Area codes are the three bracketed numbers at the beginning of every American phone number. These codes were created by the North American Numbering Plan Administrator, governed by the Federal Communications Commission. At the state level, the California Public Utility Commissions (CPUC) is responsible for the management and regulation of area codes assigned to Riverside County areas as well as other counties in the state.
There are four area codes used by telephone customers in Riverside County, and these are:
Area Code 760
Area code 760 This code serves the Whitewater census area and also spreads across Indian Wells, Palm Desert, Blythe, Cathedral City, La Quinta, part of Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Thermal, and Thousand Palms cities in Riverside County.
Area Code 442
Area Code 951
Split from 909, the North American area code 951 covers the cities and communities in the western portion of Riverside County. Areas served include Beaumont, Banning, Corona, Riverside, Canyon Lake, Woodcrest, Temescal Valley, Perris, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Murrieta, Wildomar, San Jacinto, Temecula, Hemet, Lakeview, Eastvale, Norco, Jurupa Valley, and Idyllwild.
Area Code 909
Area code 909 is used by telephone users in some parts of Corona City, Riverside City, and Moreno Valley.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Riverside County?
Most Riverside County residents have shifted away from landlines and now use cellphones exclusively. A phone use survey conducted and published by the Center for Disease Control in 2018 indicates that less than 4% of California homes are still primarily holding onto their landlines. The survey revealed that more than 55% use wireless-only telephone services, while about 21% use cell phones and wireless phones simultaneously. These statistics support the claim that more than 85% of Californians no longer use traditional copper wire phone lines. This claim, made by AT&T in 2016, suggests that landlines are in their last days.
The major phone carriers that provide service to residents of Riverside County are AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Verizon (96%) has the best network coverage, followed by AT&T (70%). Sprint covers 68% of the county’s vast geographical area, while T-Mobile has the least coverage at 66%.
Some telephone companies also offer Voice Over Internet (VoIP) phone services. VoIP services afford Riverside County locals and businesses the option of making voice calls over the internet instead of through traditional copper wires. Generally, VoIP is cheaper and more convenient to use.
What are Riverside County Phone Scams?
Phone scams are dishonest schemes used by fraudulent individuals to steal money and personal information from unsuspecting residents through phone calls. The Office of the Riverside District Attorney publishes timely updates of emerging scams in Riverside County. To further educate residents, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and the 28 city police departments within the county also provide tips and alerts on how to spot and avoid con artists.
It is also possible for residents to identify these bad actors using reverse phone lookup services. Those who believe they have been scammed can file their complaints with local law enforcement, California’s Office of the Attorney General, and the FTC. Popular scams reported by Riverside County residents are described below.
What are Coronavirus Scams?
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department reported Coronavirus or COVID-19 scams where scammers promise relief materials, tests, cures, and vaccinations to residents of Riverside county. These scammers employ voice phishing, robocalls, text messages, and emails to run their cons on unsuspecting residents. They usually claim to be employees of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Internal Revenue Services (IRS), or other related governmental agencies.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department urges members of the public to hang up and report scammers when contacted in this manner. Performing a reverse phone search can also help reveal the scammers behind the unsolicited calls used for this scam.
What are Grandparent Scams?
Grandparent scams targeting Riverside County residents can be recognized using reverse phone lookup search services. This scam, especially targeted at elderly locals, aims to convince them that their grandchildren or relatives are in trouble and desperately need financial help. These scammers usually ask for money in the form of wire transfers and prepaid gift cards claiming to need these to post bail, pay legal fees, and cover some other made-up expenses.
A variant of this scam known as kidnap/ransom scam has also come to light. As the name implies, kidnap/ransom scammers demand high ransoms by tricking their targets into believing their loved ones have been kidnapped. Before acceding to the scammer’s demand, make sure to contact the loved one in question or other relatives to corroborate the caller’s account. Also, report the incident immediately to local law enforcement.
What are Charity Scams?
Charity scammers prey on the goodwill of unsuspecting county residents by tricking them into donating to fake causes or charities. Charity scams are very common during national emergencies and disasters. The success of this scam tactic lies in the ability of the scammer to emotionally blackmail their targets into contributing immediately via prepaid gift cards or wire transfers.
However, it is quite easy to discover charity scammers. Simply run their phone numbers through reverse phone search engines to find that they are not affiliated with the charities they claim to represent. Other measures include double-checking charities through the Attorney General’s Charitable Trust Registry or using the tools available from the California Secretary of State, Franchise Tax Board, and Internal Revenue Services. Report suspicious charity solicitations to law enforcement. File a Complaint with the Attorney General’s Office and, as public service, contact and notify the impersonated charity.
