The Bell System created the North American Numbering Plan in the 1940s. Part of the plan included the use of area codes to replace the cumbersome call operations system which required human operators to connect calls across the existing telephony communications system. Area codes were formed as three-digit prefixes added to seven-digit telephone numbers to route calls through the different geographical areas that were created. Each geographical area has its own area code. Hence, using area codes helped to automate calls and removed the reliance on human operators in connecting calls. You can find the area code of any geographical area in the United States by using an area code lookup tool online.
Two area codes currently serve Imperial County – Area codes 442 and 760.
Area Code 442
Area Code 442 was first used on November 21, 2009, and was created from area code 760. It serves southeastern California including locations such as Oceanside, Escondido, Victorville, Carlsbad, and Vista.
Area Code 760
Area code 760 was first put in service on March 22, 1997, and was created from area code 619. Area code 442 was created in 2009 to serve as an overlay to the 760-area code. It serves areas such as Hesperia, San Marcos, Indio, Apple Valley, Cathedral City, and Encinitas.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Imperial County?
Residents of Imperial County and California are turning to the use of wireless telephony in droves. As evidenced in a 2018 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, 55.4% of California residents aged 18 and above used wireless-only telephony, while only 3.3% used landline telephony service exclusively. The survey revealed an even bigger wireless adoption rate among residents below the age of 18. Among the under 18 demographics, 63.5% used wireless-only telephony service, while 1.8% used landline telephony service exclusively.
Renewed competition among America's four major Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) has meant that coverage for nearly all the wireless providers has improved dramatically in recent times. In Imperial's county seat of El Centro, Verizon has the best overall coverage score, rated at 94%. Verizon's coverage is also good at a rated score of 86%. T-Mobile's coverage is rated 64%, while Sprint's coverage is quite poor with dropped calls and poor signals experienced by users.
Several other smaller but high-quality wireless carriers also offer cell phone plans in Imperial County. These smaller carriers are known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). MVNOs do not spend money on creating their own networks but leverage the infrastructures of the MNOs by purchasing minutes and data from them in bulk which are sold at marked down prices to consumers.
Cost is an important factor to many residents and business owners in Imperial County. This has seen many such persons switch to VoIP services for telephony communications. VoIP calls are cheaper because service providers do not need to invest in laying of communication lines or erect masts and base stations. VoIP calls are transmitted over high-speed internet connections in digital form. By choosing VoIP plans, users can save more than half on their phone bills.
What are Imperial County Phone Scams?
Imperial County phone scams are fraudulent activities perpetrated using phone calls by fraudsters to extort money or private information from Imperial County residents. Illegally obtained private or personal information are then used by scammers to commit fraud or identity theft. Phone scammers can be anyone. However, they are often strangers preying on older people who may be isolated, confused, lonely, or desperate for attention. Some caregivers and persons in positions of trust also use fear or guilt to take advantage of elderly adults. Criminally minded family members also target other relatives. No one is left out from under the radar of con artists. Phone lookup applications can help unmask the real identities of phone scammers.
What are Imperial County Law Enforcement Impersonation Scams?
This scam tries to take advantage of residents of Imperial County by purportedly alerting them to committed offenses. Callers are told they have to pay fines to clear up warrants that have been issued for offenses such as missing court dates or jury duties. The fines are required to be paid by purchasing prepaid debit cards and providing the numbers on them. The perpetrator may also ask you to provide or confirm personal information such as your address, phone numbers, e-mail address, driver's license number, Social Security number, birth date, and birthplace. Phone lookup applications can help uncover the true identities of scam callers.
What are Imperial County Medicare Scams?
Medicare beneficiaries are targeted by scammers and identity thieves all year long, but fraudulent practices tend to increase around the enrollment period. Scammers may call Medicare beneficiaries and ask them to provide identifying information to receive new or updated Medicare cards. They may even tell them there is a charge for new cards and request credit card numbers as well. Another devious variation of the scam involves callers who say that due to a vague change in Medicare coverage, targets are owed refunds. The caller will ask for your Medicare Number and bank account information under the guise of depositing the funds directly into your bank account. To limit the chance of falling prey to Medicare scammers, you can use a reverse cell phone lookup tool to verify if a caller’s identity matches the name given.
What are Imperial County Grandparent Scams?
Here, the con artist calls or sends a message claiming to the target claiming to be a grandchild who needs urgent financial aid. The caller may have obtained information about the relatives of the target online which will be used during the conversation to appear legitimate. The caller may also use the identity of a grandchild mentioned by the target at the start of the phone call.
Typically, a grandparent scammer claims to need money to bond out of jail or pay a hospital bill. The scam may also involve another fraudster who poses as a law enforcement officer or a hospital employee. The second fraudster aims to substantiate the claims of the first caller. Once the scammer gains the trust of the target or gets the elderly to respond in fear, the con artist asks for money through money transfer services such as Western Union and MoneyGram. Financial aid may also be requested through gift cards or prepaid debit cards. The scammer may claim to be embarrassed by the situation and ask the victim to keep the situation secret from other family members. Reverse phone number lookup applications can prevent residents from falling victim to phone scams.
