What are Washington County Area Codes?
Area codes are the sets of three digits that prefix telephone lines in North America. They were introduced as part of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) to divide North America into different numbering plan areas. Area codes serve the vital role of identifying the origin or telephone service region where certain callers fall into. The Tennessee Public Utility Commission (TPUC) is charged with setting standards and rates for privately owned telephone utilities.
Currently, Washington County covers one area code, namely:
Area Code 423
Area code 423 is one of seven NANP codes that cover the State of Tennessee. It includes two separate areas of East Tennessee separated by NPA 865. It was officially introduced in November 1995. In 1999, NPA 423 was split to NPA 865.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Washington County?
The 2018 National Center of Health Statistics survey estimated that 61.2% of the adult population in Tennessee exclusively used wireless telephones, while only about 3.7% of them preferred to use only landlines. This was also the case with minors in the state, as 71.4% depended solely on wireless telephones, with just 1.6% using only landlines. These numbers are proof that the majority of Washington residents use wireless telephones instead of landlines.
The major phone networks in the US are all well represented in Washington county, with some offering average to excellent coverage to county residents. AT&T is the best, with 100% service coverage. T-Mobile follows closely behind with 80% coverage, while Verizon has 78% coverage. Sprint offers the least service coverage with 66%.
County residents may also make their choice from the many smaller carriers or Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), which also run on the four major carriers. MVNOs provide an excellent and even cheaper alternative for residents who would rather not use any of the four primary carriers. However, service availability may drop in rural areas, densely populated places, and spaces between tall buildings.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is common in Washington County, with several companies offering a wide range of products at highly competitive rates to residents. VoIP is a technology that enables calls over the internet. Compared to wireless telephone services and landlines, VoIP services present users with a more affordable and flexible way of making calls, especially long-distance calls.
What are Washington County Phone Scams?
Washington County phone scams are phone calls that target county residents to extort them or trick them into disclosing their personal and financial information. These scams often come in diverse ways, through live calls, robocalls, and text messages. Reverse phone number lookup services can help identify scam calls. Common scams committed in Washington County include:
What are Washington County Impersonation Scams?
Probably the most common of all phone scams, impersonation scams usually involve the scammers taking up fake identities to steal their targets’ details. Due to these scams, residents have been warned to exercise caution as scammers have been on the troll, identifying themselves as deputies from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO). The scammers here tell their targets that they have warrants for their arrest due to unanswered duty summons or unpaid court costs. They then demand that the targets pay them to resolve the issue to avoid being arrested. Sometimes, the scammers may try to get the credit card or bank account information of their targets through this means.
Scammers may sometimes spoof their Caller IDs to appear like the Sheriff’s Office’s Caller IDs. Reverse phone lookups are adept at identifying who the actual callers are. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office does not demand payments of any sort over the phone. Hence, residents should ignore such calls when they come in. Residents are advised to always contact the WCSO or their local law enforcement agency to report such incidents.
What are Washington County Family Emergency Scams?
This scam is also known as the 'grandparent scam,’ as scammers here often target the senior citizens in the county. Usually, the scammer would call their victim, in this case, an older adult, and pretend to be a relative or a grandchild. The scammer may claim to have been arrested for drunk driving or involved in an accident. They try to use these means to get their targets to send money or their financial information. They may ask that these funds be paid by gift cards, prepaid cards, or wire transfer services like MoneyGram or Western Union. Usually, they will insist that their victim keeps the details secret so that they do not get in more trouble. Most times, these scammers request more funds as soon as the first installment is sent to them.
Older citizens are advised not to be swayed when such calls come in. Instead, they should contact trusted family members to find out if the stories are true. If the stories are true, then there would be no need for secrecy. A free reverse phone lookup service can help you identify who called if you receive such a call.
What are Washington County Investment Scams?
In these scams, the scammers contact their targets and tell them about investment deals with promising returns and little or no risk. Usually, they claim that they are portfolio managers or stockbrokers offering investment opportunities. Another storyline is that their organizations help residents invest in companies abroad. These deals are almost always “high-yield investment programs,” also known as “HYIPs,” and are run by unlicensed organizations and individuals. The scammers will often present resources and testimonials to sound more legitimate. They may even claim to be government-approved or affiliated with a genuine company. The endpoint is to get the targets to send in money to them or send in their financial details.
