The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) established area codes to identify specific locations or numbering plan areas (NPAs) in a state. An area code is the first sequence of three digits of a telephone number. The California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) implements and maintains area codes in the County of San Diego.
Currently, four area codes cover the County of San Diego. These area codes also include portions of the surrounding counties.
Area Code 619
Area code 619 is the California telephone area code designated to serve most of San Diego County by the NANP. Area code 619 was created in 1982 as a split from area code 714 and covered most of the southernmost portion of California initially. Cities covered by this area code include Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, El Cajon, Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, National City, Poway, San Diego, and Solana Beach.
Area Code 858
Area code 858 is the California telephone overlay code for the 619 numbering plan area. It was introduced in 1999 as a split-off but converted to an overlay in 2019.
Area Code 760
Area code 760 was split from area code 619 in 1997 and covers much of California’s southeastern and southernmost portions. This includes parts of San Diego County and several surrounding counties. San Diego County locations under this NPA include Borrego Springs, Camp Pendleton, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Escondido, Julian, Oceanside, Pala, Ramona, San Marcos, Santa Ysabel, and Vista.
Area Code 442
Area code 442 is the NANP telephone overlay code for the 760 numbering plan area. It was introduced in 2009.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in San Diego County?
A 2018 National Center for Health Statistics survey showed that cell phones were the preferred means of telecommunication in San Diego County. The survey estimated that, in California, 63.5% of children (under 18 years) used cell phones exclusively, while 1.8% used only landlines. The figures were slightly different among adults. An estimated 55.4% of the adult (over 18 years) population only used cell phones, while 3.3% only used landlines.
There are over 30 telephone service providers in San Diego County. These include all four major carriers and several Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). All carriers perform well in the cities, and service is robust even in the coastal areas. Service coverage is, however, weaker in the mountain areas and close to the Salton Sea.
The four major carriers provide excellent coverage, especially in the cities. AT&T claims 99.8% coverage, T-Mobile and Verizon follow with 97.9% and 97.8% respectively, and Sprint claims 94.2% coverage. MVNOs leverage the major operators’ infrastructure to offer telephony services, usually in smaller areas and at cheaper rates. The excellent coverage of the major operators ensures that the MVNOs also provide excellent phone services to San Diego County residents.
San Diego’s status as a tech hub contributes to the presence of many companies providing VoIP services at competitive rates. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a technology that uses computer networks, typically the internet, to deliver telephony services. Advances in internet technologies make VoIP an excellent option for both business and personal telephony services.
What are San Diego County Phone Scams?
San Diego phone scams are deceptive schemes committed, using telephone services, against San Diego County residents. The purpose of phone scams is to obtain money or confidential information from unsuspecting targets. The Health and Human Services Agency of the San Diego County Government issues tips on scam prevention on its website with regular updates. Also, the San Diego County District Attorney provides alerts and advisories on prevalent scams in San Diego County. Victims of phone scams in San Diego County can file complaints with the Consumer Protection Unit of the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. Common scams in San Diego County include:
What are Warrant Scams?
These kinds of scams are prevalent in several counties in California. The callers pose as employees of the Sheriff’s Department or Superior Court and inform recipients of arrest warrants issued for a variety of offenses. The offenses could be unpaid fines, missed jury duty, or pending cases. The callers offer to clear the warrants in exchange for payments and require the payments by unconventional means, such as prepaid cards or wire transfers. The callers usually get aggressive and try to intimidate the recipients into complying.
Be advised that no employee of the Sheriff’s Department or Superior Court contacts residents by phone to demand money. If you receive such a call, hang up immediately. Contact the San Diego Sheriff Department or San Diego Superior Court and make inquiries. Do not make any payments or provide personal or financial information. File complaints about scams at the San Diego Sheriff Department in person or online. Scam callers usually spoof Caller IDs to display the names or numbers of these agencies, however, reverse phone lookups can help determine callers’ identities.
What are Bank Impersonation Scams?
Scammers contact residents of the county and identify themselves as employees of financial institutions (such as Bank of America) to solicit personal information. They claim irregularities were noticed on the accounts and require the residents’ account information to correct or confirm. The callers may become demanding and attempt to coerce the residents to provide the information needed.
Residents who provide information give scammers everything they need to commit identity theft and financial crimes in their name. Never provide sensitive personal information over the phone to someone who initiates contact with you. A reverse phone search application can identify if the callers are authentic. However, scammers are capable of spoofing Caller ID to display their targets’ banks’ phone numbers. Call the official number of your bank or financial institution and make inquiries for yourself.
What are Utility Scams?
In these scams, scammers pretend to be employees of San Diego County utility companies such as San Diego Gas & Electricity (SDG&E). They call county residents and threaten to cut off their services unless “outstanding debts” are paid. They ask for payments by prepaid cards, wire transfers, or mobile payment apps or request for the resident’s financial information. Utility companies, such as SDG&E, never proactively contact customers for financial information over the phone. Also, they will always send past-due notices for overdue bills in writing before terminating customers’ services. Ignore calls making such requests and report them. Call the SDG&E on (800) 411-7343 and make inquiries if you have doubts.
