What are San Francisco County Area Codes?
The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) established area codes by dividing regional service territories into numbering plan areas (NPAs). It instituted a block of three-digit numerical code, referred to as an area code, to identify each NPA. They signify the origins and destinations of telephone calls. The California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) implements and manages area codes in San Francisco County.
Three numbering plan area codes currently cover San Francisco County;
Area Code 415
Area code 415 is the telephone area code in the NANP for the City and County of San Francisco. It also covers locations in Marin and San Mateo Counties. It was one of the original California area codes created in 1947.
Area Code 628
Area code 628 is the telephone area code that overlays the 415 numbering plan area in the NANP.
Area Code 650
Area code 650 is a NANP telephone area code that covers the San Francisco Bay Area. This includes San Francisco County and the surrounding counties.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans In San Francisco County?
In San Francisco County, wireless telephony services have surpassed landline services as the primary form of telecommunications. Evidence of this was provided in a 2018 survey by the National Center of Health Statistics conducted in California. The survey estimated that 55.4% of the adult population of the state used wireless-only telephone services while 3.3% of them used landlines only. Among children (under 18), the figures came to 63.5% for wireless-only users and 1.8% for landline-only users.
San Francisco County is the commercial center of Northern California, and the major carriers all have superb coverage in the county. AT&T and Sprint boast 100% coverage while T-Mobile and Verizon cover about 95% of the county. Multiple Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) also offer phone services in the county and rely on the network infrastructure of the major carriers.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) uses IP networks to provide traditional telephone services. The use of IP networks, typically the internet, allows VoIP companies to offer more flexible and robust services at lower rates. VoIP providers in San Francisco County have service packages for both business and residential uses.
What are San Francisco Phone Scams?
San Francisco phone scams are scams committed against residents of San Francisco County using telephony services. Scams are fraudulent acts aimed at defrauding and/or stealing confidential information from unsuspecting individuals.
The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office provides information on scams and fraudulent practices to the public. Victims of scams should call the fraud hotline on (628) 652-4311 to file reports. The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) investigates scams and fraudulent acts perpetrated against residents. Victims can report these incidents to the SFPD financial crimes unit at the Hall of Justice, Room 500, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco, CA 94103. Alternatively, they can call (415) 553-1521 or report it at their local stations.
Common phone scams in San Francisco County include;
What are Amazon Purchases Scams?
In these scams, residents receive calls purportedly from Amazon. The callers notify the targets that their recent purchases have been confirmed, and the goods are en route. When the targets inform the callers that they did not make any purchases, the callers feign surprise and contrition. They then ask for the targets’ personal information or remote access to their computers to rectify the mistakes. Complying with the callers’ requests grants the scammers access to information they use to steal money or identities.
Authorities advise residents that receive such calls to hang up immediately and check the purchases made on their Amazon accounts. If there are any real mistakes, contact Amazon directly through their website. Reverse phone searches can identify if the calls are legitimately from Amazon representatives. Victims of these scams should file reports with the San Francisco Police Department.
What are Arrest Warrant Scams?
The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) warns residents about scammers contacting residents while posing as SFPD officers to solicit money or personal information. The callers typically spoof their targets’ Caller IDs to display the SFPD non-emergency numbers. They claim that the targets have outstanding warrants or misdemeanor charges and must pay fines or be arrested. Payments are requested through unconventional payment channels such as wire transfers, gift cards, and prepaid debit cards. Alternatively, the callers ask for the targets’ financial information to facilitate the payments.
The SFPD informs residents that their officers will never call them about outstanding warrants, nor will they ask for payments via such unconventional channels. If you receive such a call, do not provide any information, or make any payment. Hang up and contact your local SFPD station and report it. Reverse phone number lookup services can provide information that indicates numbers displayed on Caller IDs may be spoofed.
What are Jury Duty Scams?
In these scams, residents receive calls from persons identifying themselves as employees of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office (SFSO). The callers warn the targets that they failed to report for jury duty, and bench warrants were issued for their arrest. They then tell the targets that imminent arrests will be effected unless they pay fines. They will then ask for payments through unconventional payment methods such as gift cards, reloadable debit cards, and wire transfers. Alternatively, they may ask for the targets’ financial information or arrange to meet the victims at the courthouse to collect cash payments.