Residents are advised to exercise extreme caution when dealing with such calls because, most times, they end up being scams. Residents should also verify that whoever they are investing with is registered with state regulators, a recognized body, or the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Reverse phone number search services can answer the question, “who is this number registered to?”
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are telephone calls that use automated dialers to pass across pre-recorded messages. Robocalls are common amongst telemarketing and political campaigns, although they are often used for public service announcements.
There has been an increase in the recorded fraud cases around Washington county as scammers have taken to robocalls to impersonate legitimate organizations. Scammers, relying on the anonymity robocalls provide, use the opportunity to attempt to steal money and other personal information from residents. Reverse cell phone lookup services can easily help in identifying an incoming robocall.
The best options if you receive a robocall are to:
- Hang up the call immediately. Also, ignore any instruction or prompt that you may have been to follow over the phone. Responding to such prompts will only result in more robocalls.
- Make use of online services that provide reverse phone lookups or phone number search free of charge.
- Inquire from your phone carrier about services that allow you to block numbers of your choice and use them when gotten.
- Register your phone number on the National Do Not Call register. Registering your phone number here allows you to be let off the grid of all sales and telemarketing calls. If you receive any more robocalls after registering on the NDNC database, the robocalls are most likely scam calls.
- Report incidences of robocalls to the FTC online or call 1-888-382-1222.
The FTC, on its website, provides other useful tips for residents on blocking unwanted calls on any platform.
How Can You Spot and Report Washington County Phone Scams?
Scammers have always existed on the scene in most places, and Washington County is no exception. However, in recent times, scammers have adopted more sophisticated tactics to suit the ever-evolving present digital age. Services that perform reverse phone lookups free of charge can help in identifying potential phone scams. However, awareness and education remain the most productive means of combating the activities of phone scammers. Here is how to identify scam calls:
- Scammers often use pressure and fear to coerce their targets into taking action. Their usual tactics include threats to arrest their targets, withdraw their licenses, impose levies on them, or suspend their services. If a caller threatens you or uses offensive words over the phone, then it is a sign of a probable scam.
- The caller requests you to make payments through irregular payment channels. Their go-to routes usually include bank wire transfers, gift cards, prepaid cards, bitcoin, or FedEx cash. Money, once transferred through these channels, becomes irretrievable and untraceable.
- The caller requests sensitive personal and financial details. Legitimate organizations will never request you to send confidential information to them, much less over the phone. Legitimate organizations never ask for your sensitive details over the phone. Anyone that calls you to request such should be avoided.
- Scammers often use words that convey a sense of urgency. Be cautious of words and phrases like once-in-a-lifetime cash only, secret plan, get rich quick, last chance, great deal, etc. This is to try to get their targets to cut the chase and transfer the money to them before taking time out to verify.
- The caller calls and proposes promising investment deals with little to no risks attached. They do this usually with the intent of making their targets commit their funds without first carrying out proper research.
You may not be able to totally eliminate the possibility of being contacted by a phone scammer. However, you must take precautionary steps to ensure that you do not fall prey to their tactics. Tools that perform free phone number lookups by name, number, and address can help achieve that.
Several public institutions have been established in a bid to assist Washington County residents in dealing with scammers. County residents who have been victims of phone scams may contact any one of these agencies to report the incidence:
Washington County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) - The Washington County Sheriff's Office provides residents with updates on prevalent scams in the county. Washington County residents who have been victims of phone scams may file their reports to the Sheriff’s Office or call the non-emergency number 423-788-1414.
Tennessee Attorney General's Office Consumer Affairs Division - The Consumer Affairs Division of the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office handles consumer complaints concerning matters of unfair or deceptive business conduct. Victims of phone scams may file a complaint online or call 1-800-778-4215.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - The FTC protects consumers by combating fraudulent practices and suing organizations that violate marketplace laws. The FTC also conducts ongoing consumer education for consumers and businesses. The National Do Not Call Registry is one of the FTC’s many efforts at protecting the interest of consumers. Phone numbers registered on the DNCR are robocalls-exempt. Robocalls received even after registering with the DNCR are most likely scam calls. Victims of scams may file complaints with the FTC or call 1-888-382-1222.