The North American Numbering Plan was created in 1940. Its purpose is to unify the local numbering plan in North America by assigning three-digit number prefixes known as area codes to all phone numbers in the country. The Missouri Public Service Commission is responsible for the distribution of telephone numbers and area codes in the State of Missouri.
Area code 636
The 636 area code is the only area code that covers St. Charles County. This area code also serves the metro area of St. Louis County, excluding the City of St. Louis. The 636 area code was created in 1999 as a split from the 314 area code. The 636 area code covers the east-central area of Missouri. This area code serves several cities and small communities including the Cities of Arnold, Ballwin, Chesterfield, Manchester, O’Fallon, St Peters, and Wildwood.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in St. Charles County?
AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile provide the best cell phone coverage in the State of Missouri. AT&T has the widest coverage area in the County, providing close to 99% network coverage in the state. Verizon covers about 89% of the County, while T-Mobile covers about 83% of the County. On the other hand, Sprint covers only 56% of the County, which is relatively poor when compared with other major telephone service providers in the County.
Research in Missouri shows that there is an increase in cell phone use, as against a significant decline in the use of traditional landlines in St. Charles County. This is illustrated in a 2018 survey carried out by the National Center for Health Statics. The survey shows that 64% of adults in the State of Missouri use only wireless phones, as against the 3.2% of adults who use only the traditional landlines. Amongst the minors under the age of 18 in Missouri, 74% use cell phones exclusively, while and 2.5% use only landlines. 11% of the adults in St. Charles County use a combination of both wireless phone services and traditional landlines. On the other hand, only 5.6% of children use a combination of both wireless phone services and traditional telephone landlines. It can be deduced that most of the residents in the county are more inclined to using wireless phone services.
Due to current technological advancements, the use of simple plain old telephone service has greatly reduced. This is because most phone users have turned to modern and dynamic telephony services that better suit their flexible lifestyle. Therefore, many telephone service providers have rolled out numerous new telephony services that easily align with phone users' lifestyles. One of such services is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service.
In St. Charles County, various companies currently offer VoIP together with traditional telephone services. VoIP enables more efficient communications. The large number of companies offering VoIP services and other telephony services within St. Charles County has resulted in competition amongst the service providers. This competition has led to a significant reduction in the price of the different telephone services within the county. The increased demand for VoIP services is a result of its flexibility, suitability for long calls, and efficiency on long-distance calls.
What are St. Charles County Phone Scams?
St. Charles County phone scams are targeted at the citizens of St. Charles County. The scammers call residents of the County and attempt to obtain or to steal their money, personal information, or deceive them with fake investments and business opportunities. There is a marked increase in the number of phone scams being perpetrated in St. Charles County. This has resulted in the St. Charles County Police Department and the State’s Attorney General Office laying out specific tips for residents to easily identify such scam calls. They have advised that citizens should;
- Confirm the identity of callers using free reverse lookup services.
- Terminate all calls properly before making further calls.
- Never give out PINs, social security numbers, and other personal details over the phone.
What are Grandparents Scams?
This scam primarily targets elderly people. In the grandparent’s scam, the scammer pretending to be a grandchild to the victim, calls the victim and claims to be in some sort of trouble. The scammer then requests a wire transfer or some other type of payment to a third party to help resolve the situation. To carry out this scam successfully, the scammer would usually give just enough information on the emergency to make it believable. Scammers often use medical emergencies or claims of incarceration as the backstories to perpetrate these scams. Once the caller gets the attention of the victim, he hands over the phone to a third party who plays the role of either a lawyer or a doctor, depending on the type of emergency the caller claims to be in.
This scam often has a high success rate as it exploits the love grandparents have for their grandchildren. Agencies such as the Better Business Bureau and the St. Charles County Police Department advises that educating senior citizens about the prevalence of these scams is the best way to help prevent them from being victims. They are also advised to call other family members, inform them of such calls, and ask about the whereabouts of the supposed family member.
What are Impersonation Scams?
