Area codes, which are the sets of the first three digits in phone numbers, are assigned by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). They help to differentiate the Numbering Plan Areas (NPA) within U.S. states. The California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), among its other responsibilities, maintains and implements the Fresno County area code as authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The only active area code that covers Fresno County is the 559 area code:
Area Code 559
Area Code 559 was created from a split of the 209 area code in 1998. It is a Californian telephone code in the NANP. It serves the major cities of Fresno County as well as some locations in Kings, Tulare, and Madera counties. Fresno County cities covered by area code 559 include Mendota, Fresno, Selma, Orange Cove, Sanger, Clovis, and Kingsburg.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Fresno County?
Many Fresno County residents have switched from landlines to wireless telephony services. This shift was documented in a 2018 CDC survey that showed only 3.3% of adult Californians still used landline-only telephony services while 55.4% used wireless phones for telecommunications. Cell phone usage is even higher among children, under 18 years, in California. In this demographic, 63.5% used wireless-only phone services while 1.2% of the popular still relied exclusively on landlines.
Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile are the major cell phone carriers in Fresno County. Within the City of Fresno, AT&T offers the best coverage with signals available everywhere in the city, Verizon comes second with 82% coverage while T-Mobile and Sprint enjoy 78% and 70% coverage respectively.
Unlike traditional telephony services that use Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN), Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) uses the internet for phone calls. VoIP offers lower call rates and provides convenient features such as video calls at affordable rates. For these reasons, it is rapidly becoming the phone service of choice for businesses and individual users in Fresno County.
What are Fresno County Phone Scams?
These are scams perpetrated in Fresno County over the phone. Con artists that engage in phone scams target unsuspecting victims to either obtain personal information or steal their money.
The Fresno District Attorney's Office (FDAO) is the primary consumer protection agency in the county. It provides residents with the information needed to avoid phone scams. The FDAO partners with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) when investigating reported phone scams within the county. To combat scams, the FCSO releases phone scam alerts to educate residents by current scam tactics and trends in the county. Residents can also avoid these scams by using applications that offer phone number lookup services. These are helpful for identifying unknown callers. Common phone scams in Fresno County include:
What are Deputy Sheriff Impersonation Scams?
Deputy Sheriff phone scams have been around for a long time. Scammers keep finding new ways to deceive their targets with false claims while pretending to be county deputy sheriffs. In a new variation, a scam caller claims that you were named in some legal trouble and that they are in charge of the investigation. The scammer will tell you to pay a certain amount of money to remove you from the case and to avoid arrest. The scammer will ask you to purchase a gift card or wire the amount requested.
If a caller posing as Fresno County deputy sheriff sounds suspicious, you can do a reverse phone lookup to confirm the person's identity. The Fresno County Sheriff's Office (FCSO) warns residents to be wary of impersonation scams. Its officers will never demand payment from residents over the phone. Persons who fall victim to this scam can report to the FCSO by calling (559) 600-3111 or file complaints online.
What are Look-alike Number Phone Scams?
If your telephone rings and the caller ID displays your phone number or an almost identical number, hang up. Scammers using this ploy prey on the curiosity of their targets in order to steal their personal information. The scammer will pose as an employee of your phone company and say that your phone account has been compromised. To gain control of your phone number, they will request some personal information, which may include your SSN for supposed verifications.
The Better Business Bureau says this is happening all across the US and warns residents to avoid falling victim. Document as much information as you can if you answer such a call but do not yield to the scammer’s demands. You can contact your phone company and provide these details afterward. Fresno County residents who believe they may have disclosed personal information to scammers running this con can email completed fraud complaint forms to the FDAO for investigations. Victims can also report their encounters to the FTC by calling 1 (888) 382-1222.
What are Jury Duty Scams?
