Area codes are three-digit numbers that typically come before the main telephone numbers in North America. The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) divides these area codes into Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs) in order to serve specific geographical areas. Over time, most areas with one area code have expanded to accommodate more area codes. This is due to the exhaustion of the initial area codes assigned to such areas. To ascertain the geographical location of each area code, residents have the option of conducting area code lookups using reverse phone lookup services.
Area Code 573
Area code 573 was created on January 7, 1996, as a split from area code 314. It covers Missouri’s eastern half, particularly outside the immediate St. Louis region. Some of the cities and towns area code 573 covers are Columbia, Fulton, Jefferson City, Park Hills, Monroe City, New Bloomfield, etc.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Boone County?
Predominantly, there are four phone networks in Boone County. Considering these four, Verizon offers the best network coverage with 100%, T-Mobile comes in next with 80%, followed by Sprint with 78%. AT&T has the least coverage with 68% coverage. Regardless of the network coverage of the phone network providers, it may be adversely affected by bad weather, causing it to have low signal strength.
According to the 2018 National Center of Health Statistics survey, both adults and minors in Missouri prefer using wireless telephones over landlines, although the preference gap is wider among the minors. The survey shows that 64.2% of the Missouri adult population used wireless telephones only, while 3.2% of the Missouri adult population used landlines only as their preferred telephony service. In contrast, 74.9% of the Missouri population of minors used wireless telephones only, while only 2.5% of the Missouri population of minors used landlines only as their telephony service option.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is fast gaining recognition in Boone county. Individuals and businesses alike make use of VoIP. VoIP is a system of communication over an internet connection between one or among several recipients and senders. VoIP is not restricted to local calls but covers international calls as well, provided both parties have strong internet connections. Residents are gradually opting for VoIP because of its cost-effectiveness, flexibility, and its advanced features that traditional telephony services do not offer. Some of its advanced features include but are not restricted to call queues, auto attendants, call recording, group paging, name dialing, call forwarding, call encryption, and VoIP security.
What are Boone County Phone Scams?
Boone County phone scams are fraudulent practices where scammers extort individuals via telephone communications. Scammers mostly make use of innovations such as Caller ID spoofing and robocalls. They extort residents and trick them into divulging personal and financial information to commit identity theft. The typical tool scammers use to get to residents is impersonation. They disguise themselves as officers of legitimate organizations and ask either for official updates, payment of fees, or refunds. The scammers may also claim to have observed fraudulent activities on the targets’ accounts, and they need certain information to rectify the breaches. Residents should never give out sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, bank account numbers, family members’ names, mother’s maiden names, etc. In addition, Residents should not fully trust Caller IDs as they might be scammers at work. They should also not make payments or give out personal information without thorough investigation.
Scammers impersonate mostly financial institutions, health departments, the IRS, Social Security Administration, Sheriff Departments, and other law enforcement agencies, and residents’ family members. Residents can carry out reverse phone lookup services to recognize spoofed Caller IDs. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) helps educate residents on how to block unwanted calls and identify illegal Caller ID spoofing.
Frequently perpetrated scams in Boone County include:
What are Boone County Grandparent Scams?
In grandparent scams, fraudsters impersonate residents' grandchildren to request urgent financial aid. The scammers solicit help with emergencies, claiming that they have been arrested, involved in an accident, hospitalized, etc. They then solicit financial aid to be paid specifically via MoneyGram, gift cards, wire transfer, or even cash, etc. Usually, the scammers frantically ask that the calls be kept a secret, pleading that their “grandparents” do not inform other family members of the situation at hand. These scams are targeted at older residents who have grandchildren. Scammers take advantage of the nighttime to place the calls to confuse older residents even more.
Residents are advised never to make hasty or pressured decisions. A caller asking for the secrecy of a call is a red flag, and victims should immediately inform other family members. They should also ensure that they properly verify such information. Residents can conduct phone number searches with the reverse phone lookup tools to answer the question “who called me?”
What are Boone County IRS Scams?
IRS scams involve con artists pretending to be Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials with the intent of defrauding residents. These scams are prevalent during tax seasons. Here, the scammers call tax-paying residents concerning unpaid taxes and threaten them with arrest, license revocation, deportation, legal action, etc., upon payment default. The scammers attempt to make the scam more convincing by spoofing their Caller IDs and adopting the Caller IDs of legitimate IRS officials. They then demand immediate payment via gift cards, wire transfers, cryptocurrency, etc. The IRS informs residents to be wary of such calls as they would never call without first prompting them with mails. They will never demand payment over the phone, especially via gift cards and other unconventional payment methods.
Residents should be mindful of IRS scams and not disclose any financial or personal information, except on the verified IRS official website. Recipients of such calls that are unsure if they owe the IRS may call the IRS directly on 800-829-1040. Residents should maximize the use of reverse phone lookup services to conduct phone number lookups to identify callers.
