What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in DeKalb County?
Area codes identify the origins of telephone calls. They are the sets of three-digit numbers at the beginning of North American telephone numbers. DeKalb County area codes identify the different Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs) in the county as established by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) maintains and implements area codes in Georgia.
Four active area codes serve DeKalb County. These are:
Area Code 404
Area code 404 is a Georgia telephone code covering DeKalb County and parts of other counties in the state. The places served by the 404 NPA in DeKalb County include Decatur, Atlanta, Stone Mountain, and Avondale Estates.
Area Code 770
A split from the 404 NPA in 1995, this NPA includes DeKalb County and several other Georgia counties. DeKalb County locations covered by area code 770 include Pine Lake, Stone Mountain, Lithonia, and Decatur.
Area Code 678
Area code 678 overlays the 404 and 770 NPAs. It was put into service in 1998.
Area Code 470
Area code 470 is a Georgia telephone area code that overlays the 404, 770, and 678 NPAs. It serves all the locations served by area codes 404, 770, and 678.
Data collected from a 2018 CDC survey showed a drastic decline in landline telephony services in Georgia. According to the survey, only about 3.5% of Georgia's adult population still used landline phones exclusively for telecommunication. About 59% of them had adopted cell phones solely for telephony services. A similar trend among minors in the state confirms that telecommunication preferences are fast shifting towards wireless phone services in the state.
Reliable broadband internet services in DeKalb County enable Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for businesses and individuals. Residents can use VoIP services for telecommunication while businesses use them for telecommuting and linking employees working from home. VoIP service offers audio calling, messaging, and video conferencing at lower costs than traditional phone services.
DeKalb County enjoys exceptional coverage by the major American phone carriers. Their network strengths, however, vary across the county. In the City of Decatur, Sprint has the least network coverage of 76% while AT&T provides 82% coverage. T-Mobile covers 86% of the city and Verizon has the best network spread at 96%.
What are DeKalb County Phone Scams?
DeKalb County phone scams are deceptive activities committed via telephone services by individuals to defraud county residents. Phone scams aim to steal the targets’ money and personal information. The Office of the Attorney General has the primary responsibility of protecting residents against phone scams and other types of scams in Georgia. The Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General leads this effort. It educates residents with regular scam tips on its websites to prevent them from falling victim to scams. If you receive a suspicious phone call and wonder who called, a reverse phone number lookup can uncover the caller’s identity.
Common phone scams in DeKalb County include:
What are Jury Duty Scams?
Phone scammers sometimes identify themselves as DeKalb County Sheriff's Deputies to deceive unsuspecting residents. They will claim that targets failed to appear for jury duty and must pay fines to avoid arrests. They typically demand payment by wire transfer and gift card. In some instances, they ask for personal information that they use to commit identity theft. These scammers often use the badge numbers and names of real deputies to deceive their targets.
The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office warns residents never to send money to unknown persons over the phone. They advise that anyone who claims to be a Deputy Sheriff and threatens arrest if you do not send money is a scammer. DeKalb County residents must know that the Sheriff's Office does not call to demand fines for missed jury duty. Residents who miss jury duty are notified by mail. Residents can report jury duty phone scams to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office by calling (404) 298-8111.
What are Covid-19 Scams?
Scammers exploit the uncertainties caused by the coronavirus pandemic outbreak to defraud unsuspecting targets. COVID-19 scams have many variations, but all aim to cheat residents out of their money. The prevalent version in DeKalb County is the contact tracing scam. Contact tracers are responsible for identifying residents who have been in contact with persons who tested positive for coronavirus. The DeKalb County Board of Health (DCBH) appoints contact tracers to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Real contact tracers notify residents who have been exposed to coronavirus by text messages, informing them to expect follow-up calls. Their text messages do not contain links and will never request social security numbers or residents’ financial information. However, phony contact tracers include links in text messages which, when clicked, hack targets' devices. The scammers can access their targets’ information on such devices once hacked.
Legitimate contact tracers will never ask for your bank account or credit card numbers. They
will only engage with you on concerns regarding your health and ask questions about places you recently visited. If contacted by anyone who claims to be a contact tracer, performing a reverse phone lookup on their phone number can verify their identity. You can reach the DBCH on (404) 294-3700 to verify the authenticity of such a text message or phone call. COVID-19 scams victims in DeKalb County can file complaints with the Attorney General Office online or by calling the FTC on 1 (888) 382-1222.
What are Credit Union Phone Scams?
Scammers are targeting the members of local credit unions in DeKalb County. Credit unions are members-owned cooperative institutions that accept deposits and make loans available at low interest rates. Scammers impersonate specific credit unions’ staff and lie to their members about suspicious attempts to make purchases on their accounts. To stop such attempts and keep targets’ accounts safe, scammers will request personal information and ask them to verify their PINs and passwords. Scammers then use the information obtained from such engagements to steal money from their victims' accounts.