In this type of scam, con artists spoof the non-emergency dispatch line, (559) 600- 3111, of the FCSO to demand money from unsuspecting residents. Scammers usually claim that their targets failed to appear for jury duty, and must consequently pay some fines. They further threaten victims with immediate arrest if the fines are not paid promptly. In most of the reported cases, scammers will stay on the phone while ensuring that their targets make the payments before letting them off. Typical jury duty scammers demand payments by wire transfers, cryptocurrencies, and prepaid cards.
The FCSO warns that its officers do not request fines for missed jury duty and will never demand payment over the phone. Anyone who has lost money to this scam in Fresno County can file a complaint online with the FCSO.
What are Debt Collector Scams?
If someone posing as a debt collector calls you, verify their identity by doing a reverse cell phone lookup. Debt collector scammers call for repayment of debts their targets probably did not even owe. During their calls, they may ask for targets' personal and financial information. Many residents who have fallen victim to this scam were indeed not indebted to anyone but yielded to arrest threats. Residents must know that legitimate debt collection agencies will serve written notices on debtors and not scare them with arrests over the phone.
Even if you truly owe debtors, do not make any payment or disclose personal information over the phone. Rather, contact your creditor for verification of the caller’s claims. The FTC's online complaint assistant can be used by victims of this scam for reporting purposes. Alternatively, victims can report debt collector scam calls to the Fresno District Attorney's Office by calling (559) 600-4400.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls, when utilized by scammers, aim to steal targets' money and personal information, or both. Robocalls are automated calls that deliver pre-recorded messages. It is possible to ascertain if a telephone call is a robocall by using search engines that offer suspicious phone number lookup services. If you receive a robocall, take these steps to avoid getting scammed:
- End the call immediately. Even if the caller ID displays a familiar number, do not listen to its messages.
- Register your number at no cost on the National Do Not Call Registry. Spotting fraudulent robocalls gets easier after registration.
- Inquire about call blocking procedures from your telephone company and block the numbers used for robocalls. A lot of phone companies provide call-blocking services for free. You can also download a compatible call-blocking application for your cell phone type.
- Report the number online to the FTC.
How Can You Spot and Report Fresno County Phone Scams?
The ability to identify phone scams is the best way to avoid them. Although scammers keep finding new ways to fool targets, staying informed can help you spot phone scams before you get fleeced. Residents can uncover the identities of phone scammers by doing reverse number lookups. You may be speaking with a phone scammer if during the call you observe any of the following:
- The caller pressures you into disclosing confidential information or making an on-the-spot decision. Legitimate companies will not pressure you into patronizing them.
- The caller scares you to act immediately in a way that you are unable to reach out to anyone for help or confirm their claims.
- The caller claims to work for a company you have never had contact with and is asking you for money. They may use call spoofing to make their numbers appear legitimate. Even if you are familiar with the company, verify the caller's claim by contacting the company on their official contact channels.
- If you ask for clarifications on the offer presented and the caller is unwilling to respond, know that it is a scam.
- The caller requests that you pay via unofficial channels. Scammers typically prefer gift cards, bitcoins, and wire transfers because payments via those means are difficult to trace and reverse.
- Anyone who calls you and poses as a government official to demand money or request personal or financial information is a scammer. Government agencies and their employees will never request such over the phone.
Several government agencies are determined to combat the bane of phone scams in Fresno County. They implement policies to protect consumers, educate residents with scam alerts, and provide tips on how to avoid phone scams. These agencies include:
Federal Trade Commission - Created to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive practices the FTC manages a Do Not Call Registry for stopping unsolicited calls. Phone scams perpetrated with unsolicited calls can be reported to the FTC online or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222.
Fresno County Sheriff's Office - The FCSO helps to fight the menace of phone scams in Fresno County by regularly publishing scam alerts to educate residents. Report incidents of phone scams within Fresno County to the Sheriff's Office online or by calling (559) 600-3111 for investigations.
Fresno District Attorney's Office - Being the chief consumer protection agency in Fresno County, the FDAO ensures that residents are regularly informed of the latest scams. They also provide guides to avoid these scams. Residents who receive scam calls or have fallen victim can report via email with completed fraud complaint forms to the Fresno District Attorney's Office.