What are Calhoun County Area Codes?
Named after John C. Calhoun, a notable US senator from the State of Alabama, Calhoun County occupies 612 square miles in the east-central part of Alabama. A 2020 estimate put its population at 113,469. The seat of Calhoun County is the City of Anniston.
There are two area codes serving Calhoun County. These are area codes 256 and 938. Area codes are three-digit numbers assigned to numbering plan areas (NPAs). Both NPAs and area codes were introduced when AT&T created the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) in 1947. NPAs are defined sections of North American phone networks corresponding to specific geographic locations. An area code may cover an entire state or an NPA spanning one or more counties or cities. The introduction of area codes simplified call routing across telephone networks in North American countries that adopted the NANP. This system improved the success rate of routing and connecting long-distance calls. Every phone number assigned in the United States has an area code. In a regular 10-digit phone number, the first three digits represent the area code of the NPA where the number was assigned.
Area Code 256
Put into service on March 23, 1998, area code 256 was created from a split of area code 205. This area code covers the northern and northeastern parts of Alabama. It serves all of Calhoun County including communities like Anniston, Jacksonville, Oxford, and Piedmont.
Area Code 938
This is the first overlay code created in Alabama. It was introduced on July 10, 2010 as an overlay code for the 256 NPA. In Calhoun County, area code 938 serves the following cities: Anniston and Piedmont.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Calhoun County?
Most of the residents of Calhoun County, and the rest of Alabama, have made the shift from landline phone services to wireless phone services. This trend was reported in a 2018 wireless substitution survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. The results of that survey show that 57.6% of adults in Alabama solely used wireless phone services while 5.8% of them still relied exclusively on landline phones for telecommunication. Among minors in the state, 71.6% reported they were wireless-only phone users. In contrast, 2% of this demographic indicated they only used landline phones.
National and regional carriers offer cell phone plans in Calhoun Country and the rest of Alabama. AT&T has the most extensive network in the state with its network signals available in 98.7% of Alabama. Verizon is a close second with 96.3% coverage of the state while T-Mobile phone service is available in 82.6% of the state. Regional carriers are often MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) relying on the network infrastructure of bigger carriers and purchasing network services from them in bulk. They usually offer cheaper cell phone plans by passing on some of the savings from their bulk network orders to their subscribers.
Residents of Calhoun Country can also sign up for phone services offered by VoIP providers. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a networking technology that enables voice signal transmission over the internet. VoIP phone services transmit voice and video call signals over the web as data packets. Therefore, they require fast internet access and are most cost-effective for residents and businesses with existing broadband internet services. VoIP phone services usually offer cheaper plans for long-distance and long calls, especially those placed to other VoIP users. They are also easier to set up and allow users to call from their computers and tablets in addition to their phones.
What are Calhoun County Phone Scams?
These are telephone frauds targeting residents and businesses of Calhoun County. Some of these scams are perpetrated by fraudsters living in the county while most are committed by those living outside the county, state, and even country. Scammers rely on phone tools and services to find targets and communicate with them. They may employ spam calls and robocalls to find new victims for their schemes and then use caller ID spoofing and phishing to trick them into parting with money and confidential information.
Calhoun County residents can take steps to avoid phone scams and unmask fraudsters. They can use phone tools and services such as call blocking, call filtering and reverse phone number lookups. In addition to these, avoiding phone scams requires learning about prevalent phone scams in their communities. The most common scams in Alabama include tech support scams, utility scams, and fake check scams.
What are Calhoun County Tech Support Scams?
These are impostor scams in which fraudsters call their targets claiming to work for reputable tech companies such as Apple and Microsoft. These strange callers offer unsolicited tech support and scare their targets by claiming their computers are overrun by viruses or that hackers may exploit bugs found in their operating systems. A tech support scammer may simply charge their victim for unneeded and useless computer fixes and security software. However, in certain cases, fraudsters can install viruses on their victims’ computers after gaining remote access, steal confidential information and files, keep tabs on them with spyware, or lock them out of their machines with ransomware.
The key to avoiding tech support scams is knowing that tech companies do not call their customers to offer unsolicited tech support. They also do not scan customers’ computers for viruses. Calhoun County residents should not give remote access to their computers to strangers or pay for tech support offered over the phone. If contacted by a stranger offering tech support, use a phone number lookup to verify their identity. In all likelihood, this search will confirm that the number used is not associated with the tech company the caller claims to represent.
What are Calhoun County Utility Scams?
These are also impostors with fraudsters impersonating employees of local utility companies or posing as bill collectors. They call to threaten unsuspecting residents and ask for outstanding bills. Scammers running utility frauds may threaten to cut off power, gas, or water supply to their victims’ homes and businesses if they do not immediately. Residents of Calhoun County should know that utility companies do not call their customers to demand immediate payment of outstanding bills or threaten them. These companies send bills to customers’ homes and businesses and send multiple mail notices of outstanding bills before cutting them off.
