What are Madison County Area Codes?
Located in the north-central part of the State of Alabama, Madison County is the third-most populous county in the state. As of July 2019, the county has an estimated population of 372,909 according to the United States Census Bureau. The county is named in honor of the fourth president of the United States - James Madison. The county seat is Huntsville.
An area code is a three-digit code that identifies one of the telephone areas into which the United States is divided and that precedes the local telephone number when dialing a call between areas. An area code is useful in identifying the origin and destination of a phone call. You can find the area code of an area in the United States by using area code lookup tools online. There are currently two area codes serving Madison County.
Area Code 256
Area code 256 serves northeastern Alabama and covers Decatur, Huntsville, and Madison. It has a single overlay (area code 938) that serves the same area. Area code 256 was first used in 1998 and was created from area code 205. Other cities served by area code 256 include Florence, Gadsden, Anniston, Athens, Albertville, Oxford, and Talladega.
Area Code 938
Area code 938 also serves northeastern Alabama and covers Madison, Decatur, and Huntsville. It was first used in 2010. It also serves cities like Cullman, Scottsboro, Hartselle, Fort Payne, and Muscle Shoals.
What Are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Madison County?
Estimates from a 2018 study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics reveal that 57.6% of persons over the age of 18 in Alabama used wireless-only telephony service compared to only 5.8% who used landline telephony service exclusively. Among persons under the age of 18, wireless-only telephony service was put at 71.6%, while only 2.0% used landline service exclusively.
Madison County residents can purchase cell phone plans from the major wireless carriers in the nation. T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T coverages extend across Madison County. In the county seat of Huntsville, T-Mobile and Verizon have the widest coverage. Coverage scores for each of the four major carriers are:
- T-Mobile: 96%
- Verizon: 94%
- AT&T: 76%
Cell phone plans are also on offer from several Mobile Virtual Network Operators in Madison County. MVNOs lease wireless capacity from third-party Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) at wholesale prices and resell to consumers at reduced retail prices under their own brand names. Wireless telephony service can also be enjoyed through VoIP service providers in Madison County. VoIP leverages on the internet to allow users to place and receive phone calls. During VoIP phone calls, the conversation is exchanged using small data packets which can be sent over IP networks around the world in less than a second. VoIP systems are created with built-in security to stop crooked persons from tapping calls. Hence, VoIP is fast becoming the definitive choice for telephony service for consumers and businesses alike.
What Are Madison County Phone Scams?
Madison County phone scams are illicit actions and practices of crooked individuals perpetrated through phone calls with the aim of obtaining the personal and financial information of Madison County residents.
These scams may come from real persons, or through robocalls, or text messages. Scammers use diverse methods and gimmicks to gain the trust of the county residents before proceeding to lure them with juicy offers. At other times, these persons use threats and aggression to defraud unsuspecting residents. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office and the Alabama Attorney General's Office provide regular consumer alerts and awareness of current and popular phone scams perpetrated in the state. Madison County residents may use free reverse phone lookup tools to ascertain the true origins of suspicious phone numbers.
What are Madison County Sweepstakes Scams?
Many companies offer legitimate sweepstakes and contests to promote their products and reward their customers. Con artists understand that the idea of winning fabulous prizes can be alluring, and they exploit their targets' eagerness to land big checks or winnings. In a sweepstake scam, the caller notifies and congratulates you on winning a big contest. However, you must pay a fee, tax, or customs duty to claim your prize. The scammer may request your bank account information, urge you to send money via a wire transfer, or suggest you purchase gift cards and send back the card numbers.
Irrespective of the trick used, a scammer will keep coming back to you for several months for more payment, claiming that the big prize is only one payment away. If you stop paying or try to cut off contact, the scammer may threaten to harm you or a relative or to report you to authorities. Senior citizens are more easily targeted in sweepstakes scams. According to a study conducted by the Better Business Bureau, 80% of the money lost to sweepstakes scammers comes from citizens over the age of 65. Madison County residents can use reverse cell phone lookup tools to verify if a caller’s identity matches the name given.
What are Madison County Social Security Scams?
Social security scams are offshoots of government impostor scams where scammers claim to represent government entities in order to defraud their targets of money or obtain personal and financial data for use in identity thefts. A frequently used trick involves the social security scammers claiming to represent the Social Security Administration (SSA) calling people with warnings that their Social Security numbers have been associated with criminal activity and hence suspended. A scammer may ask you to confirm your number so that they can reactivate it or issue you a new one, for a fee. This is only a trick to get you to release your personal data and money: the SSA does not block or suspend numbers.
Many times, social security scams are perpetrated using robocalls, with recordings providing the targets with numbers to call to remedy the problems with their Social Security numbers. In another variation of the social security scam, a caller may inform you that your bank account is at risk due to illicit activity and offers to help you keep it safe. Alternatively, you may get a call from a supposed SSA employee, informing you of a cost-of-living increase in your benefits. To get the extra money, you only have to verify your name, date of birth, and Social Security number. Upon obtaining this information, a scammer can hijack your account, and ask the SSA to change the address, phone number, and direct deposit information on your record, hence diverting your benefits. There are free reverse phone number lookup tools online to help uncover who called and find who a number is registered to.
What are Madison County IRS Scams?
IRS scams are common impersonation scams in Madison County. The target receives a call from a purported IRS official who indicates that the target owes back taxes to the IRS or the United States Treasury. The caller may also claim that the target has missed a paperwork deadline that needs a quick resolution. The caller proceeds to threaten the target with arrest, imprisonment, or license revocation if payment is not made within a very short period of time. Typically, money is requested through wire transfers, prepaid debit cards, gift cards, or other means that are usually very difficult to trace. Many IRS scam calls originate outside of the United States. You may conduct a “reverse phone lookup international” search online to verify the source of such calls. A “reverse phone lookup USA” search will help track the origin of a call placed within the United States.
