What are Blount County Area Codes?
Area codes are the sequence of three-digit numbers that begin phone numbers in the United States. Blount County area code signifies the Numbering Plan Area (NPA) assigned by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) to the county. NPAs identify the particular regions from which phone calls originate. The Tennessee Public Utility Commission (TPUC) regulates and maintains area codes in the state. Currently, there is only one area code serving Blount County.
Area Code 865
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Blount County?
Blount County is served by the four major phone carriers in the United States. Although with varying degrees of network coverage, they all offer decent cell phone plans. Verizon provides the best network penetration of 96% in the City of Maryville, followed by Sprint at 80%. AT&T delivers about 75% network spread of the city area, while T-Mobile reaches about 72%. Smaller prepaid carriers, known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), also serve Blount County residents. They use the network facilities of the major carriers and offer pocket-friendly cell phone plans.
The adoption of wireless telephony services in Tennessee has been rapid in the past decade, and residents are now substituting landlines for cell phones. As of 2018, about 61.2% of Tennessee residents relied on wireless-only telephony services. Only 3.7% still had landline phones as their only means of telecommunication. Similarly, an estimated 71.4% of the total children's population used only cell phones, while 1.6% were exclusive landline phone users. These statistics were extracted from a 2018 CDC survey report that reviewed the percentage distribution of telephone status among households in Tennessee.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a choice alternative to landline and cell phone services in Blount County. It offers its users cheaper, more efficient, and flexible telephony experiences when compared to typical phone lines. VoIP technology uses broadband internet connections to route voice, video, and text messages in real-time. Blount County residents now favor VoIP for telephony in their homes and offices.
What are Blount County Phone Scams?
Blount County phone scams are fraudulent schemes carried out through telephony services that target unsuspecting residents for money and identity theft. Phone scammers mostly use text messages, live calls, and pre-recorded voice calls in their schemes. They use various approaches when launching their attacks. Sometimes they sound polite and helpful, and at other times, they are aggressive and try to coerce responses from their targets using threats. Phone scammers often leverage phone spoofing, which allows them to disguise their phone numbers when contacting their marks. They usually impersonate government officials and employees of reputable organizations to gain their marks' trust and rip them off. Blount County residents should never let down their guards when answering phone calls from unknown persons, even though the Caller ID information seems genuine. Residents can use good reverse phone lookup services to reveal the identities of individuals behind spoofed calls.
Blount County has several public agencies responsible for protecting its residents from phone scams. Some of them are:
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- Tennessee Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- Blount County Sheriff's Office (BCSO)
- Tennessee Attorney General's Office
- Tennessee Public Utility Commission (TPUC)
Common scams in Blount County include:
What are Blount County Computer Repair Scams?
Fraudsters pose as technical staff of familiar software companies and call Blount county residents pretending to offer technical assistance. However, they aim to cheat them out of money or confidential information. Typically, these scams target computer owners in the county, and elderly residents are the usual prey. Scammers inform their targets about viruses detected on their PCs and offer to fix the issues remotely. They charge their targets heavy fees for their services or con them into downloading unlicensed software that grants scammers access to the computers. With such software, scammers can glean their victims' confidential information or steal money from their bank accounts. In another modification of these scams, fraudsters claim that the PCs are damaged beyond repair and trick targets into paying for new ones that never arrive. Scammers usually insist on collecting payments upfront through prepaid debit cards, gift cards, or wire transfers.
Tech companies do not offer unsolicited assistance to their customers or ask for personal information over the phone. To avoid computer repair scams, county residents should never indulge unknown persons who offer unsolicited computer repairs. Hang up immediately on such callers and report to the relevant agency. You can run reverse phone number lookups on such callers' phone numbers to answer the question "who called me?".
What are Blount County Recovery Scams?
These scams are targeted at previous victims of phone scams to victimize them further. Scammers call Blount County residents who were scammed in the past, claiming to represent asset recovery companies. They leverage victims' desperation to recover their loss and promise to assist them with that for a fee. However, unknown to the targets, the so-called asset recovery companies are fake. The callers aim to steal more money from targets or glean personal information that can expose them to more theft. Most times, these scammers are accomplices of the previous fraudsters who duped targets from the initial scams. They may also be different persons who bought "sucker lists" of former scam victims from illegal websites.
Most times, the scammers appear kind and helpful and convince their targets to make immediate payments for their services. They favor payment channels like wire transfers and gift cards. Residents can uncover the real identities of these callers using good reverse phone lookup applications. Victims of previous phone scams in Blount County should be wary of anyone offering loss recovery services. Chances are, they are fraudsters trying to plunge them deeper into financial loss. Residents are advised never to reveal personal or financial information to such callers or send them money.
What are Blount County Virtual Kidnapping Scams?
These scams are designed to trick unsuspecting county residents into paying ransoms for relatives they think were kidnapped but were not in reality. Usually, scammers target vulnerable residents like the elderly and use scare tactics to elicit compliance. They call at odd hours like midnight when the victims are likely alone and find it difficult to get help. They threaten to harm the targets' relatives if money is not paid urgently. Usually, they keep their targets engaged on the phone lines until the transfer is completed. County residents should avoid answering or returning calls from unknown phone numbers or screen their calls with voicemails. Scammers try to catch their victims off-guard, but genuine callers will likely leave voice mails. Hang up immediately if you answer such calls and report to the County Sheriff's Office. You can verify the caller’s claims through a third party or run their phone number through a reverse number lookup application to identify the actual caller. Never feel pressured to send money to unknown callers and avoid disclosing information about yourself or your loved ones to them.