Anyone contacted by a stranger asking for utility bill payment should call their local utility company to ask about the call. They can also use phone lookup to find out who called and confirm that the caller is not affiliated with the utility company they claim they represent.
What are Calhoun County Fake Check Scams?
Also known as overpayment scams, these frauds involve scammers paying their victims with fake checks in excess of the amounts they agreed to send. The scammers then ask their victims to deposit the checks with their banks and send the overpaid amounts while they wait for the checks to clear. However, unsuspecting victims of these scams only find out they have been scammed when informed by their banks about the fake checks.
Residents of Calhoun County should be wary if they receive payment checks in amounts over what they expect. They can avoid becoming victims of fake check scams by waiting until such checks clear with their banks before refunding the overpaid amounts. If tipped off by an overpayment check, investigate the sender by submitting their phone numbers for a free reverse phone lookup. If this search returns inconclusive information or confirms that the sender is a scammer, report the incident to law enforcement.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated calls sent out by auto-dialers to large numbers of phone users. Robocalls deliver pre-recorded messages to target mass audiences. When first introduced, most robocalls were from political campaigns, telemarketers, and organizations delivering public service announcements. These days, most robocalls are illegal and from scammers.
Like robocalls, spam calls are also unwanted and unsolicited phone calls. These are mostly placed by actual humans reading prepared messages. Most American phone users now receive more robocalls and spam calls than genuine calls from real contacts. Residents of Calhoun County can stop these unwanted calls, or reduce their frequencies, by following these steps:
- Do not trust your phone’s caller ID function to correctly identify unknown callers. Scammers often use caller ID spoofing to make their calls appear to come from loved ones and authority figures
- Let calls from unknown numbers go to voicemail where you can review the messages left at your convenience and determine which ones are from genuine calls
- Hang up if you discover a call is a robocall or spam call
- Do not follow instructions given during robocalls and spam calls on how to stop receiving further calls. Following such prompts will only lead to more unwanted and unsolicited calls
- Use the call filtering feature of your smartphone to block calls from unrecognized or blacklisted phone numbers. Carriers also offer call blocking services. Ask yours if such a service is available and how much it costs. Alternatively, install a well-reviewed call blocking app from your phone’s app store
- Identify unknown callers with suspicious phone number lookup. A reverse phone search on an unknown caller can help confirm whether they are a scammer, spammer, or stalker. Information gathered from such searches can be included in police reports submitted to law enforcement
- Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry. This will stop robocalls from legitimate telemarketers following FCC rules governing this registry. All robocalls and spam calls received after 31 days of joining this Registry can be regarded as illegal and reported
How to Spot and Report Calhoun County Phone Scams
While there are many types of phone scammers and fraudsters keep introducing new variants of them, all telephone frauds retain certain identifying traits. As long as scammers aim to defraud their victims and steal confidential information, wary targets can spot them easily. Residents of Calhoun County should look out for the following signs of phone scams:
- Threats - scammers impersonating authority figures such as law enforcement officers, government officials, and the IRS use threats to force their targets to comply with their demands. They threaten their victims with arrests, prosecution, deportation, revocation of driver’s license, and loss of their homes
- Odd payment requests - fraudsters pretending to be authority figures ask their victims to send payments directly to them. They ask for payments in cash, prepaid debit cards, gift cards, wire transfers, mobile app transfers, or cryptocurrencies. Public and private organizations do not accept official payments via these methods
- Aggressive sales tactics - eager to close bogus business and investment deals and complete scam transactions, fraudsters pressure their targets to make immediate commitments. They will claim their too-good-to-be-true offers are only available for a short time or offer steeper discounts to push targets into sign up immediately and sending money promptly
- Inability to provide written documents backing their claims and establishing their identities - when asked to provide supporting documentation, scammers redirect their victims’ enquiries and instead offer paid and fake reviews and testimonials from strangers as proof of their legitimacy
If any of these signs tip you off about a strange caller, use a suspicious phone number lookup to dig deeper and identify them. Report such scam attempts to the proper authorities. Scam reports submitted by targeted residents are helpful to law enforcement and consumer protection groups. They help identify and prosecute scammers and increase public awareness of phone scam trends. Residents of Calhoun County can report telephone frauds to the following agencies:
- The Office of the Attorney General of Alabama - the Attorney General is the chief law officer of the state and their office has a consumer protection division that accepts complaints about unfair business practices and consumer scams. Residents of Calhoun County can submit consumer complaints to the Attorney General’s Office online
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - the FTC fulfils the role of the federal consumer protection agency by protecting American consumers from unfair and deceitful business practices including scams involving consumer transactions. Residents can complain about telephone frauds involving such transactions by reporting consumer scams to the FTC online or by calling (877) 382-4357
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - the FCC is the national agency responsible for regulating the communication industry including the telecommunication sector. It also maintains the National Do Not Call Registry and receives complaints of illegal robocalls and spam calls. Residents can also report caller ID spoofing and phishing attacks to the FCC. Report a telephone fraud to the the FCC from its Consumer Complaint Center