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What are Kern County Area Codes?

Area codes are the sets of three digits that begin phone numbers in the United States. They identify the Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs) designated by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) to define telephone service areas and identify phone call origins. The implementation and management of Kern County area codes are the duties of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). There are currently four area codes in service in Kern County; these are 661, 760, 805, and 442.

Area code 661

Area code 661 was split from area code 805 in February 1999. It covers most of Kern County and parts of the neighboring counties. Cities in Kern County served by this area code include Arvin, Delano, Maricopa, McFarland, Shafter, Taft, Bakersfield, Tehachapi, and Wasco.

Area code 805

Area code 805 was created in June 1957. It covers parts of Kern County but most of the neighboring counties of Santa Barbara and Ventura. Locations in Kern County served by this area code include Bakersfield and McKittrick.

Area code 760

Area code 760 was created in 1997 and serves the southeastern part of California to the Nevada border to the east and the Mexican border to the south. Geographically it is the largest NPA covering almost a third of the state. Locations in Kern County under area code 760 include California City, Ridgecrest, Inyokern, Lake Isabella, and Onyx.

Area code 442

Area code 442  is the overlay area code for area code 760. It was introduced in November 2009 to accommodate the increasing number of phone users living in communities served by the 760 NPA.

What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Kern County?

Wireless telephony is the prevalent choice of telephone service in Kern County and California in general. A CDC 2018 survey report established that among Californians aged 18 and over, users of wireless-only telephone services made up 55.4% of the demographic. Those that only use landline phones made up 3.3% of the same population. Among residents under 18 years, the gap was wider with wireless-only users accounting for 63.5% of the group and landline-only users at just 1.8%.

California’s size and terrain make it difficult for service coverage to be consistent statewide. However, the major carriers still maintain a good presence statewide. Verizon has the best coverage statewide at 77% followed closely by AT&T with 76.09% coverage and then T-Mobile at 72.6%. Sprint’s network lags considerably at 39.5% but it has roaming agreements with the other carriers that allow its customers to use their networks. There are also smaller Mobile Virtual Networks Operators (MVNO) that use major networks’ infrastructure to provide services at lower prices. For example, Red Pocket and Twigby are two MVNOs that use Verizon’s infrastructure in California.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a communications technology that allows residents to use telephone services over broadband internet connections. VoIP is fast gaining a larger subscriber base in California than traditional phone services. The ability to transmit data over the internet makes VoIP a cheaper alternative to landline and cellular phone services.

What are Kern County Phone Scams?

Fraudulent schemes committed using telephone services are referred to as phone scams. The objective of these scams is to steal information and money. Law enforcement agencies like the Kern County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General of California provide information and alerts about common scams in California. Any resident that believes they have been scammed can also file a report with the Federal Trade Commission or the Federal Communications Commission

Another way residents can protect themselves is to use phone number lookup apps to perform reverse phone lookups by name or address. This can help identify scammers and avoid their schemes. Some of the most common phone scams reported in Kern County are discussed below.

What are Lottery Scams?

In this scam, a scammer calls a resident and tells them they won a lot of money in a lottery. The scammer then asks the target to pay the taxes on the prize so that it can be released. Sometimes they send a check for the winnings and ask the target to pay the tax while waiting for the check to clear. Only when the check fails to clear is the scam discovered. Never give any banking details or make payments to strangers over the phone. Residents can also ask their banks to verify such checks if they have concerns about their validity. An excellent way to handle this is to tell the caller to take whatever taxes and fees from the winnings and send the rest. Residents can also use reverse phone lookup services to try and verify the callers’ identities and the authenticity of their claims.

What are California Licenses and Permits Scams?

The California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) regularly issues alerts about scams targeting licensees and permit holders. A scam caller claiming to be from the DCA or one of its license boards contacts a licensee and claims that they are under investigation and that their license is about to be suspended. The scammer asks for personal information claiming to require it for the investigation or asks for money to close the case. Do not give any confidential information, like banking details or social security numbers over such calls no matter how aggressive the callers become. If you receive such a call, you can inquire directly from the DCA if an investigation exists at (800) 952-5210. Residents can also contact the board that issued their particular licenses to make inquiries.

What are Law Enforcement Impersonation Scams?

The Kern County Sheriff’s Office has alerted residents of the county of scams by fraudsters claiming to be deputies from its office. These scammers try to extort residents by claiming they have outstanding warrants, have missed jury duty or other court dates, or failed to pay traffic tickets. These scammers may spoof their caller IDs to display the Sheriff's Office phone numbers to lend authenticity to their scams. They may also claim to be a sergeant or lieutenant in the Sheriff’s Office. 

