deposit and may have expiration dates or usage restrictions, so read the fine print carefully.
- Choose time to call wisely: Avoid calling during peak hours or holidays, when rates may be higher. Instead, try calling during off-peak hours or on weekdays to get the best rates.
- Keep calls short: Most phone service providers charge by the minute, so keep calls short and to the point. You can always schedule another call if needed.
It is worth noting that some facilities may have restrictions on the telephone service providers that prisoners can use. Be sure to check with the facility to see if there are any approved providers, or if there are any restrictions on the types of calls that can be made. Additionally, some providers may offer additional services, such as video visitation or messaging, which can also help keep costs down and keep inmates connected to loved ones.
Protect Yourself: How to Avoid Scams
Common scams to watch out for
Unfortunately, phone scams targeting inmates’ family and friends are very common. To protect yourself, be wary of these common scams:
- Prepaid Account Scam: Scammers pose as phone service providers and offer to set up prepaid accounts for prisoners at a discount. They may ask for personal information or an advance payment and disappear with the money.
- Cash advance scams: Scammers pose as lawyers or bail bondsmen and offer to help with a loved one’s legal or financial needs. They may ask for an upfront payment and disappear with the money.
- Voicemail Scam: Scammers call recipients and leave messages claiming to be prisoners in distress. They may ask for a call back or contact information, which is then used for fraudulent purposes.
Find your facility
To avoid scams and ensure a positive experience calling inmates, it is crucial to find a facility that suits your needs. Consider the following when searching for facilities:
- Location: If possible, choose a facility close to the prisoner’s family and support network.
- Service: Look for facilities that offer reliable phone service, reasonable rates, and good customer service.
- Security: Ensure that the facility has adequate security measures to protect inmates and visitors.
Additional information on avoiding scams
It’s important to remember that scammers are always coming up with new tactics to trick people. Some may even use social media to target inmates’ family and friends. Be wary of any unsolicited messages or friend requests from strangers. Also, never give out personal information or send money to anyone without verifying its legitimacy.
keep in touch with prisoners
While the phone is one way to keep in touch with prisoners, there are other options. Many facilities offer video visitation services, which allow you to meet and talk with loved ones through a secure online platform. Also, sending a letter or love package is a great way to show support and keep in touch.
Manage your user account like a pro
Tips for Optimizing User Experience
To get the most out of your inmate phone account, follow these tips:
- Track Your Usage: Track your call history and bill payments to ensure you are charged correctly and avoid overage or hidden charges.
- Set up automatic payments: Many phone service providers offer automatic payment options that can save you time and reduce the risk of missing payments.
- Update your contact list: Keep your contact list current and make sure all recipients are approved by the facility and phone service provider.
- Review and understand the terms of service: Read the terms of service carefully and ask questions if you don’t understand any terms or fees.
How to keep your account safe and protected
- Create a strong password: Choose a unique and complex password that contains a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Enable two-factor authentication: Many phone service providers offer two-factor authentication options that can add an extra layer of security to your user account.
- Monitor your account for unauthorized activity: Check your account activity regularly and contact your phone service provider immediately if you notice any suspicious activity.
With these tips and tricks, you can save money on inmate calls while staying in touch with loved ones. Remember to research your options, choose a reputable phone service provider, and be wary of common scams. By mastering the art of calling prisoners and managing your user account like a pro, you can ensure a positive experience and keep in touch with your loved ones in times of need.
Another great tip for optimizing your user experience is to take advantage of any rewards or loyalty programs your phone service provider offers. These plans can offer discounts or other benefits to frequent users to help you save money on calling charges.
It is also important to keep your mobile phone and other devices secure to prevent unauthorized access to your user account. Be sure to lock your phone with a passcode or biometric authentication, and avoid sharing your login information with others.