An area code is the first set of three digits that appear at the beginning of a ten-digit telephone number series. According to the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), every geographical area in North America is divided into Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs) known as area codes. These area codes identify the destination or originating locations of specific calls. Individuals that receive calls from unknown area codes can easily use reverse phone lookup tools to conduct area code lookups. This will help them recognize the originating locations of the calls.
Area Code 540
Area code 540 covers the north-western region of the State of Virginia. It is the only area code that serves Spotsylvania County, including Spotsylvania Courthouse and Partlow. Area code 540 was created on July 15, 1995, when area code 703 was divided. Following the constant growth of telecommunication services in the coverage area of area code 540, it became imperative to split the area. Hence, on September 1, 2001, the farthest western region of Virginia was set as a distinct numbering plan area with area code 276. Furthermore, area code 540 is predicted to exhaust in 2022.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Spotsylvania County?
T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon are the top three wireless phone service providers in Spotsylvania County. Among the three, T-Mobile has the best coverage in the county with 92%. AT&T has the second-best coverage with 80%, and Verizon follows with 72% coverage.
According to the telephone status survey released by the National Center of Health Statistics in 2018, a clear preference for wireless telephones over landlines is evident among adults and minors in Virginia. The survey indicates that an estimate of 49.1% of adults in Virginia solely used wireless telephones, while about 4.9% of the Virginia adult population used only landlines. On the other hand, the telephone status survey of minors in Virginia indicates that an estimate of 62.3% of the Virginia minors solely used wireless telephones. In comparison, only 2.3% of Virginia minors solely used landlines.
The use of VoIP in Spotsylvania County has tremendously grown. Residents have begun to use VoIP in combination with wireless telephones or even as alternatives to it. VoIP means Voice over Internet Protocol. It is an advancement from regular Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN) to the use of high-speed internet connections to transmit telephone conversations. Residents and businesses in Spotsylvania County embrace VoIP as a better option for making local and international calls because of its affordability. VoIP is also significantly more flexible and can be adopted for the scalability of businesses because of its various sophisticated features. Some of these features include call screening, call recording/monitoring, Caller ID spoofing, conference calling, automated attendant, call forwarding/voicemail, etc.
What are Spotsylvania County Phone Scams?
Spotsylvania County phone scams involve the perpetration of fraudulent acts aimed at swindling unwary residents over the phone. Fraudsters deceive county residents by impersonating legitimate organizations and individuals that the targets are familiar with. Unfortunately, some Spotsylvania County residents fall for these schemes, especially when the fraudsters call with the spoofed Caller IDs of the impersonated entities. Hence, they lose valuables and confidential information to these scammers. This is why residents must be wary of phone scams and not wholly trust the Caller ID information displayed on their phones. Fraudsters typically impersonate the IRS, Social Security Administration, Medicare, law enforcement agencies, health institutions, financial institutions, legitimate businesses.
Spotsylvania County residents can exploit free reverse phone lookup services to perform phone number lookups to identify who called. Reverse phone lookup services also help identify spoofed Caller IDs.
Popular scams perpetrated in Spotsylvania County are:
What are Spotsylvania County Romance Scams?
Spotsylvania County romance scams involve scammers developing romantic relationships through social media or online dating websites and apps. They prey on residents innocently looking for love, and try to gain their trust. Once they can gain their trust, they strike and begin requesting money for them supposedly to process their travel arrangements or sort out certain family emergencies. In some cases, the scammers bring up false claims and request personal and financial information for identity theft.
Residents are encouraged to always conduct background checks on any potential lover before getting too deep into the relationship. They may also use the supposed lovers’ phone numbers to conduct reverse phone lookups to verify that they are who they claim to be. Residents should never pay money to persons they meet online, nor share their personal and financial details with them.
What are Spotsylvania County Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams?
Lottery and sweepstakes scams in Spotsylvania County involve scammers trying to deceive residents into believing that they have won lotteries and sweepstakes. The scammers present these offers to residents, emphasizing the huge returns they will supposedly get. They tell their targets that the offers are only reserved for a few people, and they are among the few lucky ones. However, they will request upfront payment of processing fees to receive the lotteries and sweepstakes. Spotsylvania County residents should ignore such calls and verify who called by conducting phone number lookups using reverse phone look up tools.
What are Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office Impersonation Scams?
Fraudsters in these scams impersonate deputies of the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office by spoofing the Caller ID of the Spotsylvania County Sheriff Office. This enhances the believability of the scams, making unsuspecting residents fall for their scams. The fraudsters tell their targets that they owe the Sheriff’s Office certain fees for uncleared fines, and they need to pay immediately to avoid arrests. On the other hand, the imposters may tell the recipients that they have warrants for their arrests and they must pay certain fees to avoid arrest.
Spotsylvania County residents are advised to ignore such calls because the Sheriff’s Office never calls to threaten individuals with arrests. Residents that need to verify the claims made by these callers may contact the Sheriff’s Office at 540-507-7200. Reverse cell phone lookup tools may also be used to identify spoofed Caller IDs.
What are Spotsylvania County IRS Scams?
