The three-digit number at the beginning of all North American phone numbers is called an area code. It identifies a particular telephone service area as a Numbering Plan Area (NPA) in a state. It is prefixed to each phone number issued in any NPA and used for routing phone calls to their destinations. California area codes are maintained and implemented by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC). Only one area code currently serves Kings County:
Area Code 559
Area code 559 was created from a split of the 209 NPA in 1998, and it covers all the cities under Kings County. These include Hanford, Lemoore, Corcoran, Avenal, Armona, Kettleman City, Stratford, Grangeville, Home Garden, Lemoore Station, and Hardwick.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Kings County?
A 2018 National Center for Health Statistics survey estimated that 55.4% of California adults used wireless telephony services exclusively. Only a few (3.3%) of the adult population still used landlines as their sole telephony devices. The data further showed that 63.5% of California children (under 18 years) preferred wireless-only services, while a paltry 1.5% still used landline phones solely. This indicates Californians’ preference for wireless telephony services over landlines.
The four major phone carriers and some Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) provide network services at varying coverage in King County. AT&T has the best network spread, followed by Verizon and T-Mobile. Sprint offers the least network coverage in the county. MVNOs rely on the major carriers to provide network services at more affordable rates.
An alternative telephony service that has taken precedence over plain old traditional telephones in Kings County is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP technology enables users to make voice calls over broadband internet connections instead of analog phone lines at cheaper rates. It offers Kings County residents alternative telephony services and is compatible with cell phones, tablets, computer systems, and landline phones (with VoIP adapters). The features of VoIP that appeal to Kings County residents include Caller ID, voicemail, call forwarding, remote management, call blocking, automatic call distribution, and interactive voice recognition. These features make VoIP flexible and scalable.
What are Kings County Phone Scams?
Kings County phone scams are fraudulent acts perpetrated by fraudsters using phone services to steal from county residents. Scammers usually contact unsuspecting residents through live phone calls, robocalls, and text messages to defraud them of their money or confidential information, or both. They often spoof targets’ Caller IDs and impersonate employees of legitimate organizations or law enforcement agents to fool them into doing their bidding. Phone number search applications can help residents verify if calls from unknown phone numbers are from legitimate sources.
The California Office of the Attorney General (OAG) cautions residents to avoid phone scams by familiarising themselves with phone scammers’ tricks. Common phone scams in Kings County include:
What are Kings County Charity Scams?
Charity scams usually occur in Kings County after natural disasters. Scammers call residents and, pretending to be representatives of legitimate charities, request donations from them. These fraudsters try to take advantage of people's kind-heartedness and eagerness to help others. Kings County residents must be cautious of charities with names similar to those of reputable charity organizations. When contacted by such callers, make sure to investigate the charities before parting with your money to avoid getting defrauded. Reverse phone number lookup applications can reveal the actual identities of such callers and help you avoid charity scams. Charities that specifically request donations by gift cards, money wiring, or cash are mostly scams. It is safer to use credit cards and checks to donate to charity organizations.
What are Kings County Tech Support Scams?
Fraudsters claim to be with familiar tech companies and call unsuspecting Kings County residents to defraud them. Their usual practice is to request remote access to their targets' computers under the guise of helping to remove viruses. Once access is granted to the computers, scammers will feign repairs on such PCs and then charge unsuspecting targets for their phony services. They sometimes install malware to steal financial or personal information such as card numbers, passwords, Social Security Numbers, credit card information, and PINs.
Tech support scammers are persuasive and good at convincing their marks on the need for repairs, capitalizing on their ignorance. Kings County residents are encouraged to verify such calls before taking action. They can do so by performing reverse number lookups on such callers’ phone numbers to ascertain their legitimacy.
What are Kings County Medicare Scams?
In medicare scams, fraudsters call to inform their targets about the possibility of losing their medicare coverage and advise them to 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 Medicare employee or not.
What are Kings County IRS Impersonation Scams?
IRS impersonation scams are more frequent during tax filing seasons. In these scams, the caller claims to be with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or law enforcement and may even provide a fake IRS badge number. Their usual targets are immigrants and elderly residents in the county. Typically, they instruct their targets to pay up their back taxes immediately or risk arrest, suspension of driver's licenses, or deportation. County residents must note that the agency does not threaten residents with extreme actions over the phone. Also, these imposters usually insist on payment from their targets through specific methods such as gift cards, prepaid debit cards, or wire transfers.
The IRS cautions taxpayers never to get swayed by calls from persons who claim to be IRS employees, irrespective of the phone number used. Reverse phone lookup applications can be used to retrieve information on such callers.
What are Kings County Credit Repair and Debt Relief Scams?
These scams are often targeted at Kings County residents with poor credit ratings. The scammers offer debt relief services or promise to reduce credit card interest rates for a fee. They may also promise to improve targets’ credit scores by replacing their poor credit reports with favorable ones. Sometimes, they offer car loans or lease payment reductions to avoid repossession. Their stock in trade is to deceive their victims into paying exorbitant amounts of money up-front for supposed debt relief services.
Kings County residents should be wary of debt relief companies that ask them not to disclose such offers to their creditors. Such entities are potential scammers. Do not divulge your financial information to them to avoid financial theft. If you get a call from an unknown phone number, use a free reverse phone number lookup tool to answer the question “who is this number registered to?”
