What are Loudoun County Area Codes?
The area code system for telecommunications was established in 1947 and was called the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). An area code is the three-digit part of a telephone number that routes long-distance calls to their destination. An area code is useful in identifying the origin and destination of a phone call. You can find the area code for a community or region in the United States by using area code lookup tools online.
There are currently three area codes covering Loudoun County. These are:
Area Code 571
Area code 571 was created from area code 703 and first used on March 1, 2000. It is located in northeastern Virginia and covers Arlington, Alexandria, Centreville, Dale City, and Reston. Area code 571 is an overlay for area code 703 and serves the same area. Other cities covered by area code 571 include McLean, Ashburn, Leesburg, Lake Ridge, Burke, and Annandale.
Area Code 703
Area code 703 originally served the entire State of Virginia and was split in 1995 to create area code 540. The area code serves Arlington, Centreville, Dale City, and Reston. It has a single overlay (area code 571) that serves the same area. Other areas served by area code 703 include Marumsco, Manassas, Oakton, Fair Oaks, and West Falls Church.
Area Code 540
Area code 540 was first used in July 1995 but was split in 2001 creating the need to update some phone numbers to area code 276. Area code 540 is located in northern Virginia and covers Roanoke, Harrisonburg, and Blacksburg. It is the only area code serving those areas. Other cities served by area code 540 include Winchester, Cave Spring, and Salem.
What Are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Loudoun County?
A 2018 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics estimated that 49.1% of adults aged 18 and above in Virginia used wireless-only telephony service, while 4.9% used landline-only service exclusively. Among persons below the age of 18 in the state, 62.3% used wireless-only telephony service, while 2.3% used landline-only telephony service.
T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint all offer cell phone plans in Loudoun County. However, the coverage score for each carrier varies. In the county seat of Leesburg, T-Mobile and Verizon have the highest coverage scores with 96% and 92% respectively. AT&T has a coverage score of 76%, while Sprint services are available in about 62% of the city. Loudoun County residents may also purchase cell phone plans from Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) typically offering cheaper cell phone plans. MVNOs buy minutes, text, and data at wholesale prices from major carriers and resell to residents. MVNOs also offer a variety of options that can help residents save on their monthly expenditures.
VoIP services are also available from providers of the service thereby adding to other wireless options as provided by MVNOs and major carriers. VoIP refers to Voice over Internet Protocol, a technology that allows users to make calls at low costs through the internet as opposed to using analog phone lines to route calls. Since VoIP leverages on existing technology - the internet, to make phone calls possible, users do not have to incur the installation expense of the service provider.
What Are Loudoun County Phone Scams?
Loudoun County phone scams are crafty and fraudulent practices of crooked individuals perpetrated using phone calls with the intention of obtaining the personal and financial information of Loudoun County residents. Phone scammers usually pretend to represent trusted bodies, such as the police, utility providers, computer companies, and banks. They employ various tricks to con residents into divulging their personal and sensitive information. Their tricks are relentless and very persuasive. You can use free reverse phone lookup tools to verify the identity of the person behind a call. The most common phone scams in Loudoun County are listed below.
What are Loudoun County “Nigerian 419” Scams?
Although the Nigerian 419 scam is one of the earliest forms of phone scams, it remains common in Loudoun County. Here, a scammer contacts you out of the blue and tells you an elaborate story about large amounts of money trapped in a bank in a foreign country. Most times, the country of choice is usually currently in the news. The scammer may also tell you about a large inheritance that is difficult to access because of government restrictions or taxes in the country. The scammer will then offer you a huge sum of money to help transfer the personal fortune out of the country.
This scam is commonly referred to as the Nigerian 419 scam because the first wave of this trick came from Nigeria. The "419" part of the name is associated with the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code which forbids the practice. In recent times, this scam has been observed to originate from other countries. You can use conduct a reverse phone lookup international search online to verify who called.
A con artist perpetrating this scam may ask for your bank details to help them transfer the supposedly trapped money. Once you divulge your bank details, the scammer uses the information to steal your funds. The scammer may ask you to pay fees, charges, or taxes through your bank that will facilitate the release or transfer of the money out of the foreign country. The fees may start out as small amounts, however, if paid, the scammer makes up new fees that require payment through your bank before you can receive your reward. The scammer will keep asking for more money for as long as you are willing to part with it. In the end, you will never get the reward promised because there was no trapped money in the first place.
What are Loudoun County Lottery/Inheritance Scams?
In a lottery or inheritance scam, the target receives an unsolicited call from someone who says the target has won or inherited a large sum of money in a lottery or inheritance. The scammer may pose as a lawyer, banker, or another foreign official, and claim that the deceased left no beneficiaries.
In another variation of this scam, the caller may say that an unrelated wealthy person has died without a will and that the target can inherit the deceased's fortune through some trickery because they share the same last name. The scammer says the inheritance is difficult to access due to government regulations, bank restrictions, or taxes in the country where the money is held, and that the target must transfer some funds and provide personal details to claim it.
What are Loudoun County Secret Shopper Scams?
Con artists are always looking for opportunities to take advantage of persons who may be looking for additional income to make ends meet. Loudoun County residents are reporting a scam where they are led to believe that they are obtaining employment as secret shoppers but instead are defrauded of their money. While some companies do hire secret shopper services to analyze their customer service by having secret shoppers buy some goods or services and report their experiences, crooked individuals operating the secret shopper scam do not offer such service.