Credit unions in DeKalb County urge members and residents not to fall victim to these scams. If you receive these types of calls or others about your credit union accounts, hang up. Confirm the caller's claim by contacting your local credit union and check your account statement for possible unusual transactions. Report the phone number to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office by calling (404) 298-8111. A reverse phone number search can throw some light on the identity of the caller.
What are Grandparent Scams?
Scammers prey on grandparents to cheat them out of their money in various ways. All variations of this scam involve emergencies and demand for money from targets to save lives or avoid troubles. In a typical version, scammers pretend to be grandchildren involved in road accidents. They claim to be guilty in such crashes and immediately put their “grandparents” on the phone to speak with their lawyers. The fake lawyers will then ask their targets to send some money to prevent their grandchildren from being detained in jail. Prepaid cards and wire transfers are their preferred means of receiving payment. The "lawyers" often plead that targets should not break such news to their clients’ parents or other relatives.
DeKalb County senior residents who receive this type of call should hang up and verify the callers’ claims by calling other relatives. The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office warns residents never to send money without confirming callers’ claims. Residents who are victims of these scams in DeKalb County can report them to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office by calling (404) 298-8111. Alternatively, they can register their complaints online with the Federal Trade Commission.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls use autodialers to disseminate pre-recorded messages to selected phone numbers. If you answer a call and hear an automated voice, it is a robocall. While robocalls are legitimately used in circulating information to many people, scammers have taken advantage of this feature to defraud residents. DeKalb County residents can ascertain if phone calls from unknown numbers are robocalls using applications that offer free reverse phone lookups. The FTC, however, suggests that the best way to avoid phone scams is by ignoring telephone calls from unknown phone numbers.
The following tips can prevent you from falling victim to robocall scams:
- Hang up without hesitation once you know a call is a robocall. Do not act on instructions to press specific buttons. Doing that will lead to repeated unsolicited calls.
- Find out from your phone provider about the call-blocking services they offer. Use these services if they are cost-effective. You can also use the call-blocking features on your cell phone to block robocall numbers.
- Join the National Do Not Call List managed by the FTC. Phone numbers on this list are restricted from unwanted telephone solicitations. If you receive robocalls after this, then chances are they are scam callers.
- Be wary of calls from unknown and trusted sources especially if the calls are unexpected. Phone scammers spoof caller IDs to display legitimate organizations and government agencies’ identities and numbers to defraud residents.
- Report illegal robocalls online to the FCC and FTC.
How Can You Spot and Report DeKalb County Phone Scams?
Identifying phone scams is not so complicated and can save residents from damages caused by scams. There are no guarantees that money lost to phone scams can be retrieved. Hence, DeKalb County residents must be cautious when receiving telephone calls especially from numbers they do not recognize. The tip-offs that a phone call is a scam call include:
- Scammers impersonate employees of government agencies and threaten residents with arrest if they fail to make payments. Government agencies do not request payments or threaten residents over the phone.
- Scammers request payments via untraceable channels. Their preferred means of receiving payment include gift cards, cash, cryptocurrencies, and wire transfers.
- Callers who claim to work for government agencies such as the SSA and ask for personal information their agencies already have on file are scammers. Real employees of those agencies will never make such requests on unsolicited phone calls.
- Scammers will pretend to be utility companies’ agents and request your credit card information to pay off overdue bills. Credit card numbers are confidential and no legitimate service company will ask you to disclose them on an unsolicited call.
- Someone who calls out of the blue to request money and personal information and asks that you keep the conversation secret is a scammer.
Awareness is a great way to combat phone scams in DeKalb County. Relevant government agencies are determined to see phone scams stop. This is why they educate residents on how to avoid falling victim to scams and investigate phone scams reported to them by residents. These agencies include:
Federal Trade Commission - The FTC takes reports on robocall scams and other types of phone scams. It encourages residents to add their numbers to the DNC registry to avoid unsolicited calls, most of which are out to defraud them. Persons who fall victim to phone scams can file complaints online with the FTC or call 1 (888) 382-1222.
Georgia Office of the Attorney General - The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division protects residents against phone scams by educating them with scam tips. DeKalb County residents who believe they have been scammed can report their encounters to the COAG by calling (404) 651-8600 or online.
DeKalb County Sheriff's Office - The DCSO preserves public peace in DeKalb County. It publishes scam alerts to inform residents of the current scams in the county and educate them on avoiding such scams. If you live in DeKalb County and know you are a victim of a phone scam, call the DSCO on (404) 298-8111 to file reports. The DSCO will investigate and probably try to recover whatever you have lost to such phone scams.
Federal Communications Commissions - The FCC wants spoofed robocalls reported online. It tips residents on how to stop robocalls and avoid being scammed. Residents who are victims of spoofed robocalls can also report to the FCC by calling 1 (888) 225-532.