Do not give strangers money or personal information over the phone even if the strange caller sounds legitimate. The Sheriff’s Office will never ask for payment over the phone nor threaten residents with immediate arrest. All fines and fees tied to warrants can only be paid or processed through the court system. If you receive a suspicious call and feel it could be a scam, call the Sheriff’s Office Communication Center at (661) 861-3110.

What are Deceased Relative Scams?

In this scam, a resident is contacted by a scammer claiming that a distant relative has died, leaving them a substantial inheritance. The scammer usually claims to be a lawyer or someone in charge of the deceased’s estate. Like lottery scams, the aim is to get the target to transfer funds to pay taxes and fees on the supposed inheritance. In some instances, they try to obtain personal information and bank account details. Never give out personal information or send money to such callers without confirming the information on the deceased independently from other sources. Using a reverse phone lookup application can help you verify the caller’s identity.

What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?

Robocalls are automated phone calls that are used to deliver pre-recorded messages. Robocall was developed as a means for marketers and political organizations to reach lots of people efficiently. However, scammers adopted the technology because it allows them to contact their targets covertly and cast a wide net when fishing for victims. These automated calls play messages designed to trick residents into giving up sensitive information or banking details. Reverse phone lookup applications can verify if phone calls from unknown numbers are robocalls.

Some steps to take if you are receiving illegal robocalls include:

  • Hang up the call as soon as you realize it is a robocall. Alternatively, allow calls from unknown numbers to go to voicemail and call back the ones that leave verifiable messages.
  • Never give out sensitive information like bank details, birthdates, and social security details over unsolicited phone calls. These pieces of information can be used to steal your money and identity.
  • Download and install a free phone number lookup application. This will aid you in detecting phone numbers used for robocalls and scam calls.
  • Use a call-blocking app or service pre-installed on your phone or provided by your carrier to automatically block robocalls and spam calls.
  • Report any robocall abuse to the Federal Trade Commission and register your phone number with their National Do Not Call Registry. Legitimate businesses and organizations consult this registry and will not call the numbers on it.

How Can You Spot and Report Kern County Phone Scams?

Scammers are continuously developing new ways to try to defraud residents and steal identities. One way to protect yourself from scammers is by performing number lookups by name and address using reverse phone lookup applications. Signs that phone calls are scam calls include:

  • Calls informing you of lottery wins and other prizes for competitions you did not enter. Always try to contact the organization in charge of the competition directly to confirm details. Never give out personal information or send payment to these callers.
  • Calls from government agencies demanding payment to resolve criminal and civil matters. If you hold a license or permit, always confirm any problems with your license board. Do not give any personal information to unknown callers. No government employee will demand payment from you over the phone to end an investigation and hide a crime.
  • Calls from law enforcement agents demanding payment to clear crimes. This is one of the more popular scams in the state. Law enforcement agents will never threaten immediate arrests over the phone. They will also never ask for payment in bitcoin, gift cards, and other untraceable methods.
  • If you are listed on a do not call registry and still receive unwanted telephone solicitations, these are illegal and most likely scam calls.
  • Calls from the technical support personnel of companies you did not contact. Technical support agents do not make unsolicited phone calls.

The best protection from scammers is to be informed about the different types of scams and how they work. Being able to identify phone scammers through the use of phone number lookup applications is also very helpful. This could help identify these scammers by name or address and answer the question, “who is this number registered to?”

Government and local agencies are committed to protecting consumers from fraudsters. They provide regular alerts about common scams and aid to victims of scams when reported. Some of the agencies to contact if you have experienced any scams are listed below:

Local Law Enforcement

The Kern County Sheriff’s Office is the primary law enforcement agency in the county. Along with the police departments in the major cities, they are in charge of protecting residents from scams. They send out regular alerts on common scams in the county on their website and via local TV news and radio. Residents of the county that have been targeted by scammers can make a report online or at the closest Sheriff Office substation.

State Division of Consumer Protection

The Office of the Attorney General of California is considered the consumer advocate for the state. They provide regular scam alerts and tips about the common scams in the state. Taken particularly serious are scams against the elderly and medical fraud, which can be reported online. Residents who believe scammers have targeted them can file complaints online.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The Federal Communications Commission is the regulatory body for the communications industry nationwide. It provides regular alerts on scams and provides tips on stopping unwanted robocalls and how to spot and avoid phone spoofing. Residents that have been targeted by scams can file complaints online.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The Federal Trade Commission is the regulatory body for fair business practices nationwide. It strives to protect residents from unfair and criminal business practices. It provides information about phone scams and how to block unwanted calls. It also operates the National Do Not Call Registry. This registry contains numbers to be avoided by companies that employ robocalls in their business. Residents can call the FTC to make complaints on 1-888-382-1222 or do so online.