The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) was established to ease phone calls, especially long-distance phone calls. To accomplish this, the NANP divided existing telephone service territories into Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs) and assigned a sequence of three-digit codes to each. These codes are called area codes. An area code identifies the specific numbering plan area where a phone call originates or terminates. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorizes the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) to administer and implement area codes in Missouri. Only one area code covers Greene County, Missouri (417).
Area Code 417
Area code 417 is a Missouri telephone area code serving Greene County and some parts of many other counties in Missouri. It was created from a split of the 314 and 816 NPAs and put into service in 1950. Greene County cities and towns within the 417 NPA include Springfield, Ash Grove, Walnut Grove, Strafford, Fair Grove, Republic, and Willard.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Greene County?
Residents of Missouri rely more on wireless telephony services than landlines, as seen in a 2018 CDC survey. This survey was conducted to know telephony services adoption rates in the United States. Data for Missouri revealed that about 64.2% of adults (over 18 years) in households across the state adopted cell phones as their preferred choice for telecommunications. In the adult demographic, only about 3.2% still used landlines as their preferred telephony option. Among the under-18 population in Missouri, an estimated 74.9% used cell phones as their only means of telecommunication, while 4.1% used landlines solely.
Greene County is served by several telephone networks, including the four major phone carriers and some Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). Generally, network services are more robust in the cities than in the suburban areas of the county. In Springfield, Verizon boasts the best service with about 96% coverage, followed by T-Mobile with an estimated 90%. Sprint provides network service with about 72% coverage, while AT&T has the smallest network spread and covers only about 70% of the city.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provides alternative telephony services for residents of Greene County. The shift to cell phone usage, especially among minors, is responsible for the widespread adoption of VoIP in the county. VoIP is a telecommunication technology that leverages IP networks, such as broadband internet, to provide telephony services. It is cost-effective compared to regular telephony services. It is possible to make long-distance calls at little or no charge using VoIP.
What are Greene County Phone Scams?
Greene County phone scams are fraudulent acts that use telephony services such as text messages, live phone calls, and robocalls to extort county residents. Typically, phone scammers aim to deceive their targets in every possible way to steal their money and get access to personal and financial information. They know that people cannot be fooled ordinarily without falsifying their identities, which is why phone scammers favor phone spoofing. Fraudsters usually spoof phone numbers of reputable firms and government agencies to trick Greene County residents into answering their phones. Reverse phone number lookup applications can recognize spoofed phone calls and prevent residents from falling victim to phone scams.
The Missouri Office of the Attorney General, Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, and the Greene County Sheriff's Office are all at the forefront of ridding the county of phone scams. Some of the prevalent phone scams in Greene County are:
What are Grandparent Scams?
In Greene County, grandparent scams are usually targeted at older adults, taking advantage of their emotions and the love they have for their families. Typically, the callers pretend to be the grandchildren of their targets and concoct some scripts to stir sympathy and then request immediate financial assistance. Most fraudsters who employ this scheme have some information such as phone numbers and grandchildren's names about their potential victims, which increases their chances of success. Others buy information from data brokers to enable them to sound legitimate when contacting their targets. The majority of this information is often gleaned from their social media accounts. The scammers may say they were arrested and need money to post bail or tell their targets that they were involved in road crashes and need to raise money to sort the emergency. They will even inform their marks not to disclose such news to any member of the family, especially their "parents."
Unfortunately, many elderly persons in Greene County end up falling for this scam and send money to scammers. In some reported cases, the fraudsters kept calling their victims for more money, cooking up different stories each time they did until victims realized they had been entangled in fraud schemes all the way. Scammers who perpetrate grandparent scams favor payments by wire transfers and gift cards. The Greene County Sheriff's Office warns residents against falling prey to grandparent scams. It advises them to verify such claims from their relatives anytime they receive such phone calls to avoid losing money. Reverse phone number lookup applications can reveal the real identities of such callers.
What are Bank Scams?
Phone scammers take advantage of persons who are desperate to resolve their bank issues in Greene County and extort them. They usually come up with various claims, but their ultimate aim is to steal their marks' money or financial information, which they can use to commit financial theft. The scammers often spoof the official phone numbers of their targets' banks to make such phone calls appear legitimate. Residents can use free reverse phone lookup services to retrieve information about callers who claim to be with their banks and solicit confidential information. Sometimes, these scammers contact their marks using text messages and request a call back from them. They may also instruct them to open certain links in those messages in an attempt to harvest targets' financial information. Some of the links may require targets to sign in to their online banking platforms. Phone scammers will retrieve their victims' login info and steal the money in their accounts.
In a popular version of bank scams, phone scammers will contact their targets and notify them of fraud alerts on their credit or debit cards. They will use scare tactics to trick their marks into sharing confidential data such as PINs, card numbers, and personal information and inform them that such issues require urgent attention to avoid financial losses. Legitimate bank employees will never request such details in unsolicited calls or by any means because they are meant to be private. If you get this type of solicitation, hang up immediately and contact your bank on their official phone numbers. Never be fooled into opening a link sent by text message purportedly from your bank without first verifying it from the bank via the appropriate channel.
What are Arrest Warrant Scams?
Fraudsters who perpetrate arrest warrant scams identify as employees of the Greene County Sheriff's Office to cheat residents out of their money. They often use the names and badge numbers of legitimate officers to deceive targets in a bid to extort them. In many cases, they will notify naive residents that there are warrants out for their arrest or their relatives. They will then inform their marks that they will soon carry out such arrests but may cancel them on the condition that the targets pay some money. These scammers sometimes spoof the official phone numbers of the Greene County Sheriff's Office. They do this to trick their marks into believing their claims and thinking such calls are valid ones. Residents can identify spoofed phone calls using services that provide reverse phone number lookup. These scammers are generally known for taking payments in the most unconventional ways. They favor wire transfers, bitcoins, and gift cards.