In this type of scam, the scammer spoofs a Caller ID, making the Caller ID show up as a local St Charles County agency’s phone number. The caller then requests personal details, financial information, or payment. The Attorney General’s Office and the St Charles County Police Department have warned of this scam. They inform citizens of the county that they will never request any form of payment or personal financial details from the citizens of the county. Impersonation scams are often perpetrated by scammers that live outside St. Charles County.
What is Social Security Phone Scam?
This type of scam is often aimed at obtaining the social security details of county residents. The scammer spoofs a legitimate Social Security Administration’s Caller ID. The scammer then poses as a government official claiming that the resident’s social security number is suspended or that the social security number has been used to commit fraud. They then tell the victim to make certain payments to resolve the situation and avoid arrest.
What is a Covid-19 phone and text Scam?
This scam preys on the fear people have concerning the Covid-19 pandemic. Here, scammers contact St. Charles County residents, offering them free testing kits, cures, health insurance, and even financial aid. These scammers may go as far as claiming to be local contact tracers, through which they obtain personal details of residents of the County. This scam capitalizes on the health and financial concerns related to the pandemic.
What are investment scams?
In this type of scam, the scammers offer investment opportunities with high returns. The scammers pose as legitimate businesses or investment firms, offering great investment opportunities or get rich quick schemes. This is in a bid to persuade residents of St. Charles County to invest in such schemes. Residents of St. Charles County are to ensure that they independently verify such offers.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated phone calls that deliver pre-recorded messages. They utilize computerized auto-dialers to call phone numbers automatically. Most robocalls are often from political campaigns, telemarketers, and nonprofits. However, scammers tend to exploit the anonymous and automated nature of robocalls, as it allows them to target a large number of victims in a short time. These scammers pose as legitimate businesses and attempt to obtain personal information from their victims to perpetrate financial crimes or steal their identities. A phone number lookup by address is useful in identifying the source of a robocall.
Note that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that private businesses and organizations get their customers’ consent before sending robocalls to them. However, the following groups are exempted from this consent requirement:
- Debt collector calls
- Political calls
- Calls from health providers
- Messages from charities
- Informational messages
It is often difficult to avoid a robocall because they tend to dial randomly programmed telephone numbers. The best options to deal with illegal robocalls include;
- Ignore calls from unknown numbers, if you do answer and discover it's a robocall, hang up immediately.
- Do not respond to any questions or follow any prompts
- Register your telephone number online with the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Use a call blocking solution to stop unwanted calls or reach out to your phone service provider to block suspected robocall numbers.
- Use a reverse phone numbers lookup service to find who the phone number is registered to.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if the calls persist.
How Can You Spot and Report St. Charles County Phone Scams?
Phone scammers are continuously coming up with new ways of scamming St. Charles County residents. The easiest way to spot a phone scam is to stay informed on the new methods that phone scammers use to commit these scams. Residents are also advised not to pick up or return calls, especially when they do not know who called. This is the safest method to avoid falling victim to scams. However, if the resident does pick up the phone call, here are some pointers to identify a scam call;
- The caller uses aggressive and high-pressure sales tactics, making promises of limited-time offers and special discounts
- The caller avoids answering questions about their business and what products or services they have to offer
- The caller continuously requests your details during the call, using statements like “kindly confirm your information”
- The caller requests payment through odd channels such as bitcoin, western union, and so on.
- The caller offers investment opportunities with outrageous returns on investments that are often too good to be true.
Several public institutions that help St. Charles County residents in dealing with phone scams include;
St Charles County Police Department - Regularly informs county residents of current phone scams trends. Residents that fall victims to phone scams are advised to file reports with the county police. Residents can visit the County Police Office at:
101 Sheriff Dierker Court
O’Fallon, MO 63366
Monday - Friday 8am - 5pm
Call: 636-949-3000 or 636-949-3002
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office handles the prosecution of individuals involved in phone scams. Victims of phone scams in the state can file complaints online or by contacting the State's Attorney General’s Office on 573-751-3321.
In-person complaints are filed at;
Missouri Attorney General’s Office
Supreme Court Building
207 W. High Street
Jefferson City, M0 65102.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - The FTC set up the National Do Not Call Registry as part of the efforts to combat unwanted calls. The FTC focuses on protecting customers from fraudulent unethical business practices.