Instead, scammers convince Loudoun County residents that they will pay them for shopping by sending them checks that later turn out to be fake. Before a resident determines that the check is fake, the scammer convinces the resident to wire a certain amount of the fake check back to the caller's account while the remainder of the money can be kept as payment for the service rendered, and to purchase the agreed-upon goods or services as a secret shopper. Once the scammer receives the wire transfer, they make away with the victim's money for good. If the victim has made secret shopper purchases from a personal account before discovering that the check is fraudulent, such funds will be lost as well.
What are Loudoun County Family-in-Distress Scams?
In this scam, a scammer poses as a relative or friend of the target and claims to be in an emergency, like leaving a foreign country, getting out of jail, or paying a hospital bill. The aim is to get you to send money urgently before you realize it is a scam. A scammer may visit social media sites to obtain information about the target or the target's family. To appear legitimate, a scammer may enlist the help of another crooked individual who poses as a lawyer or police officer.
In a family member in distress scam, the con artist is relying on the love and concern of the target to overshadow any skepticism that may arise concerning the legitimacy of the distressful situation. Many instances of this scam involve the scammer insisting that the target keeps the caller’s request for money confidential. Many Loudoun County residents who have fallen victim to this scam did not realize they have been tricked until several days later when they spoke to their actual relatives who knew nothing about the "emergency". However, by then, funds transferred could not be recovered. Using reverse phone lookup tools can help verify if the number on your phone’s display is truly registered to the caller ID.
What are Loudoun County Caller ID Scams?
Caller ID service was created as a convenience service to help call recipients quickly identify callers. However, scammers now use the same service to commit crimes easily. Using spoofing technology, a scammer can now change the Caller ID to any number they want, including numbers from trusted companies, government agencies, and even your own number. Many vendors offer services that allow individuals to select whether they want to sound like a male or female, and the number to display at the other end of the call for a small fee.
By mimicking the caller ID of reputable organizations, Loudoun County residents can be more easily fooled into believing that scammers are who they say they are and are tricked into providing money or personal information.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are phone calls initiated through computerized auto-dialers to deliver prerecorded messages to phone users. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it is a robocall. With the advancement in technology, businesses and telemarketers can use autodialers to make thousands of phone calls every minute at low costs.
You may get robocalls from political candidates running for office or charities asking for donations. In most cases, those robocalls are legal. However, if the recording is a sales message and you have not consented to receive such calls, the call is illegal and is considered a spam call. Many robocalls are used by scammers to fleece unsuspecting Loudoun County residents.
According to a report by the FTC, an average of 7.6 calls per person were placed per month to smartphone users in America in 2017. Robocall complaints also went up more than 50% from the previous year. One way to combat the scourge of robocalls is to use reverse phone lookup tools to verify the identity of incoming calls. Other steps that may be taken to limit robocalls include:
- Do not interact with a robocall: If you answer a call and hear a prerecorded message, hang up immediately. Do not press a button, wait for an agent, or even speak. Anything you do that shows that your number is real and active makes you a bigger target for promotions, real or fake, in the future.
- Add your number to the Do Not Call Registry: Register your number on the National Do Not Call List maintained by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC requires legitimate telemarketers to consult the list before placing robocalls.
- Do not trust your caller ID. With spoofing technology, it is now possible to falsify the name on the caller ID display.
- Ask your phone service provider to block unwanted calls. Some of these providers provide call-blocking or call-screening services as add-on and in-plan services.
- Use a third-party call-screening app. You can download a third-party call-blocking app from major mobile application stores. Examples include Nomorobo, Hiya, and Truecaller.
How to Spot and Report Loudoun County Phone Scams?
Scammers are getting more sophisticated in their tricks and methods used to defraud Loudoun County residents. These crooked individuals will use every deceptive act possible to lure residents into releasing sensitive information and obtaining their money. Tools such as reverse phone number lookup services are effective in identifying potential phone scams. The following are pointers to identify possible phone scams:
- Delayed greeting: If you answer a call but the person on the other end does not respond right away, chances are that an automatic dialer was used to place a robocall to you. You may hear nothing, clicking, or a series of tones before a real person gets on the line. Typically, a scammer makes countless calls, hoping that a person will answer, and when someone does, it takes them some time to respond.
- The caller says there is a problem with an unknown account: A red flag that you are being targeted in a phone scam is when the caller says there is a problem with your credit product or utility provider, even though you do not have an account with that company. Initially, you may wonder if it could be an old account you have forgotten about. Do not take the bait. If you receive a call from a company or vendor you are not subscribed to, that is your cue to hang up.
- The tone of the conversation becomes aggressive: At first, the caller may sound normal, so you many do not raise any eyebrows. However, when it starts to seem off and you question the nature of the call, the caller may become irritable or aggressive. Once you notice that, it is an intimidation tactic and a major red flag. An unsolicited phone call where the caller becomes hostile is a strong reason to hang up. It is also a reason to block that number to prevent that caller from reaching you again.
- You have to identify yourself: If you receive a call, and the caller asks you to identify yourself, it is a definite red flag. The person called and should know who you are. If the caller asks you to provide your personal data such as Social Security number, address, name, and account numbers so the conservation can continue, you are likely to be on a call to a scammer.
Public institutions that assist Loudoun County residents in dealing with scammers include:
- The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office: If you have fallen victim to a phone scam in Loudoun County, you may contact the county sheriff's office at (703) 777-1021.
- The Virginia Attorney General's Office: The Office of the Virginia Attorney General receives phone scam complaints from residents through an online complaint form.
- Federal Communications Commission: If you receive unwanted robocalls and text messages, you can file a report online with the FCC.Federal Trade Commission - The FTC protects consumers from deceptive and fraudulent practices. You can file a phone scam report with the FTC by completing the online complaint form.