What are Imposter Scams?
Imposter scams are deceptive practices where fraudsters mask their true identities and trick unsuspecting citizens into believing they are representatives of trusted agencies and companies. Commonly impersonated agencies can include the IRS, SSA, utility corporations, and tech companies. Imposter scams are difficult to detect because these scammers lend credibility to their claims through caller ID spoofing. Phone spoofing is an advanced technique that allows scammers to change the numbers that appear on recipients' phones to those of people and organizations they know and trust.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Every phone user in Riverside County is familiar with repeating, automated phone calls from telemarketers and political campaigns delivering pre-recorded messages. These phone calls are known as robocalls. Generally, robocalls made for non-commercial purposes are legally allowed by California state laws. However, Riverside residents also receive many unwanted and illegal sale solicitations by phone every day.
Robocalls may be difficult to detect if they use phone spoofing to fake the caller ID information displayed on the recipients’ phones. To avoid scam robocalls, residents can uncover the callers’ identities by using dedicated search engines that provide suspicious phone number lookup services. The Federal Trade Commission provides guides on how to block unwanted robocalls.
To limit or possibly prevent robocalls and scam calls, Riverside county residents are advised to follow the following precautions:
- Do not pick calls from unknown parties. Rather, let them go to voicemail. Do not trust caller ID to correctly identify robocallers. Use the services provided by reverse phone lookup companies to discover those behind robocalls and spam calls.
- Hang up a robocall as soon as you find out a call is one. Never follow prompts provided during the call. Doing so will only lead to more automated calls.
- Contact your phone company to find out how to install or activate their call blocking features. Most phone companies offer this service for free.
- Register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. Doing this does not automatically stop robocalls from reaching your phone. However, you will know that all unsolicited calls received afterward are potential scams.
- Report the phone number used for the robocall or spam call to Riverside County Sheriff's Office using the online form. Residents can also file a complaint with the FTC.
How Can You Spot and Report Phone Scams?
While phone scammers use various tactics, their end goal remains the same: to steal money and personal information from unsuspecting persons. Knowing how phone scams work is key to avoiding falling victim. Residents of Riverside County can protect their identities and hard-earned money by looking out for the following signs when receiving calls from unknown numbers:
- Scammers pressure their targets to act quickly. It may be a “charity solicitor” asking you to donate to an unclear cause. Or a “utility employee” threatening to cut off your gas or electricity if payment is not made immediately. It may also be a “grandchild,” claiming to be in trouble in a foreign country. Whatever the antics, do not give in to pressure. Take your time and ask questions.
- Another tell-tale sign of a phone scam is requests for upfront payment. This is usually the trick employed during sweepstake scams and rental listing scams.
- Another tip-off of a scam is the use of threats. Scammers usually use threats of arrest, lawsuits, and deportation to fluster their victims. This trick is common with tax scammers. Know your rights. It is illegal for IRS and law enforcement officers to threaten citizens during the course of their duties. Thus, such callers are mere performers and masquerades of the actual law enforcement agents.
- Always know that no legitimate organization will demand payment via informal and untraceable means. Any caller, no matter who they claim to be, asking for payment through channels like wire transfer, bitcoin, prepaid gift cards, and iTunes cards, is a scammer .
- Whenever a caller swears you to secrecy, do the opposite. Contact the police and your friends and family members. This is a trick employed by scammers to make sure their victims remain hooked and not contact someone who can recognize their cons.
Government agencies make efforts to monitor and alert residents of emerging scam trends and provide helpful tips on avoiding them. Residents may educate themselves using the scam alerts published by the following consumer protection agencies:
The Riverside District Attorney’s Office dedicates a scam alert page featuring common scams reported by Riverside county residents. If you think you are a victim of a scam, report it to the local law enforcement. Cases of identity theft may be directed to the California Department of Justice at (888) 880-0240 and the Identity Theft Resource Center at (858) 693-7935.
The California Attorney General’s Office provides a Consumer Alert webpage aimed at notifying citizens about scams and related information. Victims and targets of scam calls can file their complaints with this office.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC): The FCC is tasked with regulating the various communication channels in the country. They also handle complaints about scams, Do Not Call List violations, and unwanted phone calls as dictated by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Victims of phone scams can file their complaints online or by contacting the FCC at 1 (888) 225-5322.
Federal Trade Commission: The FTC is responsible for protecting consumers from deceptive and fraudulent market practices. They developed the National Do Not Call Registry to prevent legitimate telemarketers and sale companies from calling registered numbers. The FTC also sues companies that are non-compliant with the registry. If you receive an unsolicited call from a sales company despite having your phone number on the DNC registry, file and report to the FTC online or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222.