What are Shelby County Area Codes?
The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) divided telephone service territories into Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs) and used area codes to specify the different NPAs. An area code is the set of three numerical digits at the beginning of a 10-digit telephone number that identifies where it was registered. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) delegated the administration of area codes to the states’ public utilities commissions. In Tennessee, the Tennessee Public Utilities Commission (TPUC) manages area codes allocated to the state.
Just one area code serves the whole of Shelby County.
Area code 901 is the telephone area code that formerly served the entire State of Tennessee. It was part of the original 86 area codes introduced in 1947 by the NANP. Currently, it covers Shelby County, Tipton County, and Fayette County. Cities and towns in Shelby County served by area code 901 include Memphis, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland, Arlington, and Millington.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Shelby County?
Residents of Shelby County are shifting away from landlines and replacing them with wireless and VoIP telephony services. A CDC survey on wireless substitution in the state reported that 61.2% of Tennessee adults resided in homes that used wireless phones exclusively. This is far above the national percentage, which currently stands at 55.2%. Wireless phone service penetration among children in Tennessee is even higher with 71.4% of them residing in homes that use wireless telephone services exclusively. Children living in homes with only landline phones made up only about 1.6%.
All four major telephone carriers operate in Shelby County and provide excellent services. In Memphis, Verizon and AT&T claim to cover 100% of the population, with T-Mobile and Sprint close behind with over 99% coverage. Some areas along the Mississippi River have weaker coverage and AT&T and T-Mobile coverage is patchy around Millington. The excellent coverage provided by the major carriers ensures that numerous Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) also provide exceptional services at lower rates.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone services have emerged as viable alternatives to traditional landline and wireless phone services in Tennessee. VoIP calls are routed through broadband internet connections and are cheaper for business and personal use than traditional alternatives. This benefit, along with greater flexibility, is responsible for the rapidly increasing number of VoIP subscribers in the state.
What are Shelby County Phone Scams?
These are fraudulent activities conducted by phone to scam Shelby County residents. Phone scammers come up with new tactics to extort money or steal personal information and use telephone calls and text messages to deceive their targets. The Consumer Protection Division under the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office identifies prevalent scams in the state. These scams are:
What are Grandparents or Love Interest Scams?
Scammers exploit their targets’ concern for the wellbeing of their loved ones to extort them. The most common targets are elderly citizens. A scammer impersonates a distant grandchild calling out of the blue with an urgent need for money. In love interest scams, con artists get close to their victims and feign affection. After gaining the trust and affection of their marks, the scammers start demanding money. Law enforcement warns Shelby County residents to conduct thorough background research on potential love interests to prevent falling for scammers. A phone number lookup is useful in this regard. You should also verify any story of a grandchild in distress from a third party before making any payment. Report any incidence of this scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online or by dialing (877) 382-4357.
What are Lottery Scams?
In lottery scams, scammers call their victims and convince them that they have won sweepstake prizes or lotteries. They demand certain fees to pay for taxes and other expenses on the claimed winnings. Ignore any lottery claim that asks you to pay before the prize can be redeemed. It is a scam. Report this scam to the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs online or by dialing (615) 741-4737.
What are IRS Scams?
Scammers call their targets and claim to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They will request payment for back taxes owed over the phone and threaten legal action. IRS scams are most common during the tax season when most residents are filing their taxes. Know that the IRS will never request tax repayment over the phone, especially not through gift cards, nor will they demand your personal details to process tax refunds. Reverse phone lookup can help identify scammers and prevent such scams. Report this scam to the FTC.
What are Utility Bills Scams?
Victims get calls from scammers who claim to be from local utility companies. These scammers threaten to cut off utility services if payments for outstanding bills are not made immediately over the phone. Utility companies will not request for immediate payment over the phone. Residents need to end such calls immediately and contact their utility companies through their official phone numbers to confirm these claims. The Division of Consumer Affairs of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance receives complaints involving utility scams.
