What Are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Gwinnett County?
Area codes are the three digits at the beginning of all phone numbers in the United States. The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) introduced area codes to designate numbering plan areas. Numbering Plan Areas (NPA) identify the origins and destinations of phone calls. The Georgia Public Services Commission is responsible for administering area codes for Georgia.
There are currently four area codes in service in Gwinnett County. They cover the entire county and the surrounding counties in the state. These area codes are 404, 470, 678, and 770.
Area Code 404
Area code 404 was the original NPA code for the State of Georgia introduced in 1947. Due to the state’s growth, it now only serves Atlanta and its closest suburbs. The city in Gwinnett County covered by this area code is Duluth.
Area code 770
Area code 770 is a telephone area code split off from the 404 NPA in 1995. It completely encircles the 404 NPA and serves the entire northern part of Georgia. Cities within Gwinnett County serviced by this area code include Lawrenceville, Buford, Dacula, Grayson, Lilburn, North Metro, and Snellville.
Area code 470
Area code 470 was introduced in 2010 as an overlay code for both the 404 and 770 NPAs. Overlay area codes are introduced when an NPA requires more phone numbers but current area codes are near exhaustion.
Area code 678
Area code 678 is a NANP overlay code that also overlays the 404 and 770 NPAs. It was introduced in 1998.
Wireless phone usage has overtaken landlines as the preferred means of telecommunication in Georgia. A 2018 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Center for Disease Control provides evidence of this conclusion. According to the report, wireless-only service users comprised 59% of the adult population while landline-only users were 3.5% of the demographic. For the state’s population under 18, wireless-only service users made up 69.2% while landline-only users came to just 2.7 %.
Gwinnett County has excellent telephony services provided by the major phone carriers and numerous smaller carriers called Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). AT&T boasts the best network with 99.9% coverage, followed closely by Verizon with 99.1% and then T-Mobile with 90.1%. Sprint's network offers the least coverage at 45.5% but the carrier has roaming agreements with the other carriers that allow its customers to connect through them.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provides telephony services over internet connections. It is rapidly gaining an ever-increasing subscriber base because of its cost-efficiency and flexibility compared to traditional phone services. Gwinnett County has many different VoIP service providers, while its infrastructure and operations division is responsible for maintaining VoIP network infrastructure.
What Are Gwinnett County Phone Scams?
Gwinnett County phone scams are fraudulent acts committed using telephone services and technology targeting county residents. The Gwinnett County Police Department and the Consumer Protection Unit of the Office of the Attorney General provide education and issue alerts on county-wide phone scams. Federal agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), also provide information and resources for dealing with phone scams and also receive complaints. Residents can also use phone number lookup services to retrieve information on the fraudsters running these scams. Citizens that have been targeted by scammers can file reports with any of these agencies.
What are Law Enforcement Impersonation scams?
The Gwinnett County Police Department (GCPD) warns residents of scams involving callers claiming to be employees of the department. These scammers inform the targets that they will be arrested for offenses such as unpaid tickets and missed court appearances unless they make immediate payments. They sometimes use the names of actual police officers to add legitimacy to the scams. The GCPD reiterates that it will neither ask for money to ignore crimes nor request payments in mailed cash, prepaid cards, and wire transfers. The department will also never threaten residents with immediate arrest on the phone. If residents receive suspicious calls from persons claiming to be law enforcement, they should hang up and report them to the GCPD on (770) 513-500. You can also use a reverse phone lookup to answer the question, “who called me?”
What are IRS Scams?
In this scam, the caller contacts their target claiming to be a representative of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The scammer claims that the target owes back taxes and demands immediate payment over the phone. The scammer may use threat of arrest or legal action to coerce the target into complying with their demands. In another variation, the scammer tells the target they are due a tax refund and requests for personal and banking information to process the refund.
The IRS does not call to threaten taxpayers and will not ask for payments without first sending tax bills for reference. Taxpayers are allowed to contest or appeal the amounts quoted as tax debts. The IRS will also never ask for payments via untraceable channels like bitcoin, prepaid cards, and wire transfers. Taxpayers can report any suspicious calls from IRS scammers to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The IRS provides taxpayers with online tips to avoid falling victim to tax scams.
What are Student Scholarship Scams?