The County Sheriff's Office warns the general public to be wary of these callers. It reiterates that its officers do not contact anyone to request payment for anything over the phone. The Sheriff's Office advises residents who receive calls like this to hang up and contact law enforcement to report such incidents.
What are IRS Scams?
Although happening all-year-round, IRS scams are rampant in Greene County during tax seasons. They are committed by fraudsters who impersonate Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents. They even provide badge numbers to sound official and convincing in a bid to steal their targets' confidential information and money. These scammers typically tell their marks that they owe back taxes and demand that they pay immediately. They will instruct their targets to put money on gift cards and send the card numbers to them or ask them to wire money. In many instances, the fraudsters will stay on the phone with their marks throughout the entire payment process to ensure payments. It is also a means to dissuade their targets from reaching out to the IRS for verifications. If their targets hesitate to make such payments, the scammers will threaten to bring in law enforcement to arrest them and put them in jail. In other iterations of the IRS scams, the callers may request their targets' personal information to confirm their innocence in alleged tax frauds. The scammers may also deceive them into believing they qualify for tax refunds and then ask for their details, which may include social security numbers, for supposed verifications.
The IRS warns that its agents do not threaten residents with arrest or jail over the phone for owing back taxes. Also, no legitimate IRS agent will solicit personal information from anyone over the phone. Typically, the IRS first notifies persons with delinquent taxes by mail multiple times to let them know they owe money. Never disclose confidential information to anyone over the phone, especially if you did not start such a call. Contact the IRS on their official phone numbers if you believe you may owe taxes to avoid falling victim to this scam. Using reverse phone lookup free tools to search the phone numbers used by such callers can help retrieve their real identities.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
A robocall is a tool used by telemarketing companies and political campaign groups to contact mass audiences. It is also used by Greene County government agencies to make public service announcements. Robocalls deliver pre-recorded messages via automated phone calls that play when these phone calls are answered. Phone scammers favor robocalls because of their ability to deliver messages to several marks with minimal human involvement.
Fraudsters also spoof robocalls and impersonate legitimate entities to increase the likelihood of success in their deceptive schemes. However, a reverse phone number lookup application can identify if an incoming call is a robocall and help you avoid scams. Robocalls are spam calls because they are sometimes used to call random phone numbers to determine if they are active for future phone scam engagements. They are annoying, intrusive, and mostly unsolicited. The FTC educates residents on blocking unwanted calls to prevent phone scams. The best approach to deal with illegal robocalls and avoid scams in Greene County include:
- Ignore incoming calls from unknown phone numbers and let them go to voicemail. The chances are that live and legitimate callers will leave messages in your voicemails.
- Report illegal robocalls to the FTC online or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222.
- Add your number to the National Do Not Call Registry. Numbers listed in the registry are restricted from receiving sales calls. If you still receive lots of unwanted calls afterward, they are potential scam calls.
- Use call-blocking services offered by network service carriers to identify and block spam calls. Inquire from your service provider on how to access such services. Alternatively, use call-blocking tools built into your smartphone to block spam callers and robocalls.
- End a phone call once you verify it is a robocall. Do not follow any prompts given, as doing so indicates that you are a live recipient, and you will be noted for more robocalls.
How Can You Spot and Report Greene County Phone Scams?
Understanding the ploys used by phone scammers and being observant during phone calls are the best ways of identifying phone scams in Greene County. Fraudsters can target anyone and employ any tactics to extort unsuspecting residents. Staying informed about their schemes will help you spot scams before they hit you. Also, reverse number lookup tools can help you spot phone scams. The signs that a call from an unknown person is a scam include:
- The caller informs you of a prize or winning but asks for upfront payments before you can redeem it.
- The caller claims to be law enforcement but tries to intimidate you to get you to do their bidding. A legitimate law enforcement officer does not use threats over the phone for any reason.
- The caller claims to represent a legitimate organization but makes repeated requests for your personal and financial information. A legitimate organization will not ask for your personal information on an unsolicited phone call.
- The caller insists on taking payments via specific mediums such as gift cards, bitcoins, and wire transfers. Financial transactions consummated on these channels are hard to trace and retrieve.
- The caller presents attractive investment opportunities and persuades you to act by sending money to them immediately, insisting that the offers are time-sensitive.
Greene County residents who believe they may have been victims of phone scams can report such incidents to the following agencies:
Federal Trade Commission - The FTC protects consumers from deceptive practices. It maintains the National Do Not Call Registry to ensure consumer phone privacy and restrict illegal robocalls. Residents can report illegal robocalls and other phone scams to the FTC online or by calling 1-888-382-1222.
Federal Communications Commission - The FTC protects consumers from phone spoofing scams and unsolicited calls. It also educates consumers on avoiding unwanted robocalls and texts. Greene County residents who have been victims of phone scams can file complaints with the FCC.
Greene County Sheriff's Office - The Sheriff's Office investigates incidents of phone scams and periodically publishes scam alerts to keep residents informed on the latest scams. Victims of phone scams in Greene County can report such incidents to the Sheriff's Office by calling (417) 868-4040. They may also file complaints in person at Greene County Sheriff Office, 1010 N Boonville Avenue, Springfield, MO 65802.
Missouri Office of the Attorney General - The OAG is the principal consumer protection agent in the state. Residents of Greene County can report phone scam incidents to the Office of the Attorney General by calling (573) 751-3321.