What are Madison County Utility Scams?
In a utility scam, the scammer claims to represent a utility company such as gas, water, television service provider, and power company. Usually, utility scammers claim that their targets are behind on their utility bills and threaten to shut down the utilities if payments are not made immediately. The balance on the payments is demanded via prepaid debit cards or wire transfer. The scammers try to create a sense of urgency to prevent their targets from verifying the legitimacy of the calls.
Alternatively, a utility scammer may inform you that you have overpaid and ask for your bank account or credit card information to make a supposed refund. A utility scammer may also ask you to purchase a prepaid debit card to pay a purported outstanding bill and call back with the card number. Once you make a payment, the impostor makes away with the value on the card. Ultimately, a utility impostor wants to trick you into making a payment or supplying personal or financial data. There are free reverse phone number lookup tools online to uncover who called and find who a number is registered to.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are unsolicited prerecorded telemarketing calls placed to phone users using automatic dialing announcing devices (ADADs). ADADs are computer-programmed dialers that can take pre-selected lists of contacts which can be randomly called without requiring human interaction. Pursuant to the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991, the United States placed certain restrictions on the use of automatic dialers, fax machines, and unsolicited automated calls to protect the privacy and public safety interests of telephone subscribers.
Note that not all prerecorded auto-dialed calls are illegal. Information messages such as school closings, doctor appointment reminders, political campaign calls, and flight information are permissible to subscribers' telephones without prior consent. A telemarketer who has obtained the express permission of a consumer before placing a robocall to the recipient’s phone number is also not considered to have acted illegally.
However, the bulk of robocalls received by residents of Madison County are illegal and spam calls. These robocalls are intended for use to fleece Madison County residents. To limit the chances of being fleeced by robocalls placed by scammers, you may use reverse phone lookup tools to verify the identity of incoming calls.
Other steps to take to stop robocalls include:
- Do not answer calls from unknown callers. Allow calls from unknown callers to go to your voicemail.
- Hang up on robocalls. If you answer a call and realize that it is a robocall, hang up immediately. Do not press any numbers as instructed by the recording. Doing so will only indicate to the scammer that the line is active, which will lead to more robocalls
- Register on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) free Do Not Call list. Illegal telemarketers are prohibited from calling numbers added to the list. If you get a robocall after 31 days of registration, it is likely to be a scam call.
- Block robocalls using your phone's built-in call blocking features. You can also download and install third-party apps from application stores, such as Truecaller, Hiya, YouMail, Nomorobo, and RoboKiller.
How to Spot and Report Madison County Phone Scams?
Scammers will use any trick or technology possible to get their targets to part with money or valuable items. In order to establish legitimate reasons for trying to reach targets, fraudulent callers impersonate organizations that provide services that the targets are familiar with. While caller ID spoofing was created for good cause, scammers now use it to mimic the phone numbers of reputable organizations. Some dubious scammers may also go as far as visiting social media sites to obtain information on their targets in a bid to sound more credible. Tools such as reverse phone number lookup services are effective in identifying potential phone scams.
Here are some tell-tale signs of phone scams:
- The caller cannot communicate: It is one thing to have an accent, but some scammers have virtually no command of the English Language. Although legitimate companies use foreign call centers to provide services to their clients, persons employed with these centers will typically have decent proficiency in the English language. If the caller can hardly speak good English but claims to represent a reputable company, chances are that you are on the call to a scammer.
- The caller says there is a problem with your account: A caller may insist that there is a problem with an account you hold with the company represented by the caller. You may be told there is a fee to be refunded if only you provide certain personal information. Do not take the bait. Hang up and confirm that you have an account with the organization. You can also call a verified number of the organization to confirm what you have been told.
- The caller suddenly becomes aggressive: A caller claiming to represent a trustworthy organization may sound normal at first so that you do not suspect anything. However, when you start asking certain questions, the conversation may become heated and irritable. It is an intimidation tactic and a major red flag.
- The caller asks you to make a small payment to access a huge winning: This is a common trick used by con artists to get you to transfer funds into their accounts. If you really won a prize, you should not have to pay anything to access it.
- The caller demands sensitive information: If you answer a call and the caller tries to coerce you into releasing personal and sensitive information, such as Social Security number, bank information, and credit card details, it is likely to be a scammer.
- The caller pressures you into making an immediate decision: If a caller denies you the opportunity to think over your options, it is likely to be a scammer trying to defraud you.
Although being aware of the tricks used by scammers will not stop you from being targeted by phone scammers, using tools that perform reverse phone number lookups can further reduce the chances of being scammed.
You can file complaints in Madison County with any of the following public bodies if you have been contacted by a scammer:
- The Madison County Sheriff's Office: If you have fallen victim to a phone scam in Madison County, you may contact the county sheriff's office at (256) 722-7181 or use the Madison County Sheriff Office Reporting System.
- The Alabama State Attorney General's Office: The Alabama Attorney General's Office maintains a consumer protection line at (800) 392-5658 or victim assistance line at (800) 626-7676. The Office has the legal right to prosecute residents engaging in fraudulent practices. You can also file a complaint online.
- Federal Communications Commission: If you receive unwanted robocalls and text messages, you can file a report online with the FCC.
- Federal Trade Commission - The FTC protects consumers from deceptive and fraudulent practices. You can file a phone scam report with the FTC by completing the online complaint form.