What are Shelby County Area Codes?
Shelby County spans about 810 square miles in the central part of Alabama. The county is home to an estimated 217,702 residents, and the county seat is Columbiana, while its largest city is Alabaster.
Area codes are a set of three-digit numbers preceding American phone numbers. Shelby County area codes represent the Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs) assigned to the county under the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversees phone number administration and authorizes the Alabama Public Service Commission (PUC) to manage and implement area codes in the state. Two area codes currently serve Shelby County:
Area Code 205
Area code 205 is one of the original 86 area codes put into service in 1947 and located in Alabama. It covers Shelby County and many others in the state. Shelby County cities within the 205 NPA include Columbiana, Alabaster, Helena, Chelsea, Calera, and Montevallo.
Area Code 659
Area code 659 overlaid the 205 NPA in 2019. All the cities within the 205 NPA are also under area code 659.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Shelby County?
All four major phone carriers in the United States, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, provide network services for Alabama residents, although each has varying coverage across counties. Not all locations in Shelby County enjoy network services by these lead phone carriers, but they perform excellently well where they exist. For instance, Verizon offers full network coverage (100%) in the City of Columbiana, and it is supported by various Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MNVOs). Similarly, in Alabaster, T-Mobile's cover of 100% comes before AT&T and Verizon that both cover 80% of the city.
Most Alabamans are steadily adopting wireless telephony services while landline phones in many households are increasingly becoming abandoned. According to the data gathered on phone usage among Alabamans in a 2018 CDC survey, 71.6% of the children population (under 18 years) already adopted wireless-only telephony services. Only 2.0% of them lived in landline-only homes. Similarly, 57.6% of the adult demographic used cell phones as their sole telephony devices, while those that still used landline phones exclusively made up about 5.8% of the adult population.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) offers Shelby County residents and businesses more affordable telephony rates than regular telephony services. It is a telephony service that transmits signals over IP networks such as broadband internet. VoIP supports all types of telephony services, including voice calls, video calls, and text messages. Residents who wish to enjoy services provided by VoIP must own internet-enabled devices.
What are Shelby County Phone Scams?
Shelby County phone scams are fraudulent activities conducted over the phone to obtain confidential information and cheat county residents out of their money. Telephone services used in scam schemes include text messages, live phone calls, and robocalls. Individuals who perpetrate phone scams conceal their identities and disguise themselves as representatives of reputable businesses and government agencies. They use a technology known as phone spoofing to change the Caller ID information on their targets' caller ID display and fool them into answering their phones. However, reverse phone number lookup services can identify spoofed phone calls and prevent scams. When scammers acquire personal and financial information in fraudulent schemes, they use such information to commit identity and financial theft.
The Consumer Interest Division of the Alabama Office of the Attorney General (OAG) provides information regarding all consumer-related fraud, including phone scams. The OAG is the primary consumer protection agency in Alabama. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Shelby County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) are also making efforts to rid Shelby County of phone scams. The commonly reported phone scams in Shelby County include:
What are Shelby County COVID-19 Contact Tracing Scams?
Scammers are taking advantage of the rising number of residents testing positive for coronavirus to rip them off. Contact tracers are health workers appointed to slow the spread of coronavirus. They reach out to residents who have been in contact with persons who tested positive for the virus over the phone. However, fraudsters now impersonate them and call naive Shelby County residents in a bid to obtain their information and steal money. They often claim that their targets have been in touch with persons who tested positive for coronavirus and advise them to self-isolate. During the phone conversation, the callers will inquire about their marks' personal information such as names, addresses, and social security numbers for assumed verification purposes. These scammers are smart and good at imitating the contact tracing processes and may occasionally request their targets' financial information. These are all indicators that you are being targeted for scams. Performing reverse phone lookups on the scammers' phone numbers can return information on their real identities. Legitimate contact tracers may ask you to confirm your name, date of birth, address, recent travels, and medical history but will never request personally identifying information from anyone.
The Shelby County Health Department warns residents to be aware of this scam scheme and cautions them never to share confidential information or send money to unknown callers over the phone. If you receive this type of call, hang up and contact the Shelby County Health Department at (205) 664-2470 to verify the caller's requests.
What are Shelby County Bail Bond Scams?
In bail bond scams, fraudsters cheat unsuspecting Shelby County residents while pretending to be their family members or official representatives of their relatives. To extort residents, the scammers will claim that they are in jail or pretend to be their relatives' attorneys to inform them that persons related to them are detained by law enforcement. They usually make up some stories as the reasons for being in the custody of law enforcement. The fraudsters will then plead with their targets to send money quickly to post bail before their cases escalate beyond control. They prefer gift cards or wire transfers as methods of receiving payment. Money sent via these channels is usually hard to trace and recover, which is why scammers favor them. If you receive this type of call, ask some crucial questions, chief of which is finding out the facility in which the caller alleges to be detained. You may request their booking IDs and contact your local law enforcement to verify the caller's claims. If such a caller is unable to provide this information, the chances are that you are dealing with a fraudster.
Reverse phone lookup free services can uncover the identities of these scammers and prevent you from falling victim. Shelby County residents should note that the Shelby County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) does not grant bail without physically appearing at the agency's office. The same is true for every other law enforcement agency within Shelby County. Furthermore, legitimate bail bond firms or attorneys will never request payment via unofficial payment channels.