The SFSO tells residents who receive such calls to hang immediately and contact their local law enforcement agencies to file complaints. California law does not permit people to pay fines in lieu of jury duty, and SFSO employees will not request payments through such irregular methods. Reverse phone lookups can identify if these calls are actually from the SFSO.
What are Purification Scams?
These scams target members of the Chineses community in San Francisco County. The targets receive calls from persons claiming to provide relief from curses and illnesses for fees. In other instances, the callers offer purification ceremonies where money and other valuable items are offered as part of the process.
The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) advises residents who receive these calls, or know of others who have, to contact their local district station. Cantonese speakers can leave tips of the SFPD special tip-line on (415) 553-9212 or 1 (855) 737-3847. Reverse phone number lookups can retrieve information on persons running these scams.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are auto-dialed phone calls that convey recorded messages on behalf of the callers. Typically, robocalls were used to reach large audiences and deliver political messages, sales pitches, and public service announcements. Scammers have co-opted robocalls due to this ability to reach large audiences with little effort. This allows them to target several residents simultaneously, and because residents are used to receiving robocalls, they are more susceptible to these scams. Robocall numbers can also be easily changed, making it easier for scammers to hide their real identities.
The following actions can be taken to stop illegal robocalls:
- Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry. This is a nationwide list of phone numbers restricted from receiving robocalls unless allowed by law. While it may not stop all illegal spam calls, this step makes identifying illegal robocalls easier.
- File complaints with the FTC online or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222.
- End a robocall once you identify it. Following any of the prompts given during the call sets you up for more robocalls.
- Use call-blocking tools provided by phone manufacturers and network service providers to block spam calls and robocalls.
- Use reverse cell phone number lookup free services to confirm and screen phone numbers used for robocalls.
The FTC issues guidelines to consumers on how to block unwanted calls on its website.
How to Spot and Report San Francisco Phone Scams?
The most effective ways of spotting phone scams are to stay informed on the trends and be wary of strange callers and unsolicited calls. New scams are typically variations of old cons, and most scams have similar features, so being aware of these trends gives you an edge. Scammers are dogged in their endeavors, so residents cannot assume they can permanently evade their attention.
The following red flags indicate an unknown caller is running a scam:
- The caller makes attractive offers that come with little risk but high rewards. They do not allow time for due diligence, claiming the opportunities are time-sensitive.
- The caller never gives straightforward answers to your inquiries and dissuades you from talking to other people about their offers.
- The caller claims to represent reputable organizations but asks for payments via unconventional channels such as prepaid cards, gift cards, and wire transfers.
- 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 uses high-pressure tactics to coerce you to make payments or reveal private financial information. These tactics include threats of audit, license revocation, deportation, arrest, and prosecution.
- The caller informs you of free prize winnings but asks for a fee before you receive them. If you have to pay to receive a free item, it is almost certainly a scam.
Online services conduct phone lookups by name, number, and address and are available for free or nominal fees. Performing suspicious phone number lookups with these services can answer the questions like “who called me?” and “who is this number registered to?”
Victims of phone scams can contact any of the following public agencies for assistance:
San Francisco District Attorney (SFDA) - The Office of the SFDA provides county residents with information on scams and fraudulent practices. If you have been a victim of such practices, call the SFDA fraud hotline on (628) 652-4311 to file reports.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - The FTC combats with the threats of fraudulent acts against U.S. consumers. It avails consumers with guidelines on blocking unwanted calls and maintains the National Do Not Call Registry to protect consumer phone privacy. Phone numbers listed on the registry are restricted from receiving spam calls unless allowed by law. Report illegal robocalls and other fraudulent acts to the FTC online or by calling 1-888-382-1222.
National Consumers League (NCL) - The Fraud Center is an initiative by the NCL that provides consumers with information and resources to combat scams. The NCL is a private non-profit consumer advocacy group.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)- The FCC is the federal authority regulating interstate and international communications. It also protects consumers from illegal robocalls and phone spoofing scams. Instructions on stopping unwanted robocalls and avoiding phone scams are available on the FCC website. Victims of these offenses should submit complaints to the FCC.