What are Kings County Bank Fraud Examiners Scams?
In this scam, the caller pretends to be a bank fraud examiner or a law enforcement officer and calls a targeted Kings County resident. They usually claim to be investigating a fraudulent employee of the bank and require the target’s cooperation. The caller may mention a familiar employee’s name in the target's bank to fool them and then obtain their cooperation. In most cases, the target is required to withdraw some money and transfer it to the examiner for tracking purposes with a promise to return their money after investigation. Such money is usually never returned.
To avoid becoming a victim, call the bank immediately to verify the caller's claims if you receive such a call. Also, doing a reverse phone lookup may reveal the caller’s identity and prevent you from falling victim to bank fraud examiner scams.
What are Kings County Lottery and Prize Scams?
In lottery scams, fraudsters typically inform targeted Kings County residents that they won prizes in competitions they never entered. They then ask their marks to pay some fees to claim such winnings. These scammers pretend to be with legitimate lottery organizations to dupe their targets. Victims usually realize after making payments that there are no prizes at all. In some other cases, the gifts offered have far lesser value than the fees paid by victims.
Kings County residents should be aware that there would be no prizes unless they bought legitimate lottery tickets. Also, legal lotteries do not ask winners to pay fees in advance to claim their prizes. Reverse phone number lookup services can help you identify lottery scam calls and avoid falling prey.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls refer to pre-recorded voice messages delivered through auto-dialed phone calls to multiple phone numbers at the same time. Telemarketers, political organizations, and charity organizations use robocalls regularly as a more effective, faster, and cheaper means of reaching mass audiences. Government agencies also use robocalls for public service announcements, especially during emergencies.
However, robocalls have become a menace to phone users over the years due to the sheer number of unsolicited calls they receive daily. Reports have shown that up to 68% of all calls in the U.S. are robocalls. To curb this menace, therefore, several measures have been put in place by the government. All robocalls that attempt sales pitches without the written consent of recipients are illegal. By law, such calls are illegitimate and regarded as spam calls.
Despite restrictions, phone scammers use robocalls with wanton disregard to execute their fraudulent activities. The low cost of initiating robocalls makes it a choice tool for them. Scammers also have the habit of concealing their locations through caller ID spoofing. Since residents are more inclined to answer calls from trusted sources, phone scammers use neighbor spoofing to make their calls appear as coming from local phone numbers. Phone lookup services can help residents determine if incoming calls are robocalls or not.
Kings County residents can adopt the following measures to reduce illegal robocalls and telemarketing calls:
- Hang up unsolicited calls immediately or allow them to go to voicemail. If you answer a phone call and it turns out to be a robocall, end it immediately. Disregard any instruction by a robocall because acting on such prompts will lead to more unwanted calls.
- Activate your phones' call-blocking settings to block identified robocall and spam numbers. Android and iOS smartphones have inbuilt features that flag suspicious phone numbers as spam numbers and block them. You can also install third-party call-blocking applications such as Nomorobo, YouMail, and Truecaller on your phone to block unsolicited calls.
- Be cautious of answering phone calls from international phone numbers and unfamiliar area codes.
- Register your phone numbers on the OAG's Leave Me Alone Page to slow down the flow of unsolicited calls and spam messages.
- Register on the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry. Legitimate telemarketers are restricted from calling the phone numbers listed on the registry. The registry also helps to reduce the frequency of unwanted calls significantly.
How to Spot and Report Kings County Phone Scams
Scammers regularly craft new scams to trick Kings County residents into disclosing confidential information to them. They constantly use scare tactics, impersonation, and deception to get their marks to divulge their passwords, bank information, Social Security Numbers, and grant remote access to their devices, among other cons.
Reports show that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received 2.2 million fraud complaints from consumers in 2020. Imposter scams topped the list, and a total of $1.2 billion was lost to scams in the same year. Reverse phone lookup services can help reveal the identity of phone scammers, but having first-hand knowledge of their tricks better arms residents to protect themselves.
The give away signs of phone scams include:
- The caller persuades you to divulge personal information such as credit card details, social security number, date of birth, or bank information. No legitimate organization will request confidential information over the phone.
- The caller pressures you into making on-the-spot payment decisions. Such decisions often lead to financial loss or disclosure of confidential information.
- The caller pretends to be a long-lost relative, usually overseas, in need of urgent financial assistance for an emergency. Such funds must be sent immediately through a specific payment method, and the call must be kept a secret from other members of the family.
- The caller spoofs your Caller ID to display law enforcement’s phone number and attempts to intimidate you into giving up confidential information. At times, they demand payment for various reasons and threaten to file legal actions against you.
Kings County scam victims can file their complaints with the following agencies to seek redress:
- Kings County Sheriff’s Office: Residents can file phone scam reports at the Sheriff's Office located at 1444 W. Lacey Blvd. Hanford, CA 93230 or call (559) 852-2720.
- Kings County District Attorney: The District Attorney can be reached at (559) 582-0326 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 Kings County can file complaints online with the FCC.
- Federal Trade Commission: Kings County residents can avoid robocalls inundation by registering their phone numbers on the FTC's National Do Not Call Registry. Any unsolicited call received 31 days after registration can be reported to the FTC. County residents can also report phone scam incidents online to the FTC.