What are Fairfax County Area Codes?
An area code, the string of three digits in front of a phone number, distinguishes a particular Numbering Plan Area (NPA). While they are allotted by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) administers area codes in Fairfax County.
Two area codes serve Fairfax County, covering all of the county’s suburbs along with some other parts of Northern Virginia.
Area Code 703
Created in 1947 as one of the original 86 area codes, area code 703 is a Virginia telephone area code in the NANP. It covers all of Fairfax County and the surrounding independent cities, including the City of Fairfax. It initially covered the entire Commonwealth of Virginia but was reduced to the northern regions in June 1999. Some other communities covered by this area code include Annandale, Centreville, Herndon, and Groveton.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Fairfax County?
A 2018 National Centre for Health Statistics survey reported that approximately 49% of Virginia adults relied solely on cell phones. Adults who exclusively used landline phones, on the other hand, constituted 4.9% of that population. These statistics point to a waning preference for landline phones among consumers.
The four major carriers provide phone services in Fairfax County. While they offer extensive coverage, network quality tends to suffer around the Blue Ridge mountains and in the rural parts of the county. Verizon holds the top position for network coverage with 93.3% coverage of the state. In contrast, Sprint provides the least coverage with 76.6%. AT&T follows closely behind Verizon, covering 90.1% of locations in the state while T-Mobile covers 81.6%.
Ready access to broadband internet has spurred the speedy adoption of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services in Fairfax County. VoIP phone services are more affordable and more flexible than other telephony services. These benefits are largely responsible for the rapidly increasing number of residential and business VoIP subscriptions in the county.
What are Fairfax County Phone Scams?
These are fraudulent acts targeted at county residents by scammers contacting them by phone. Phone scams deceive victims into making payments or revealing sensitive information that is used to steal money and identities. Phone number lookup tools are useful in identifying potential phone scams.
The following federal, state, and county institutions educate residents about prevalent phone scams and consumer fraud:
- Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office
- Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services
- Office of the Virginia Attorney General
- Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS)
- Federal Trade Commission
- Federal Communications Commission
Residents can file reports of phone scams with any of the above entities. Some typical scams in Fairfax County are:
What are Tech Support Scams?
Scammers feign legitimate affiliations with reputable IT firms to deceive their marks into paying for expensive and needless tech support and repair services. Alternatively, they use calls and online pop-ups to convince their victims of non-existent problems with their computers. They then request for remote access to the systems to better diagnose them and find solutions. However, these scammers have only one objective: to gain access to these computers to steal personal information or plant harmful software.
Residents should never grant remote access to their devices to unknown persons over unsolicited phone calls. Residents can verify the claims of tech support staff by running their names and numbers through reverse phone lookups. Victims should report incidents of this scam online to the Virginia Attorney General’s Office or by calling (800) 552-9963.
What are Utility scams?
The Dominion Energy Company (DEC) (formerly Dominion Power Company) is a power utility company that serves Virginia State consumers. Scammers pose as representatives of Dominion Energy Company and coerce residents into sending them payments for unpaid bills. Using threats of service disconnection, scammers get victims to make payments or provide sensitive financial information. Unusual payment means, like prepaid debit, are their preferred methods of receiving payments from their victims.
In another version of this scam, scammers trick consumers into sharing their personal information by offering discounts on future electricity bills. To establish credibility, scammers manipulate Caller ID information to show the service numbers of the Dominion Energy Company. The DEC informs customers that its representatives will never call about disconnections before sending multiple notices by mail. They will also not insist on specific payment types. Consumers targeted by this scam can use free reverse phone lookup services to ascertain their callers’ identities. Consumer complaints can also be forwarded to the Dominion Energy Company.
What are Charity Scams?
This scam is particularly widespread during natural disasters and pandemics as scammers take advantage of people’s natural inclination to help and provide support. While posing as representatives of reputable charities, they make phone solicitations for donations and organize fundraising drives claiming to assist victims. Potential donors should exercise due diligence with their choice of charities. Calls soliciting for charitable donations should be handled with greater caution.
A good reverse phone lookup can provide residents with information regarding the legitimacy of charities or fundraisers. A resident can also run a check with the Virginia DACS Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs (OCRP). An online search can be conducted within the OCRP’s Charitable Organization Database to verify a charity’s legitimacy. Residents whose donations have been fraudulently obtained should file complaints with the Virginia Attorney General’s Office or call 1 (800) 552-9963.
What are Federal Stimulus Check Scams?
Virginia State Attorney General has recently raised alarm about these scams that exploit the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fraudsters latch onto the federal government promise of stimulus check payments to defraud residents. Purporting to represent federal agencies, scammers call residents to ask for their bank account information. They claim the information is a requirement for receiving direct deposits of one-time stimulus payments.
