The telephone system that most Americans take for granted bewilders and even frightens many recent immigrants. That's the conclusion of a new survey of 408 adult Asians and Hispanics who have arrived in the U.S. within the past five years and have telephones at home. Some 20% didn't know 911 was the number to call in emergencies, 50% didn't know that 411 gets you local directory assistance, and 28% didn't know that operator-assisted international calls cost more than direct-dialed calls. What's more, almost 40% of those surveyed feared someone might be listening in on their calls, and 14% said they had been victims of phone fraud or knew someone who had.
The survey by Miami-based Market Segment Research was sponsored by Sprint Corp. in cooperation with the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs. To educate immigrants about telephones, Sprint has commissioned a San Francisco-based consumer group, Consumer Action, to prepare a print and TV educational campaign aimed at Asian and Hispanic immigrants in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and various cities in Texas.