Area codes define the geographical location of calls, i.e., the call’s originating location and destination. They are each made up of three-digit numbers and appear before every North American telephone number. Pursuant to the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), each region is divided into Numbering Plan Area (NPA), making it easy to discern where certain calls originate from. Although some areas have more than one area code due to the exhaustion of the initially allocated area codes, there are no areas without any area codes. Persons that receive calls from unfamiliar area codes can perform area code lookups with free reverse phone lookup services. This helps determine the geographical areas the area codes represent.
Houston County has only one area code, which is:
Area Code 478
Area code 478 is the area code covering Macon and central Georgia, including Perry, Dublin, Eastman, Warner Robins, Wadley, Milledgeville, Hawkinsville, Swainsboro, Cochran. It was activated in 2001 after it was split from area code 912.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Houston County?
The two cell phone carriers with the best network coverage in Houston County are Verizon and AT&T. Verizon has the overall best coverage with 100% in most parts of the county. At the same time, AT&T also provides good coverage with 92% in the county’s largest city, Warner Robins.
In 2018, the CDC conducted the National Center of Health Statistics survey, examining the telephone service choice of both minors and adults alike. Among the adults, the survey reveals that 59% of the Georgia adult population only used wireless telephones. In contrast, 3.5% of the adults in Georgia used only landlines as their sole telephony service option. In comparison, 69.2% of minors in Georgia exclusively used only wireless telephone services, while just 2.7% of minors used only landlines. Based on this report, it is apparent that most adults and minors in Georgia exclusively use only wireless telephones instead of landlines.
Voice over Internet Protocol, known as VoIP in Houston, is fast overtaking wireless telephones in terms of popularity and usage. VoIP is widely known for its affordability, flexibility, and the numerous advanced telephony services it offers. These services are available on different subscription plans, mainly residential and commercial plans. Residents are allowed to choose the plans that best suit their needs. VoIP supports voice and multimedia communications and even long-distance calls at cheaper rates than telephony services. Some services VoIP offers are conference calling, auto line attendants, call routing, advanced call management, name dialing, anonymous calling, voicemail/ call forwarding, call analytics, call rejection, etc.
What are Houston County Phone Scams?
Houston County phone scams involve the perpetration of criminal activities over the phone targeted at young and old residents. These scammers use deceit and impersonation to extort unsuspecting residents and steal their personal information. They wrongfully capitalize on the features robocalls and Caller ID spoofing provide and use them to carry out their fraudulent schemes. Caller ID spoofing affords fraudsters the ability to hide their original phone numbers and copy the phone numbers of persons they wish to impersonate. Fraudsters use this to steal legitimate entities’ identities to perform fraud. Individuals can avoid falling victim to these frauds by using reverse cell phone lookup services to conduct phone number lookups. These services help them identify fraudsters, claiming to be who they are not. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has enlightened residents on illegal Caller ID spoofing and how to use call blocking tools and resources available to them.
Prevalent phone scams in Houston County include:
What are Houston County Sale Scams?
Fraudsters pose as sales representatives from reputable companies and call residents, telling them about certain products going for incredibly low prices. They persuade their targets to buy them, stating that the offers are only available for a short period. Sometimes, these calls begin with pre-recorded messages before the recipients are connected with live representatives. The fraudsters usually pressure the recipients to make payments over the phone to dissuade them from properly researching the offers.
A person called in such a manner should hang up and properly research the offer. They should also contact the impersonated company’s verified phone number, which can be gotten from their official website. Here, the person can ask questions about the offer and block the caller if it is a scam. A suspicious phone number lookup can also be conducted using a reverse phone lookup tool to identify who called.
What are Houston County Sheriff Office Scams?
These scams begin with claims from fraudsters that the call recipients owe the Houston County Sheriff’s office money in the form of fines. The callers impersonate the Houston County Sheriff Office deputies and even spoof their Caller IDs in some cases. They threaten the recipients with arrests if they do not pay the supposed owed money. In other cases of these scams, the callers tell the recipients that they missed jury duty and warrants are out for their arrest. They claim that the arrest can only be avoided if the recipients pay specified amounts via gift cards, prepaid credit cards, wire transfers, and other unconventional means.
Residents should note that the Houston County Sheriff Office will never call residents to request any form of payment. Victims are advised to hang up and not send any money. They may contact the Houston County Sheriff’s Office at (478) 542-2095 to confirm the callers’ claims. Conducting a phone number search with a good reverse phone lookup tool will help determine whether it was a scammer who called.
What are Houston County Fallen Officers Fundraising Scams?
In these scams, scammers call residents and solicit donations for fallen officers in Houston County. They claim to be from the Houston County Sheriff’s Office and sometimes spoof their Caller IDs. However, the scammers embezzle the donations and cut off contact with the donators. The County Sheriff creates awareness of these scams and tells residents to ignore such calls. Persons that perceive such calls can contact the Sheriff’s office to verify the call and perform reverse phone number lookups to identify who called.
What are Houston County IRS Scams?