What are Shelby County Credit Card Scams?
Scammers are contacting credit cardholders in Shelby County and pretending to be employees of their credit card companies in an attempt to defraud them. In most cases, they notify their targets that they suspect some unusual debits on their cards during routine audits, which might not have been made by them. Usually, targeted residents will deny making such entries on their cards, making them easy prey for these scammers. The fraudsters will promise to reverse such fraudulent charges and credit their cards with the entire amount. Afterward, they will ask to confirm if their victims have such cards in their possession. For them, the only way their victims can prove themselves as the rightful holders of those cards is to provide the Card Verification Value (CVV) numbers and the card numbers, also known as primary account number (PAN). PAN is the 16-digit number on a credit/debit card, while the three (or sometimes four) digit security code on a card's reverse side is the CVV. These two codes are required to complete online purchases and transactions.
Note that legitimate credit card companies have these numbers and will not ask consumers to provide them over the phone. An unknown caller who requests this information will make fraudulent charges on your credit card if you provide them. You can conduct a phone number search on the caller's phone number to uncover their real identity and determine if they are with your credit card company. Do not share any information if you receive such a call. Instead, end the call and contact your credit card company directly on their official phone numbers to ascertain the unknown caller's claim.
What are Shelby County Jury Duty Scams?
The Shelby County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) warns county residents about jury duty scams and cautions that correspondence between prospective jurors and the court is usually by mail. In this scam, fraudsters identify themselves as employees of local law enforcement agencies or the courts and inform their targets that they missed jury duty. They will solicit payment of fines for failure to appear in court and sometimes request confidential information for supposed verifications. In other instances, these fraudsters will send threatening text messages to their marks and provide call-back numbers. Their preferred means of receiving payments include wire transfers, bitcoins, and gift cards. The scammers usually threaten hesitant targets with extreme actions such as jail, arrest, deportation, and license suspension to get them to pay. These scammers favor phone spoofing, which displays local courts and law enforcement agencies’ phone numbers when preying on county residents. However, doing phone number lookups can return identifying information on them.
Shelby County residents should know that legitimate officials of the courts or law enforcement will never request payments or personal information in unsolicited calls. Residents who get these types of phone solicitations should not be pressured into complying with the callers' demands. They should end such calls and report them to the SCSO or the courts. These agencies do not threaten residents with punitive actions over the phone.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
A robocall is an auto-dialed phone call that delivers a pre-recorded message to mass phone numbers. Robocalls are used legitimately by political campaign organizations and telemarketing companies to convey information to target audiences. The government also uses robocalls for making public service announcements, especially during emergencies. They are cheap to initiate and require minimal human input. Fraudsters have, however, adopted robocalls for these reasons. Robocalls allow scammers to manipulate their phone numbers at will, making tracking by law enforcement a real challenge. It is also one of the reasons they favor using robocalls in their scam schemes. However, phone number search applications can help ascertain if incoming calls are robocalls. Spam calls are indiscriminate bulk calls sent to random phone numbers without users' prior consent. Robocalls are also a form of spam calls, most especially when intended for malicious purposes.
To avoid being scammed by illegal robocalls, your best options include:
- Use the in-built call-blocking features on your phone to block unwanted calls from identified spam numbers. Phone carriers also provide call-blocking services. Inquire from them and use them if affordable.
- Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce the influx of unsolicited telemarketing calls. The registry exempts listed phone numbers from receiving robocalls and spam calls, except in a few instances. If you get a robocall after 31 days of registration, it is a potential scam call.
- Report any illegal robocall numbers to the FTC online or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222.
- Use phone number lookup free services to identify robocall and spam numbers and block them from future calls.
- End a call once you discover it is a robocall.
How Can You Spot and Report Shelby County Phone Scams?
The need to avoid phone scams in Shelby County cannot be overstated as scammers continually change tricks in their scam schemes. Awareness through education by relevant public agencies is helpful, but residents have a lot more to do to combat phone scams. They can prevent phone scams if they can spot them before being fleeced. Number lookup applications can help you retrieve information on unknown callers and spot phone scams. As a general rule, never disclose confidential information or send money to unknown callers, especially if the call was not initiated by you. If you notice the following during a telephone conversation, it is a potential scam call:
- The caller claims to be an employee of a government agency and threatens to arrest you for not complying with their request.
- The caller claims that their company selected you for a special prize but wants you to pay some money before claiming the gift.
- The caller insists on receiving payment via irregular payment methods. If an unknown caller asks you to pay via gift cards, wire transfers or instructs you to mail cash, it is a scam call.
- The caller wants you to make immediate payments without allowing you some time to think over their offer.
- The caller requests confidential information in the guise of being a government official. No government agency will do such, especially not via phone calls.
Shelby County residents have the following options for filing phone scam reports:
Shelby County Sheriff's Office - Shelby County residents can report phone scam incidents to the SCSO by calling (205) 669-4181.
Federal Trade Commission - The FTC manages the DNC Registry to deter unsolicited calls and encourage residents to enlist their phone numbers. If you fall victim to a robocall scam or other phone scams, file a complaint with the FTC by calling 1 (888) 382-1222 or online.
Federal Communications Commission - Report phone spoofing scams and other phone scams to the FCC online or via phone call to 1 (888) 225-5322. The FCC guides residents on barring unwanted calls and avoiding phone scams.