Area codes refer to the first three digits of ten-digit North American phone numbers. They identify the specific telephone service areas within a state called Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs), as designated by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). The California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) is responsible for implementing and maintaining area codes in California, including Butte County.
Butte County is currently served by only one area code:
Area Code 530
Area code 530 was introduced in November 1997 as a split from the 916 NPA. It covers all the cities and communities under Butte County. These include Biggs, Chico, Feather Falls, and Forbestown. Others are Gridley, Magalia, Nelson, Oroville, Palermo, Paradise, and Richvale.
What Are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Butte County?
A 2018 National Center of Health Statistics survey on household wireless telephone substitution estimated that 55.4% of California adults used wireless telephony services only. In contrast, only 3.3% of them used landline phones as their preferred telephony devices. Among the children population (under 18 years), about 63.5% had adopted wireless-only services, while only 1.5% still used landlines. With this data, it is safe to infer that cell phones have overtaken landlines as the preferred devices for telecommunications in Butte County.
All four major phone carriers, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, provide network services with varying coverage in Butte County. Verizon offers the best service, with 77% coverage, and is closely followed by AT&T with a 76% spread, while T-Mobile covers 62% of the county. Sprint provides the least network coverage in Butte County. Several Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) also provide wireless telephone services in the county. MVNOs are smaller carriers that leverage the infrastructure of the major carriers to offer residents more affordable network service options.
Various service providers offer Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony services in Butte County. VoIP transmits voice calls between users using broadband internet connections. It allows subscribers to place unlimited local, long-distance, and international calls at minimal charges. VoIP offers individuals and businesses in Butte County a wide range of features such as voicemail, call forwarding and blocking, interactive voice recognition, and automatic call distribution. VoIP technology is compatible with computer systems, smartphones, tablets, and landlines (with a VoIP adapter).
What Are Butte County Phone Scams?
Butte County phone scams are perpetrated by fraudsters via telephone services to cajole Butte county residents into disclosing confidential information or parting with their money, or both. Scammers often deceive, compel or threaten, and scare their targets in an attempt to extort them. Reverse phone number lookup services can help county residents in identifying them and avoid scams. The California Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is the primary consumer protection agency in the state. It periodically publishes consumer alerts to prevent residents from falling victim to phone scams.
Common phone scams targeting Butte County residents include:
What are Butte County Charity Scams?
In charity scams, fraudsters pretend to be representatives or affiliates of legitimate charities and call targeted Butte County residents to solicit donations. To increase their chances of success, they deceive targets by spoofing the phone numbers of familiar charities to which their targets have previously made contributions. The proceeds from these scam schemes are usually diverted to personal use. County residents must know that while charitable organizations and their members regularly call and solicit donations, scammers have co-opted the tactic to scam targets. A reverse phone lookup tool can be used to confirm if a call is really from a legitimate charity. If the phone number search returns a result other than expected, it means that such a phone call is a scam call.
What are Butte County Debt Relief And Credit Repair Scams?
Scammers usually target Butte County residents with outstanding student loans, huge debts, and bad credit reports to defraud them. They typically call to offer their targets debt relief and credit repairs for a fee. Residents must be cautious not to fall prey to such schemes. The best way to repair credit reports and improve credit scores is to repay outstanding obligations, including credit card debts. Also, they must demonstrate that future debts will be paid promptly. A good reverse phone lookup application can help identify such callers and prevent residents from falling prey. Butte County residents are encouraged to report such calls promptly to the appropriate authorities. Do not pay unknown callers who promise debt relief or credit repair for a fee.
What are Butte County Health Care Scams?
While there are many variants of health care scams, COVID-19 and Medicare card scams are the most prevalent ones in Butte County. In COVID-19 scams, callers prey on residents' fear of the coronavirus pandemic to perpetrate nefarious acts. The scammers typically claim to be with state or federal government health departments responsible for distributing health care items. They often offer their targets quick access to COVID-19 test kits, treatments, and vaccines, taking advantage of residents’ eagerness to be ahead of others on the waiting list. Once they are paid, the scammers disappear without providing any medical services or products.
In medicare scams, fraudsters call to warn targeted residents about the possibility of losing their medicare coverage and suggest they obtain new medicare cards. They then offer to process the new cards for free but require their targets’ personal information such as credit card details, PINs, or social security numbers. Sometimes, these scammers may also request payment for new card issuance. Scammers who obtain victims’ identity information end up stealing their healthcare coverage or committing identity theft. Performing a free reverse phone lookup on such a caller’s phone number may answer the question, “who is this number registered to?” Doing this will help to confirm if the caller is indeed a healthcare official.
What are Butte County Business Offer and Investment Scams?
Investment scams are targeted at inexperienced Butte County residents starting new trades. Most times, the scammers impersonate reputable investment firms or business organizations and call their targets to offer them “ the opportunity of a lifetime.” They often promise high returns with little or no risks. The fraudsters usually claim to have the expertise to expand their targets’ business networks and introduce them to influential investors in their line of business. They typically include a range of services in their offers, such as helping them to secure loans, mentorship, and guaranteed patronage for a fee.