What are Imperial County Utility Scams?
Utility scams are perpetrated by persons posing as representatives or employees of utility companies. Common utility companies include water, gas, and electrical power companies. These supposed representatives harass residents with threats of disconnecting services or shutting down utilities for failing to pay purported overdue utility bills. In a recent twist, utility scammers now say targets overpaid on their past bills and are due refunds. To obtain the refunds, they ask targets for their Social Security numbers, bank account information, credit card details, and other sensitive information. To verify that callers are who they say they are, you can use good reverse phone lookup tools online to quickly do a number lookup or reverse number lookup.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are pre recorded messages received through automated phone calls from computer-generated dialers. Robocalls are useful in sending important public service announcements such as those sent by schools to students, parents, and employees and those used in political campaigns. However, the majority of robocalls received by Imperial County residents are unsolicited and unwanted spam calls. California is one of the most hit states in the United States by robocalls. In 2020, over 4.5 billion robocalls were received by California residents. Between January and March 2021, residents received over 1.2 billion robocalls, an average of 25.2 robocalls per person. The majority of these calls are intended to defraud residents of money or obtain sensitive personal information.
A phone lookup service can help determine if an incoming call is a robocall. You can also follow these guidelines to limit the scourge of robocalls:
- Confirm that you are on the national Do-Not-Call List: Although scammers may find ways around the Do-Not-Call Registry, it is still a good idea to add your number to the registry. That way, you will get fewer robocalls from companies following the 2019 Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED). The act increases penalties and requires phone companies to validate calls before they reach you. Call (888) 382-1222 from the phone you want to register or register online at DoNotCall. Register your home and cellphone numbers or confirm those numbers are already on the list.
- Use voicemail as a weapon: One of the easiest methods to fight robocalls is to screen calls through your voicemail. Telemarketers often hang up when the call goes to voicemail.
- Use your smartphone's number-blocking feature: If you get an unsolicited call, you can block that number for good. Check your phone call settings to activate this feature. This is usually an effective option for many people.
- Ask your phone company about call-blocking services: Many phone service providers offer free call-blocking features. You may contact your provider to find out if one is included in your plan or may be purchased as an add-on service.
- Download a third-party call-blocking application: You can find one on any of the major mobile application stores. Examples include Hiya, Truecaller, and Nomorobo.
- Hang up on robocalls. If you answer a call and hear a recorded message instead of a live operator, hang up immediately. Do not follow any instructions provided on the call.
How to Spot and Report Imperial County Phone Scams?
Too often, residents get hooked by con artists and scammers whose intents are to exploit them financially and steal private information. Phone scammers do not only target the elderly. They target just about anyone using unsolicited phone calls, robocalls, or text messages. These criminals leverage the advancement in technology by using VoIP and caller ID spoofing to appear legitimate to targets.
Imperial County residents can use reverse number lookup tools to spot potential phone scammers. By staying alert and aware of common scam tricks you can also limit the impact of phone scams. Watch out for these red flags when you receive unsolicited calls:
- The caller only wants to accept payment through specific methods: Scammers prefer to receive payments by wire transfers, cryptocurrencies, gift cards, and prepaid debit cards. Payments made through this method are difficult to trace and refund.
- The caller says you have to decide now: If you receive a call from someone who insists you have to decide immediately or you lose out on a grant, offer, or opportunity, you are likely to be on the call to a scammer. Scammers are fond of using this pressure tactic to get targets into making funds transfers into their accounts or signing up for bogus offers.
- The caller demands your personal information: Your sensitive information such as Social Security number, birth date, credit card information, and bank account information are meant to be private. Regardless of who an unsolicited caller claims to represent, do not release such sensitive information to persons you do not know.
- The caller harasses or threatens you: Scammers use scare tactics to make targets hurriedly act in line. They threaten targets with arrests, fines, revocations of licenses. Do not give in to threats from unsolicited callers. Real government agencies and reputable private agencies do not threaten residents.
- The caller asks you to pay an upfront fee to obtain a grant or win a prize: Do not pay advanced fees for any prize or grant. Con artists use this trick to lure people into sending money to them.
If you have fallen victim or have been contacted by a scammer, you can file complaints with any of the following public bodies:
- The Imperial County Sheriff’s Office and local police departments: If you have received a call from a scammer, you can contact your local police department or the Imperial County Sheriff's Office at (442) 245-7645. In the county seat of El Centro, you can contact the El Centro Police Department at (760) 352-2111.
- The California Attorney General’s Office: To report a scam, you can file a complaint online to the California Attorney General Office or by calling the office at (916) 322-3360 or toll-free at (800) 952-5225.
- Federal Communications Commission: If you receive unwanted robocalls and text messages, you can file a report online with the FCC.
- Federal Trade Commission - The FTC protects consumers from deceptive and fraudulent practices. You can file a phone scam report with the FTC by completing the online complaint form.