In some other cases, scammers demand upfront fees from residents as a prerequisite for expediting stimulus check payments. Residents targeted by these scammers can perform reverse phone searches by number to retrieve their information. Residents who have been deceived into sharing their personal information can submit complaints to the Consumer Protection Section of the Virginia Attorney General’s Office.
What are Robocall Scams and Spam Calls?
Robocalls use automated dialers to deliver preset messages to a lot of people. They are predominantly used by telemarketing and political campaigns. However, they have most recently become associated with phone scams that target residents for money and sensitive information. Robocalls provide scammers with anonymity and chances to convincingly pose as employees of reputable companies to execute their fraudulent schemes. Residents have experienced an upsurge in automated calls as a result of fraudsters’ use of robocalls. Usually, doing a reverse phone search free of charge can shed light on spam calls and robocalls.
Robocalls are best be handled in the following ways:
- Get off the phone once you confirm a call is a robocall. Because robocalls aim to hold your attention, you should ignore any message to be unlisted or speak with a live agent.
- Request for free call-blocking procedures and resources from your carrier. Spoofed robocalls that fake different phone numbers are often used by scammers and these make it costly to use paid call-blocking options.
- Notify the FTC about illegal robocalls by calling 1 (888) 382-1222 or by reporting online.
- Enroll your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. The FCC prohibits commercial firms and telemarketers from targeting numbers in the registry with sales calls. This makes it easy for subsequent spam calls to be identified as likely scam calls. The FTC also informs consumers on how to block unwanted calls on any platform on its website.
- Search the web for a public site that provides free reverse phone lookup service to verify a robocall number.
How To Spot and Report Fairfax Phone Scams?
Phone scams are getting increasingly harder to spot as con artists regularly hatch out newer and craftier tactics to target victims. Therefore, adequate consumer protection is achieved through vigilance and education.
Another useful tool for combating consumer fraud and phone scams is a good reverse phone lookup service. Persons who suspect unknown callers are scammers can use these tools to uncover the scammers’ identities and discourage further attacks. Watch out for the following signs when responding to an unknown caller, who might be a scammer:
- Unexpected calls with requests for sensitive information by unknown persons claiming to be representatives of reputable agencies are major scam alarms. Reputable organizations know better than to ask for financial information over unsolicited phone calls.
- Scammers use intimidation and threats to coerce sensitive information like PINs, bank details, and account passwords from their marks. By making their targets afraid and embarrassed, scammers can successfully disorient their victims long enough to pull off their scams.
- Scammers prefer to leave behind nothing that can lead to them after they get their victims to part with money. Payments made via unconventional payment means like wire transfers, iTunes gift cards, and cryptocurrency are very often untraceable. These are the payment methods favored by scammers.
- Fraudsters advertise enticing free offers like prizes or lottery winnings to lure their targets. However, they always ask for advance payments before their victims can claim these offers.
Scammers usually succeed when their targets are ignorant of their schemes. Therefore, staying informed is an effective way to tackle consumer fraud and phone scams. Phone number searches by name and address are also very useful in retrieving identifying information on suspicious callers. Government agencies dedicated to assisting residents in the fight against phone scams include:
Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office - The Sheriff’s Office provides security county residents and actively alerts them to prevalent scams. Scammed residents can submit complaints online to the Sheriff’s Office or by calling (703) 246-3227.
Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services - This Department regulates cable communication and handles consumer affairs through mediation. They are also committed to the safety of Fairfax County consumers and offer consumer information. Consumers who have complaints or require mediation/arbitration can reach the Department online.
Office of the Virginia Attorney General - The Virginia Attorney General’s Office provides scam alerts and consumer protection news for the state. Residents who have fallen victim to scams can file online complaints with the AG’s Office or call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1 (800) 552-9963
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) - The VDACS guarantees consumer protection and promotes agricultural development in the state. Aggrieved consumers can forward their complaints to the VDACS via emails.
Federal Trade Commission- Created to protect consumers from misleading and fraudulent trade acts. The FTC also oversees the National Do Not Call Registry. Persons who continue to receive unwanted calls after listing their numbers on the DNC can then report them as scam calls. Individuals can also learn about call-blocking directions on the FTC’s website. Consumers who have experienced unfair commercial practices can lodge reports online or by dialing 1 (888) 382-1222.
Federal Communications Commission - The FCC oversees interstate and foreign communications in the United States. They also help keep American consumers safe from unlawful robocalls and phone scams by offering information on stopping illegal robocalls and texts. Persons targeted by illegal robocalls or scams can complete online complaint forms on the FCC website.