Once their targets make payments, the scammers stop all forms of communication with them or give services worth much less than promised. Many of these “get rich quick” schemes are scams, and county residents who get such offers must exercise caution. Phone number search applications can help verify if these types of calls are from legitimate businesses.
What are Butte County Emergency Scams?
These are also called grandparents scams because they typically target elderly residents. Scammers pretend to be their marks’ grandchildren and claim to have an urgent need of financial help to resolve some emergencies. Sometimes, the callers pose as law enforcement officers or attorneys helping targets’ grandchildren to get out of some predicaments. They usually insist that their targets should not share any information with other family members to avoid embarrassment. The secrecy allows emergency fraudsters to extort their targets repeatedly until they realize they are being duped.
Butte County residents who receive these types of calls should inform other family members promptly to confirm such callers’ claims. A free reverse phone number lookup tool can answer the question “who is this number registered to?” It will also reveal the true identity of the caller.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated phone calls made to deliver pre-recorded messages, usually by telemarketers, political campaign organizations, and non-profit groups. Robocalls attempting sales pitches without the express written permission of recipients are illegitimate and regarded as spam calls by law.
Due to the obscurity it provides, robocalls have become a tool of choice for scammers. Scammers often use spoofed robocalls to fool unsuspecting targets into believing they are legitimate entities. Robocall scams aim to retrieve confidential information that can facilitate financial or identity theft. Butte County residents can determine if incoming calls are robocalls by using good phone lookup services.
Residents can adopt the following measures to reduce illegal robocalls and telemarketing calls:
- Do not answer calls from unknown phone numbers. If you answer one of such calls and realize it is a robocall, hang up immediately. If the recording prompts you to hit a button to stop getting such calls, disregard the instruction. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
- Do not trust your caller ID information completely. You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed. Caller ID showing a local phone number does not necessarily translate to a live or legitimate call.
- Check the OAG's website on how to slow the flow of unsolicited calls and spam messages.
- Register your phone number on the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry. Telemarketers are restricted from calling the phone numbers listed in the registry, which reduces the frequency of unwanted calls significantly.
- All android and iOS smartphones have inbuilt features that enable users to block suspicious phone numbers and flag them as spam numbers. Activate your phone’s call-blocking feature to block identified robocall numbers.
- Install third-party call-blocking applications such as YouMail, Nomorobo, and Truecaller on your phone to block unsolicited calls.
How to Spot and Report Butte County Phone Scams
Scammers are evolving new schemes to defraud uninformed Butte County residents. They typically threaten targets with lawsuits, tax audits, imprisonment, license revocation, and deportation. The best weapons for combating phone scams are education and vigilance. Reverse phone number lookup applications are also helpful in identifying potential phone scams. County residents can avoid phone scams if they can recognize their telltale signs.
In Butte County, indications that a phone call is a scam include:
- The caller claims to be with reputable businesses and requests residents to confirm specific information in their records, such as social security numbers or credit card details. Such pieces of information end up being used for identity and financial theft. Legitimate entities do not confirm customer details in unsolicited calls.
- Phone calls by unknown persons offering investment and business opportunities with no risks and high returns on investment.
- The caller demands payment via specific methods such as gift cards or vouchers, wire transfers, or bitcoin. With such payment channels, completed transactions are usually untraceable and hard to retrieve.
- Callers who pressure residents into making instant decisions, giving no room to scrutinize the terms of their offers, are likely scammers. Legitimate businesses do not pressure potential customers or investors into making on-the-spot commitments.
- Callers claiming to be law enforcement officers or employees of the IRS and demanding immediate payment for outstanding taxes from residents are potential fraudsters. They often threaten call recipients with arrest, deportation, and fines. Legitimate employees of law enforcement, federal, and state agencies do not threaten residents over the phone.
- Callers who change phone numbers each time they call you are not far from being fraudsters. Scammers typically manipulate Caller IDs to make tracing and identifying them challenging. They sometimes use VoIP applications that randomly assign phone numbers to callers. Doing this prevents them from getting blacklisted by call-blocking and reverse phone number lookup services.
Butte County phone scam victims can seek redress by filing complaints with the following public agencies:
- Butte County Sheriff’s Office: Residents can call the Sheriff’s Office on (530) 538-7321 to file phone scam reports.
- Butte County District Attorney: The District Attorney can be reached at (530) 538-7411 for all phone scam complaints.
- California Attorney General's Office: Scam victims can file their complaints with the Attorney General’s Office using the Consumer Complaint Form.
- Federal Communications Commission: Victims of illegal robocalls in Butte County can file complaints online with the FCC.
- Federal Trade Commission: Butte County residents can register their phone numbers on the FTC's National Do Not Call Registry to avoid harassment and inundation by robocalls. Unsolicited calls received 31 days after registration should be reported to the FTC. County residents can also report phone scam incidents online to the FTC.