In Spotsylvania County IRS scams, scammers target taxpayers in the county, especially during tax seasons. They take up the identities of legitimate IRS officers and even spoof their Caller IDs in some cases. The scammers then tell residents that they owe back taxes, and failure to pay will result in the targets being arrested, deported, or have their licenses revoked. Typically, the scammers tell their targets to remain on the phone while making the calls to prevent the targets from conducting background checks. They specify that payment must be made via prepaid cards, gift cards, green dot cards, PayPal, iTunes, bitcoins, or wire transfers. Residents should note that these payment methods are untraceable, and retrieving money that has already been paid may be impossible.
It is vital to note that the IRS never demands payment over the phone, especially through unconventional payment methods. The IRS also does not call residents out of the blues without first prompting them of the calls with mails. Spotsylvania County residents that receive such calls are advised to hang up immediately and confirm the callers’ claims by contacting the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) online. They may also call the TIGTA on 1 (800) 366-4484.
The IRS enlightens residents on IRS scam red flags. Reverse phone number lookup tools can be used to identify callers.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Pre-programmed calls designed to disseminate pre-recorded messages to a target audience are known as robocalls. Robocalls enable users to send out messages to many persons within a short period. Entities that mostly use robocalls include telemarketers, political parties, and government agencies. Scammers exploit robocalls and use them to perpetrate fraudulent activities aimed at stealing valuables and sensitive personal information from their targets. Hence, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken the initiative to develop the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 to control the use of robocalls. The TCPA provides that telemarketers and other users of robocalls must obtain prior consent from the recipients before sending robocalls.
Specific calls are exempted from the consent requirement by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC); they include:
- Robocalls for political campaigns
- Robocalls for debt collection
- Robocalls by legitimate health institutions
- Solely informational robocalls
- Robocalls by charitable organizations
Spam calls refer to unwanted calls that deliver irrelevant messages to residents. Spam calls generally deliver promotional sales and proselytization messages, which are not directly beneficial to residents. They fall in the same bracket with unsolicited robocalls, only that they are often not fraudulent.
Robocalls are best ignored, but if you mistakenly answer them, take these steps:
- Terminate the call immediately and disregard the prompts given during the call. The prompt may be to press specific numbers to cut off further robocalls or be connected with live representatives. These prompts often lead to more robocalls, information theft, or exposure to potential scams.
- Ignore any questions asked, especially questions that require yes or no answers. Responding to any questions may lead to personal information theft. The fraudster may also place orders that will be billed to you.
- Use a good reverse phone lookup tool to identify the source of the robocall and block it. These calls can also be blocked using the in-built call-blocking app on your phone or by contacting your telephone service provider for call-blocking options.
- Register your personal phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry (NDNC) online to reduce robocalls or call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236) from the number you want to register. Thirty-one days after your registration on the NDNC, any unsolicited robocall received is considered fraudulent.
- Make complaints on robocalls to the FTC through the online complaint assistant or call 1-888-382-1222.
How to Spot and Report Spotsylvania County Phone Scams?
Scammers devise trendy and well-packaged schemes to defraud Spotsylvania County residents. Unfortunately, some residents fall for these schemes, leading to the loss of money and other valuables. Hence, residents must be vigilant and look out for scam indicators to avoid these scams. Scam indicators include:
- The caller requests confidential information, like date of birth, social security number, account numbers, mother’s maiden name, etc. Disregard such requests and terminate the calls as legitimate entities will never demand personal information over the phone.
- The caller requests unnecessary privacy for “security reasons.” High chances are that the call is most likely a scam; perform a reverse cell phone lookup to answer the question, “who is this number registered to?”
- The caller attempts to intimidate by issuing threats of arrest, deportation, and license revocation to obtain your personal information or enforce payment fraudulently. Ignore the threats and get in touch with the impersonated entity through their confirmed contact to confirm claims.
- The caller specifies that you must pay via gift cards, wire transfers, bitcoins, cash apps, etc. Making payment via these methods make it hard to trace and retrieve the payments.
- The caller makes offers to help recover money previously lost to scams but first requests payment.
- The caller demands on-the-spot payment for upfront taxes, courier charges, clearance, etc., for fake winnings. Ignore the call and research the offer.
Spotsylvania County residents can contact any of these government agencies to report scams:
Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office - Spotsylvania County citizens can contact the Sheriff’s Office at 540-582-7115 to report any scam calls they receive. The County Sheriff’s Office helps residents stay updated on prevalent scams in the county through its social media platform.
Office of the Attorney General of Virginia Consumer Protection Section - Residents can use the Agency Locator to determine where to file their complaints. They can file the Online Complaint Form or download and complete the Complaint Form and send the completed forms to:
Office of the Attorney General of Virginia
Consumer Protection Section
202 North Ninth street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Residents may contact the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1 (800) 552-9963 for more information if calling from within Virginia or (804) 786-2042, if calling from the Richmond region or outside Virginia. The office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, Monday to Friday.
Federal Trade Commission - The FTC educates residents on common phone scams and how to avoid them. Victims of Caller ID spoofing, identity theft, and violation of the National Do Not Call Registry, any phone scams or persons that suspect that they have been contacted by scammers can report to the FTC.
Federal Communications Commission - The FCC provides information on illegal Caller ID spoofing and how to enable call-blocking tools and features. Victims of phone scams, unwanted robocalls, Caller ID spoofing, and identity thefts can report online or call the FCC on 1-877-382-4357.