In addition, the IRS helps residents by enlightening them on how to know when it is the IRS calling. To report IRS scams, fill out the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) or call 1-800-366-4484.
What are Boone County COVID-19 Contact Tracing Scams?
The COVID-19 pandemic birthed the COVID-19 contact tracing scams. In these scams, scammers pretend to be contact tracers and call residents, telling them that they have been exposed to the virus. They go ahead to ask for the residents’ personal information like their bank account information, social security numbers, health insurance information, and in some cases, payment for contact tracing. Note that legitimate contact tracers will not demand your personal information, neither will they request payment. Residents should be cautious of these ploys to defraud them.
If you receive a call from a supposed contract tracer, gather information about the person by doing a background check on a reverse phone number lookup to ascertain who called you. Do not be in haste to give out personal information. You may also contact the local or state health department to verify the caller’s claim.
What are Boone County Sheriff Department Scams?
Boone County Sheriff Department scams involve scammers impersonating the Sheriff Department and other law enforcement agencies to defraud residents. The scammers disguise themselves by spoofing their Caller IDs to appear as investigators from the Sheriff’s Department. They claim that there are summons for charges filed against the recipients. Then, they ask for the routing numbers and bank account information for the supposed summons. Residents should never believe such calls because the Sheriff’s department would never demand payment for summons over the phone.
Individuals can utilize reverse phone lookup tools for free to answer the question “who is this number registered to?” and identify spoofed Caller IDs. Residents should never wire money, send gift cards (Green Dot card, Google Play card) or give out their credit card information in response to these calls. Victims of such calls should report to the Boone County Sheriff’s Department online or call 573-875-1111.
What Are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are pre-recorded messages sent en masse to deliver specific messages. They are basically for the dissemination of general information and emergency announcements. Robocalls are particularly associated with telemarketers and political parties. However, these robocalls can be either legal or illegal. Scammers have taken advantage of robocalls to defraud residents and access their personal and financial information. These robocalls mostly include directives that recipients call certain numbers or follow prompts to speak with live agents or stop such robocalls. Residents are advised to ignore such instructions and hang up the call immediately.
The (FCC) Federal Communications Commission enacted the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 to regulate robocalls. Sequel to the provision of this Act, robocalls cannot be sent to residents without prior consent. Robocalls sent without prior consent are illegal and can be reported. Notwithstanding, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) makes provision for some robocalls that do not need prior consent. They are:
- Solely informational robocalls
- Robocalls by legitimate health institutions
- Robocalls for political campaigns
- Robocalls by legitimate charitable organizations
- Debt collection robocalls
Spam calls are unsolicited calls sent in bulk to several persons. They contain messages that are irrelevant to the recipients. These calls constitute nuisances to the recipients and may have fraudulent intentions.
To effectively combat robocalls and spam calls, residents should take the following steps and precautions:
- Register your phone number on the Missouri No-Call List online, by mail, or by calling 866-289-9633 to restrict the robocalls you receive. You may also register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry to further restrict robocalls.
- Use reverse phone lookup services to identify and block robocalls. Alternately, utilize the call-blocking options your phone network provider offers or call-blocking tools available on your cell phone.
- Avoid answering robocalls and following directives issued during the calls.
- Report unwanted calls to the FTC through the online complaint assistant or by calling 1-888-382-1222.
How to Spot and Report Boone County Phone Scams?
Scammers typically take advantage of the gullibility of residents and their ignorance to defraud and extort them. They also take advantage of periods of anxiety such as tax seasons, disasters, pandemics, etc. Residents should know that not all phone numbers that appear legitimate are actually legitimate, as scammers most times spoof their Caller IDs.
For these reasons, residents should look out for the following red flags:
- Demanding payment through prepaid cards, gift cards, wire transfer, digital currencies like bitcoin, and other unconventional payment methods. Payments made via these means are somewhat impossible to trace or retrieve.
- Asserting pressure, fear, and urgency on the recipient to ensure that the recipients make irrational and ill-conceived decisions
- Demanding payment of a fee for “prizes or lotteries won.”
- Telling the recipient that the call is a secret and should not be disclosed to anyone
- Refusing to reveal their names or answer questions relating to the purpose of the call
- Issuing threats of deportation, arrest, legal action, revocation of license amongst other harsh consequences
- Offering to help retrieve money lost from a scam for a fee
- Businesses, winnings, or investments that appear too good to be true and so-called once in a lifetime opportunities
Residents of Boone County can report phone scams to these government agencies:
Boone County Sheriff’s Department - Report scams to the Sheriff’s Department by filling out the compliments and complaint form online. You may also call 911 for emergencies and 573-875-1111 for non-emergencies.
Office of the Attorney General Missouri Consumer Protection Department - File complaint on phone scams by filling out the consumer complaint form online or using the pdf format. For inquiries, the Consumer Protection Hotline is 1-800-392-8222.
Federal Bureau of Investigation - General fraud and criminal matters can be reported by calling (202) 324-3000.