What are Baldwin County Area Codes?
With a population of 223,234 residents, Baldwin County is a border county located in the southwestern part of the State of Alabama. The county shares its western border with the State of Florida. The county seat of Baldwin County is located in Bay Minette. Some major cities in Baldwin County include the City of Daphne, the City of Fairhope, and the City of Foley.
Area codes are the three-digit numbers that precede all telephone numbers in North America. An area code identifies a specific geographical location. The North American Numbering Plan Administration created area codes in 1940 to unify all the telephone numbering plans in North America.
Area Code 251
The area code 251 is the only area code that serves Baldwin County. This area code was brought into service on the 18th of July 2000 and was created from a split of the area code 334. The area code serves most of the southwestern part of the state covering major cities like Atmore, Bay Minette, Mobile, Monroeville, Prichard, and Saraland.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Baldwin County?
The 2018 survey titled, Wireless Substitution: State-level Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey indicated a significant preference for wireless phone services over traditional landlines in the State of Alabama. The survey also showed that the preference for wireless phone services was significantly more evident with minors in the state. From the survey, it was discovered that 56.7% of adults used wireless telephone services exclusively. By contrast, only 5.8% of adults in the state used traditional landlines exclusively. In comparison, 12% of adults in the State of Alabama relied on the combined use of traditional landlines and wireless telephone services to meet their telecommunications needs. On the other hand, only 2.0% of minors used traditional landlines exclusively. This is a far cry from the 71.6% that relied exclusively on wireless telephone services and the 5.3% that relied on the combined use of wireless phone services and traditional landlines.
The information from this survey is consistent with the modern telecommunication trends. The trend indicates a significant move away from plain old telephone service providers that provide voice call services to the more dynamic and flexible Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO). These MVNOs leverage infrastructure owned by larger telecom service providers, which enables them to deliver voice and messaging services via the leased infrastructure.
There are many phone service providers in Baldwin County that provide telecommunications services such as VoIP. These service providers all provide varying telecommunication services, with different service plans and coverage areas. However, the major telephone service providers based on coverage are AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. AT&T covers 94% of Baldwin County, making it the service provider with the widest coverage in the county. Verizon comes in second, covering 74% of the county, while T-Mobile covers 60% of the county. Other service providers within the county cover less than 50% of the county.
What are Baldwin County Phone Scams?
Baldwin County phone scams are scams that target Baldwin County residents using telephones and other telecommunication media. The scammers employ tactics such as caller ID spoofing to mask their phone numbers and robocalls to automate the dialing process. Their objective is usually to obtain money, financial information, social security numbers, and other personal data from Baldwin County residents. In recent times there has been a rise in the number of phone scams that these scammers commit on Baldwin County residents.
Common scams in Baldwin County are:
What are the Baldwin County Sheriff Impersonation Scams?
In the sheriff impersonation scams, the scammers call Baldwin County residents with prior arrest records or residents that are registered sex offenders. During the call, the scammers deceive the residents that they have unpaid fines that need to be paid off. The scammers use threats of arrest and legal action to scare and intimidate their targets. Once the targets are noticeably scared, the scammers then offer the residents a way out. The scammers insist that their targets pay these fines to avoid arrest. The scammers request payments for the fines in gift cards, prepaid debit cards, cryptocurrencies, and other unconventional payment methods.
The sheriff impersonation scam also has another common variant referred to as the jury duty scam. In the jury duty scam, the scammers call Baldwin County residents and claim there are warrants out for their arrest for missing jury duty. The scammers then tell the resident to make certain payments to avoid arrest. The jury duty scam became very prevalent shortly after the COVID-19 lockdown due to the uncertainties associated with movements and other lockdown protocols.
The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office has notified residents that the Sheriff's Office will never call to request personal information or payments via gift cards, cash, or bitcoin.
What are Baldwin County COVID-19 Contact Tracing Scams?
In the COVID-19 contact tracing scam, the scammers leverage the current fears around the COVID-19 pandemic to obtain personal information from Baldwin County residents. To commit these scams the scammers call Baldwin County residents and claim to be local contact tracers associated with the county. During the call, they request personal information from residents. Sometimes scammers use more advanced methods to pull off these scams. One of such methods is the use of text messages or emails with links to websites. These text messages and emails prompt county residents to click on the link and register their details. Once residents click on these links, it installs a trojan horse or back door on residents' laptops or phones, giving the scammers access to their private data.