IRS scams are common during tax seasons. They involve residents receiving calls from imposters claiming to be IRS officials. These imposters inform the call recipients that they owe back taxes and threaten them with arrest, deportation, or revocation of licenses if they do not make immediate payments to them. Typically the imposters request payment via prepaid cards, gift cards, green dot cards, iTunes, bitcoins, and wire transfers. These payment methods ensure that the payments are untraceable and non-refundable. Residents should not be deceived even if the calls appear to be from the IRS because imposters spoof the Caller IDs of legitimate IRS officials. Reverse phone look up tools can be used to uncover such manipulation. The IRS also helps residents by educating them on how to know when it is the IRS calling.
Note that the IRS never calls residents without first prompting them with mails. In addition, the IRS never requests payment over the phone. Residents should be wary of such scams. The scammers may also request their personal information; hence, residents must be careful not to share such information, except on the verified IRS official website. Call the IRS on 800-829-1040 to verify if you owe taxes. You may also report by completing the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) or call 1-800-366-4484.
What are Houston County Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are essential innovations that make it easier to reach several persons within a short time. They are programmed calls that deliver prerecorded messages using auto-dialers. Political bodies, legitimate charitable organizations, and government agencies use robocalls to disseminate emergency announcements and create awareness for good causes. However, scammers have begun using robocalls illegally to defraud residents and get them to share personal and financial information with them. Therefore, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 was created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to fight this menace. The TCPA regulates robocalls, ensuring that anyone looking to send robocalls first gets the willful consent of each recipient the robocalls are to be sent to. Residents are allowed to report robocalls they receive without giving their consent. However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) authorizes the following robocalls to be sent with or without residents’ prior consent:
- Legitimate health institutions robocalls
- Political campaigns robocalls
- Charitable organizations robocalls
- Debt collection robocalls
- Informational robocalls
Illegal robocalls fall in the category of spam calls as they are unwanted calls sent out in bulk and without the recipients’ permission. They attempt to advertise or proselytize to the recipients.
Robocalls should be avoided, but if you mistakenly pick, take these steps:
- Hang up immediately and block the phone number from sending future calls. You may get in touch with your phone network service provider for more call-blocking options.
- Ignore any prompts given during the call. Note that some of these robocalls contain specific prompts for recipients to opt-out of the robocalls or be connected with live representatives. Such prompts are most times traps to target the recipients with more robocalls or identify active phone numbers.
- Sign up on the National Do Not Call Registry with all your phone numbers to restrict robocalls. Robocalls that you get after 31 days of registration are most likely robocalls and can be reported.
- Report unwanted robocalls to the FTC through the online complaint assistant portal or call 1-888-382-1222 to report.
How to Spot and Report Houston County Phone Scams?
Residents are enjoined to be alert when receiving calls, especially from unknown phone numbers. They should also lookout for the indicators of phone scams, which include:
- The caller hides their identity from the recipient and requests that the details of the call is not revealed to anyone.
- The caller tries to coerce the recipient to make payment for specific reasons, using fear tactics and threats to make them act immediately.
- The caller claims that you won a lottery, gift, award, etc., but first requests payment of processing fees or taxes.
- The caller threatens you with arrest, license revocation, deportation, and other serious consequences and requests money or personal information. Personal information such as social security numbers, mothers' maiden names, credit card numbers, passwords, etc., should not be shared.
- The caller solicits financial aid for themselves or other persons with claims that cannot be verified.
- The caller insists that payment is made strictly by unauthorized means, such as wire transfers, bitcoins, cash, gift cards, prepaid cards. Tracing and retrieving money paid via these means is almost impossible.
- The caller seeks to help you in retrieving money you lost to a scam for a fee.
- The caller introduces you to a business and investment opportunity that appears suspicious, claiming little or no risks with incredible returns.
Anyone that notices any of the above indicators of scams or receives a suspicious call can report to these government agencies:
Houston County Sheriff’s Office - Report phone scams by filing a police report at:
Houston County Sheriff's Office
202 Carl Vinson Parkway
Warner Robins, GA 31088
Houston County Sheriff's Office
201 Perry Parkway
Perry, GA 31069
Georgia Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Division- There are different ways to file complaints with the department. They include -
- Online - by completing the Consumer Complaint Online Form
- Mail - by mailing or faxing a completed Consumer Complaint Form to 404-651-9018
- Phone - by calling 404-651-8600 or 1-800-869-1123 (toll-free in Georgia, outside of the metro Atlanta calling area). Individuals can call Monday through Thursday, between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, and on Friday, 8:30 am and 4:00 pm.
Federal Bureau of Investigation - Victims can make complaints of general fraud and criminal matters to (202) 324-3000.
Federal Trade Commission - Persons that fall victim to identity theft, illegal Caller ID spoofing, illegal robocalls, unwanted telemarketing, texts, or spam calls, and other scams can report using the FTC’s online consumer complaint assistant. Reports can also be made by calling 877-FTC-HELP or 877-ID-THEFT.