With the rising costs of student tuition, many students rely on scholarships and grants to pay for their education. This makes them vulnerable to scholarship scams. The scam begins with the student receiving a call informing them that they have won a scholarship from a national organization. The scammer may then attempt to get money from the student by asking for a processing fee to arrange the scholarship. In another variation of these scams, scammers try to steal personal and banking information, claiming they need the information to process the scholarships. Students who receive such calls can research the organization with the Better Business Bureau to see if they are legitimate. Never give out personal information on a phone call, especially on a phone call you did not initiate. A reverse phone lookup could also help to identify the caller.
What are Banking Scams?
In this scam, a scammer contacts the target impersonating a bank official. The caller claims the target has won a cash prize or qualified for a credit card upgrade. The scammer then asks for personal banking information under the guise of verifying the target’s identity. The information, if provided, allows them to steal your identity and drain your bank account. Do not give out personal or banking information to strangers over the phone. Applications that perform phone number lookups by name or address can identify if such calls are from scammers.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated calls programmed to contact several numbers and play pre-recorded messages. Sales organizations and marketers initially use robocalls to reach multiple consumers quickly. Fraudsters deploy robocalls in their scams to target many residents anonymously. Using recorded scripts and creative dialogs, they try to get residents to give up personal and banking information. Some steps to take if you receive lots of robocalls and scam calls include:
- Hang up the call immediately you realize it is a robocall. Do not follow any instructions given by the recording as this will alert the scammer that the phone number is valid, leading to more robocalls.
- Search online for free phone number lookup applications. Use these services to identify and block robocalls and spam calls.
- Block phone numbers used for robocalls with call-blocking apps provided by phone manufacturers, carriers, and reputable app developers.
- Report robocall scams to your local consumer protection agency, the Federal Communications Commission, or the Federal Trade Commission.
- Residents can also register their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. Legitimate organizations and marketers subscribe to this list and do not call the numbers on it.
How to Spot and Report Gwinnett County Phone Scams?
Phone scams have similar traits even as scammers continue to refine their techniques. Residents can put suspicious numbers through phone number lookups to identify callers by name or address. This can help prevent them from falling victim to most phone scams. The best means of avoiding scammers is to be able to identify scam calls and know what to do thereafter. Some tell-tale signs that a phone call is a scam include:
- Callers claiming to be government organizations and requesting sensitive information or banking details over the phone. Government agencies do not make unsolicited calls and request such confidential details.
- Callers claiming to be from government agencies but requesting payment through non-official channels. Payments to government agencies will typically be made at their offices or on their official websites. These agencies will never ask for payments via wire transfers, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards, or other untraceable methods.
- A call from a law enforcement officer threatening you with immediate arrest if a payment is not made. Real law enforcement officers will never threaten you for money to forget crimes.
- Any agency or company demanding information from you that should already be in their records. Your bank should have your bank details and your utility company should already have your billing information.
- Any call claiming you have won a grant you did not apply for or a competition you did not enter is likely a scam.
There are several government agencies invested in fighting fraudsters and protecting residents from their scams. Some of these agencies provide information about scams in Gwinnett County and provide help to victims of phone scams. These government agencies include:
Local law enforcement
The Gwinnett County Police Department and the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office are the primary law enforcement agencies within the county. They provide regular updates and alerts about scams occurring in the county via the county website. They also give information on the local TV news. Residents who have been targeted by scams in the county, especially by persons impersonating law enforcement, can submit complaints at their nearest police precincts. They can also submit reports by calling the police department’s non-emergency number: (770) 513-500.
Georgia Department of Law - Consumer Protection Unit
This is the chief consumer affairs advocate for the residents of the State of Georgia. It protects residents and visitors to the state from criminal business practices. It also provides tips and alerts on the scams widespread in the state to help residents avoid falling victim to fraudsters. Consumers that have been targeted by scams can file complaints with the Consumer Protection Unit.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
One of the responsibilities of the Federal Trade Commission is to protect residents from unfair and criminal business practices. They offer advice on how to block unwanted calls and residents who have been targets of scams can file complaints online or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222. They maintain and update the National Do Not Call Registry.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
The Federal Communications Commission regulates telephony services and operators in the country. It shares information on phone scams and also provides tips on how to stop unwanted texts and robocalls. Residents can report scams to the FCC online.