When you live in the Philippines, or elsewhere overseas, you may wish to maintain a telephone number in the U.S. For example, because I use my U.S. credit card overseas they sometimes call me with a “fraud inquiry” to find out if I authorized a particular charge. There are many other circumstances where you may wish to have a permanent U.S. phone number so that people can reach you by phone or fax no matter where you may be in the world.
There are a number of options for maintaining a U.S. phone number. Vonage, Skype and other VOIP vendors offer such numbers. I have had a Skype U.S. number, but now use Maxemail (www.maxemail.com) because it’s cheap and reliable. I found the Skype answering system to be unreliable and besides, more expensive. Especially annoying was that it would constantly “lose” our personalized message and so play a generic one. Callers are reassured if they hear a personalized message in your own voice. Getting a computer-generated generic message can raise more questions.
With Maxemail, you can choose a number in a specific city (that costs more) or you can accept whatever number they assign you. With the proliferation of cell phones, having a number in the area code where you live has become pretty irrelevant. I use the “Lite” versions of Maxemail which costs $24.95 per year.
Once you have your account with Maxemail, you can record a personal message in your voice which will be played when someone calls your number. Callers will be given the option of leaving a voice message or sending a fax. The messages they leave are saved and immediately sent to your e-mail address. There will be an e-mail in your inbox with an attached audio recording of the telephone voice message. You can choose which audio format works best for you. I use Real Audio.
If you receive a fax, it will be converted into a PDF file and sent to your e-mail address. You can also send faxes (at a small extra charge) using the Maxemail service. Supported file types include: .doc, .xls, .txt, .pdf, .tif, .html, .htm, .gif, .jpg and others. I almost always use PDF.
We don’t have any interest in Maxemail, except that it works well for us.