What are COVID-19 Scams?
Scammers have taken advantage of uncertainty and anxiety regarding the Coronavirus pandemic to defraud unsuspecting residents of San Diego County. They call residents claiming to be employees of the IRS and ask for personal information for verification, before sending relief payments. Alternatively, they send text messages or leave voice messages claiming payments will be faster if residents send personal information or call back.
Complying with these requests exposes residents’ accounts and information to the scammers, which ultimately leads to financial and identity thefts. The IRS urges residents to ignore calls and messages saying they can receive their money now. These are scams. More information on economic impact payments is available on the IRS website. Report such calls to the IRS or the San Diego County District Attorney. Phone number searches can help identify the origins of these calls and messages.
What are Robocall and Spam Calls?
An automated phone call that delivers pre-recorded messages, when answered, is a robocall. Robocalls are typically used by sales organizations, political campaigns, and government agencies to reach multiple consumers quickly. This ability has endeared robocalls to phone scammers. Robocalls also provide a level of anonymity that has also attracted scammers. Residents are used to receiving robocalls from legitimate organizations and may let down their guard when responding to them. This opens them up to be preyed on by phone scammers. A reverse phone number lookup free service can verify if the number who called you is a robocall.
Your best options for dealing with robocalls are as follows:
- End the call once you realize it is a robocall. Ignore the message-prompts as following them will just lead to more automated messages.
- A phone number search free service can verify a robocall number. Use this service to identify the number and block it.
- Ask your phone company about the procedures for blocking phone numbers and use them if there are no charges. Robocallers change Caller ID information often, so paying to block a phone number that might change can end up costly.
- Include your number in the National Do Not Call Registry. This will exempt it from receiving calls from telemarketers and sales businesses. While this will not stop all unwanted calls, identifying illegal robocalls that are probably scams becomes easier.
- File a report with FTC online or by calling 1-888-382-1222.
The FTC website provides consumer tips on blocking unwanted calls on any platform.
How to Spot and Report San Diego County Phone Scams?
Scammers continuously seek new means of stealing money and confidential information from unsuspecting individuals. The most effective means of dealing with the threats of scammers is to stay informed on current trends and remain aware of the possibilities. Also, reverse phone number lookup applications have proven helpful in answering questions like “who is this number registered to?” or “who called?” These tools can assist with suspicious phone numbers lookups. These red flags indicate an unknown caller might be trying to scam you:
- The caller makes offers that are “too good to be true” or “once in a lifetime.” They offer investment or business opportunities that come with high reward for little or no risk.
- The caller makes continuous requests for your private information and gets aggressive when you do not comply. Legitimate organizations do not ask for your confidential details on unsolicited calls.
- The caller claims to represent a reputable business or a government agency and requests for payment in unconventional forms, such as prepaid cards, cryptocurrency, and wire transfers.
- The caller uses high-pressure tactics to coerce you to make payments or reveal private financial information. These tactics include threats of audits, license or permit revocations, and arrest.
- The caller never gives straightforward answers to your questions and tries to convince you not to get a second opinion or seek confirmation from someone else.
- The caller informs you of free prize winnings, products, or services but asks for a fee for processing or taxes before you receive them. If you have to pay to receive an item advertised as free, it is almost certainly a scam.
Several online services perform phone number lookups by name, number, and address. These services exist in free and paid forms and represent a powerful tool in combating phone scams. Public institutions in San Diego County assisting in dealing with scammers include:
San Diego County District Attorney (SDCDA) - The Office of the SDCDA provides scam alerts and advises residents on dealing with scammers. The Consumer Protection Unit of the Economic Crimes Division receives and acts on complaints filed by residents of San Diego County.
San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDCSD) - The SDCSD provides information and resources to county residents to assist them in dealing with scammers’ threats. Victims of scams can file reports with the Sheriff’s Department at any station location or online.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) - The BBB is a public agency that compiles reports on businesses and commercial entities, such as charities and non-profit organizations. The information provided by the BBB aids residents in ascertaining the legitimacy of any of these entities that contact them.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - The FCC regulates communications in the United States. They also implement policies to protect consumers from fraudulent acts such as illegal robocalls and phone spoofing. Tips on dealing with unwanted calls and phone scams are available on the FCC website. The FCC also provides avenues for victims of these fraudulent acts to file complaints.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - The FTC deals with the threats and instances of fraudulent acts against U.S. consumers. The FTC provides advice on blocking unwanted calls and maintains the National Do Not Call Registry to protect consumer phone privacy. After adding your phone number to the registry, if you still receive unsolicited calls, chances are these are phone scammers. Consumers can make reports on illegal robocalls and other fraudulent acts to the FTC online or by calling 1-888-382-1222.