What are Blount County Fake Check Scams?
These scams have different variations but generally involve fraudsters using fake check instruments to steal money from unsuspecting targets. Scammers claiming to be representatives of reputable companies may call targets to offer an "advance" on sweepstakes they won. They inform their targets about checks that will arrive in their mail and provide instructions on how to handle them. In another case, fraudsters offer to pay for items residents advertised for sale and send checks higher than the products' values. They may also call residents with unsolicited remote employment opportunities that are fake. Unsuspecting residents agree to the employment terms and are even more excited when their so-called employers send them paychecks above their expected income. Scammers usually instruct their targets to deposit the checks in their bank accounts and return the balances. Many residents become easy prey to this scam as they assume that the check instruments are genuine accept all checks and quickly make money available to beneficiaries. Therefore, they may not identify illegal check instruments immediately. Days or weeks may pass after the transaction, but the bank will eventually unravel such fraudulent checks. By then, the scammers would be long gone with the money their targets paid, making the victims responsible for repaying their banks.
These fraudsters often manipulate their phone numbers to look legitimate, but residents can use free reverse phone lookup services to retrieve valuable information on them. The Federal Trade Commission warns residents to avoid sending money to unknown persons and turn down checks higher than they expect to receive. Anyone insisting on receiving payments through wire transfers or gift cards is a potential scammer trying to conceal their transaction trails.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are phone calls originating from automatic diallers to deliver recorded messages to selected phone numbers. They are usually used by government agencies, telemarketers, and political campaign organizations to relay information to the public in Blount County. Although robocalls were designed for such legitimate uses, scammers have taken advantage of them to dupe unsuspecting targets. They can easily impersonate legitimate agencies because robocalls allow users to change their phone numbers at will. Blount County residents should, therefore, exercise caution when answering calls from unknown numbers, including those that appear genuine. Reverse number lookup applications are adept at identifying robocalls.
Spam calls are variations of robocalls that disseminate irrelevant voice messages to mass phone numbers when the receiver never indicates any interest in receiving them. They are choice tools for fraudsters who use them to mark active phone numbers for phone scams based on users' responses.
To avoid getting victimized by spam calls and illegal robocalls, Blount County residents can take any of the following actions:
- Enroll your phone number in the Tennessee Do Not Call Program to be excluded from unsolicited calls by legitimate telemarketers. You can register online or by calling 1 (877) 872-7030.
- File online complaints about illegal robocalls with the FTC and spoofed robocalls with the FCC.
- Add your number to the National Do Not Call Registry by calling 1 (888) 382-1222 or online.
- Subscribe to applications that offer free reverse phone lookup services to know if incoming calls are robocalls. Block any robocall number you identify from future calls using third-party or built-in call-blocking tools.
How Can You Spot and Report Blount County Phone Scams?
Blount County phone scams have evolved over the years, with scammers applying more sophistication to their tricks. To avoid phone scams, residents must remain updated with information about prevalent scams and be alert when answering calls from unknown phone numbers. Residents can also take advantage of phone number lookup free tools to uncover the identities of persons behind suspicious calls. If you observe any of the following signs during phone conversations with unknown persons, be careful as they are pointers to phone scams:
- The caller poses as a law enforcement agent but threatens you with prosecution or arrest for refusing to give in to their demands. Genuine government agents do not solicit money from county residents over the phone or compel them to divulge confidential information.
- The caller shows interest in buying an item you are selling but offers to send a check valued higher than your selling price. Decline such offers because they are likely scammers trying to dupe you using a counterfeit check.
- The caller presents you with attractive business opportunities but pressures you to invest urgently. Legitimate entities do not operate in this manner and usually give ample time for potential clients to consider their propositions.
- The caller announces that you won a lottery or sweepstake you did not enter and asks you to make an up-front payment before you can claim your prize. Never send money or reveal personal information as a condition for claiming a freebie. You cannot win a lottery if you never contested, and if it is genuinely free, you will not need to pay for it.
The following agencies protect Blount County residents and allow them to file complaints on phone scam incidents:
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC): Blount County residents can submit phone scam complaints to the FCC online or call 1 (888) 225-5322. Residents can also learn about stopping unwanted calls and avoiding phone scams from the FCC's website.
- Tennessee Better Business Bureau (BBB): By calling 1 (865) 692-1600, Blount County residents can report businesses that duped them over the phone with the Tennessee BBB.
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC): The FTC provides residents with online resources on blocking unsolicited robocalls and spam calls to avoid falling prey to scams. The FTC also developed the National Do Not Call Registry to prevent registered phone numbers from robocall disturbances and robocall scams. Blount County residents can call 1 (888) 382-1222 to report phone scam incidents to FTC or file complaints online.
- Blount County Sheriff's Office (BCSO): The BCSO encourages county residents to report phone scam cases with the agency on (865) 273-5000. Blount County residents can also file phone scam complaints with the BCSO in person at 940 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Maryville, TN 37804.
- Tennessee Attorney General's Office: The Consumer Affairs Division within the AGO's Consumer Protection Division protects residents against scams. Blount County residents who are phone scam victims can file complaints online or call (615) 741-4734.
- Tennessee Public Utility Commission (TPUC): The TPUC manages the Tennessee Do Not Program, a database that protects registered residents against robocall scams. Blount County residents can enlist their phone numbers in the state's DNC list online or by calling 1 (877) 872-7030. If unsolicited sales calls persist despite registration, residents can report the disturbances to the TPUC by completing an Online Do Not Call Complaint Form.