What are “Can You Hear Me?” Scams?
These start with scammers calling their victims and then asking “can you hear me?”. The aim is to record the victims’ voices, answering “YES” to the question. Scammers go ahead to make that “Yes” response look as if victims agreed to subscription services. Victims then start getting regular bills for services they unintentionally agreed to via voice manipulation. Use the FTC’s complaints assistance page to lodge complaints about this scam.
What are Fake Check or Money Order Scams?
In this con, scammers pay their victims for services rendered with money orders and checks. The amounts on these are made deliberately higher than the actual amounts owed. The scammers then ask their unsuspecting targets to send the difference as wire transfers before they deposit the checks. Only after sending the money and presenting the checks at their banks do the victims learn that the checks are fake and that they have been duped.
A good reverse phone lookup can help prevent this scam by running the scammer’s phone number and answering the question: “who is this number registered to?” Victims of this scam not only lose money but also the time and effort spent rendering the services they scammers requested. Victims can file complaints online with the FTC. Victims can also file complaints with the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs, and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office to file reports.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated calls that relay pre-recorded messages to multiple phone numbers. Robocalls are popular telemarketing tools that scammers now use to commit their criminal activities.
The government has passed many laws to combat robocall abuse with severe punishments recommended for defaulters. The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act is one of such laws. Mobile phone manufacturers contribute to the fight against robocalls by including features that detect suspected spam calls on mobile devices. Shelby County residents can activate this function on their phones to block the numbers used by robocallers and spam callers. Network operators offer call filtering and call blocking services too. Subscribers can make inquiries to seek the most affordable and effective call blocking tools available.
Take these steps to reduce robocall abuse:
- Ignore calls from unknown numbers. Letting it go through to voicemail allows you to screen every missed call and weed out suspected robocalls.
- Set up a password for your voicemail. If scammers spoof your number, it becomes easy for them to access your voicemail if it does not have a password.
- Find out from your network provider the best call blocking feature to use.
- Alternatively, download and install call blocking apps from your phone’s app store.
- Register your number on both the National Do Not Call Registry and Tennessee Do Not Call Register. Legitimate telemarketers do not robocall the numbers on these lists.
- If registering on the Do Not Call lists does not stop robocall abuse, report to the TPUC or the FTC.
How to Spot and Report Shelby County Phone Scams?
The Shelby County government highlighted some specific techniques scammers use to execute major phone scams. Residents should look for these red flags when taking with unknown individuals on the phone:
- Request for paying to claim prizes or winnings the caller claims you won.
- Supposed government officials requesting money to stop an arrest or police investigation.
- Any individual, business, or government official that asks you to make payments via prepaid gift cards only are scams. Scammers prefer this mode of payment because it is hard to trace and recover.
- Be wary when presumed official government officials begin to request personal details like Social Security Number, date of birth, Medicare number, and bank details. No official business should seek those personal data, especially over the telephone.
Several government departments and agencies educate citizens on the different forms of scams. Identifying these scams help prevent more residents from falling victims. Shelby County residents should follow these agencies to get updates on scam activities:
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) protects the interest of consumers. They have guides that help residents identify common phone scams and avoid robocalls. The FTC manages the National Do Not Call Registry that keeps away legitimate telemarketers. A complaint assistance page, managed by the FTC, helps to collate reports on scams and ensure quick resolution.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) supervises the telecommunications industry. Resources on how to identify spoofing and activate call blocking help residents avoid scams. The FCC is also working with telephone carriers to improve caller authentication and eradicate spoofing. Residents can report scam activities to the FCC.
The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office has a Department of Consumer Affairs that provides residents with comprehensive scam alerts. Residents are to report scam activities to the department by dialing (800) 342-8385 or (615) 741-4737 or submitting their complaints online.
The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office has a General Investigation Bureau that receives scam or fraud complaints. Residents can report scams to the General Investigation Bureau by dialing (901) 222-5600. The Sheriff’s Office also receives tips to help solve crimes online.