What are Baldwin County Tech Support Phone Scams?
In the tech support scam, scammers call Baldwin County residents and claim to be calling from a reputable tech company. During the calls, the scammers inform residents that there has been a security breach of their computers. Sometimes they claim there is a new virus that will compromise residents' personal information. Most often, the goal of the scam is to either install a backdoor to grant scammers access to residents' systems or to get the Baldwin County resident to pay for tech support services they do not need. They use the access to steal private information from residents’ systems. Many times, these scams offer to send residents patches that can be used to upgrade the security of their systems. Residents are advised never to install patches and software from companies or entities they do not know.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are calls that make use of an automated dialer to call a large number of individuals and deliver pre-recorded messages. They are often used by political campaigns, nonprofits, and telemarketers. Robocalls can be legal or illegal. Legal robocalls include calls made to conduct market research, calls from tax-exempt nonprofits, polling calls, and informational calls. On the other hand, businesses require prior consent from Baldwin County residents before they can robocall residents. Businesses are also required to identify themselves at the start of the call and leave a contact number where they can be reached.
Note that spam calls are similar to illegal robocalls, and they are often unwanted and unsolicited. However, spam calls do not have to be made with automated auto diallers, they can just be any regular unwanted call.
Scammers have taken advantage of the efficiency of robocalls to reach large numbers of people in a short time to commit their scams. Robocalls increase the likelihood of Baldwin County residents being victims of phone scams. Therefore, residents of Baldwin County need to know how to deal with unwanted robocalls and spam calls.
To deal with unwanted robocall Baldwin County residents are advised to:
- Hang up the call immediately. Ignore all prompts that request you to dial any numbers.
- Contact your phone service provider for information on call blocking solutions.
- Register with the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Use reverse phone lookup services to identify the caller.
- Submit complaints with the FTC online or by calling 1-(888)-382-1222
How Can You Spot and Report Baldwin County Phone Scams?
Identifying Baldwin County Phone scams is critical to reducing the number of Baldwin County residents that become victims of these scams. However, one major limitation in identifying these scams is the rapid evolution in the methods used to perform these scams. While technological advancements have made it easier to stop or identify these scams, it has also created more avenues for scammers to exploit Baldwin County residents. For instance, technological advancement has brought about call blocking, reverse phone lookup, and phone number lookup services that can be used to prevent unwanted calls and identify who is calling. It has also increased robocalls and caller ID spoofing, which scammers use to commit these scams.
Thus, it is a basic consensus that the best way to deal with phone scams is by enlightening Baldwin County residents of the most recent methods used to commit these scams. However, while these scams are getting more sophisticated, the basic elements and pointers to identify them have remained the same. Some of these pointers include:
- The caller is unable to communicate effectively.
- The caller uses an odd-looking phone number that may appear local.
- The caller delays their greeting when the call is picked up and refuses to identify themselves.
- The caller quickly takes an aggressive and heated tone once the resident starts questioning the nature of the call.
- The caller requires the resident to share their personal information.
- The call begins with a pre-recorded message.
- The caller does not give the recipient time to think or verify the information they are being presented.
- The caller requests payment in gift card, cash, wire transfer, or bitcoin.
Baldwin County residents are advised to hang up the phone once they spot any of these pointers. However, if the resident cannot identify these pointers and falls victim to the scam, there are several county, state, and government agencies that can handle issues related to phone scams. Some major agencies that attend to issues of phone scams include:
The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Off - Complaint can be made in person at:
310 Hand Avenue
Bay Minette, AL 36507
Monday - Friday 8am - 5pm
Phone: (251) 937-0202
The Alabama State Attorney General’s Office - the consumer protection department of the State’s Attorney General Office makes available an online form through which complaints can be filed. In-person complaints can be made at:
Attorney General’s Office
State of Alabama
501 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36104
FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center - Report cases of internet crime and phone scams online to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center. The Internet Crime Complaint Center is a partnership between the National White Collar Crime Center and the FBI.
Residents can also report phone scams and other related frauds directly online on the Baldwin County website.