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What are San Luis Obispo County Area Codes?

An area code refers to the first three digits of every North American phone number. It is part of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). Area codes identify specific regions and geographical areas within a state.  The California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) is responsible for implementing and maintaining area codes in California, including San Luis Obispo County.

Two area codes currently serve San Luis Obispo county. These are:

Area Code 805

Area code 805 was introduced in June 1957 as a split from the 213 NPA. It currently covers all the cities in San Luis Obispo County including, Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Grover Beach, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, and San Luis Obispo.

Area Code 820

Area code 820 is the overlay code for the 805 NPA. It was put into service in 2017 to accommodate the need for new telephone numbers in the region within area code 805. Area code 820 serves all locations under the 805 NPA.

What Are the Best Cell Phone Plans in San Luis Obispo County?

A 2018 National Center for Health Statistics survey on household wireless telephone substitution estimated that 55.4% of California adults used wireless telephone services exclusively. Only about 3.3% of the adult population still used landlines exclusively. The data further showed that 63.5% of the children (under 18 years) had adopted wireless-only services, while a paltry 1.5% used landline phones. This clearly shows that Californians have a preference for wireless telephony services over traditional landlines.

All the major phone carriers and several Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) provide network coverage in California. In San Luis Obispo County, T-Mobile offers the best service with 98% coverage. This is followed by Verizon with an 82% spread, while AT&T covers 62% of the county. Sprint provides the least network coverage in San Luis Obispo County. The MVNOs are smaller carriers that leverage the infrastructure of the major carriers to offer residents more network service options at affordable rates.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony service has become popular among San Luis Obispo County residents. It transmits voice calls between users using broadband internet connections, allowing them to place unlimited local, long-distance, and international calls at minimal charges. VoIP offers individuals and businesses in San Luis Obispo County a wide range of features. These include call forwarding and blocking, Caller ID, voicemail, remote management, automatic call distribution, and interactive voice recognition. VoIP is compatible with smartphones, tablets, computer systems, and landlines (with a VoIP adapter). It also allows users to scale up or down on features, infrastructure, and the number of lines to fit their requirements per time.

What Are San Luis Obispo County Phone Scams?

Phone scams are perpetrated by fraudsters via phone services to deceive San Luis Obispo County residents into parting with money or disclosing confidential information. Phone scammers often cajole, threaten, compel, and scare potential victims in an attempt to extort them. The California Office of the Attorney General (OAG) cautions residents to avoid phone scams by becoming acquainted with their tell-tale signs. 

Common phone scams in San Luis Obispo County include:

What are Debt Relief And Credit Repair Scams?

In this scam, fraudsters target residents with bad credit reports and huge debts, as well as those with outstanding student loans to cheat them. The callers typically offer their targets debt relief and credit repairs for a fee. Residents must know that the sure way to repair credit reports and improve their credit scores is to repay outstanding obligations, including credit card debts. They must also demonstrate that future debts will be paid promptly. San Luis County residents are advised never to pay unknown callers who promise debt relief or credit repair for a fee. If you receive such a call, report it promptly to the appropriate authority. A good reverse phone lookup service can help identify such a caller.

What are Charity Scams?

In charity scams, fraudsters claim to be with familiar charity organizations or make up phony charities to seek donations. To deceive call recipients and increase their chances of success, charity scammers spoof the phone numbers of charities to which their targets have previously made donations. They often divert the proceeds from this scam scheme to personal use. A typical tell-tale sign of charity scams is that the scammers pressure their targets to make immediate donations. County residents can verify if the phone numbers of such callers are spoofed by searching the reverse phone lookup for their numbers. If the searches yields no results, it means that the phone numbers used by the callers are not real.

What are Business Offer and Investment Scams?

Investment scammers target inexperienced county residents who are starting new trades. The callers often promise to help their marks with starting up new businesses and may offer investment opportunities with very high returns and little or no risks. They typically assure their targets a range of things such as helping them to secure loans, mentorship, and guaranteed patronage, however, for a fee. The scammers usually claim to have the expertise to expand their targets’ business networks and introduce them access to big investors in their line of work.  Once their targets make such payments, these scammers will stop all forms of communication with their victims. Any San Luis Obispo County resident who receives such a call can perform a reverse phone lookup to answer the question, "who is this number registered to?"

What are Health Care Scams?

There are many variants of health care scams. Medicare card scams and COVID-19 scams are the most prevalent ones in San Luis Obispo County. In medicare scams, the callers start by warning their targets about losing their medicare coverage and suggest getting new cards. They will offer to process the new cards for free but require their marks’ personal information such as PINs, credit card details, or social security numbers. Some of these scammers may request payment to issue new cards to their targets. 

Scammers prey on their targets’ fear of the coronavirus pandemic to perpetrate COVID-19 scams. They may offer test kits and vaccines for some fees. Health care scammers typically claim to be with state or federal government health departments responsible for distributing health care items. They take advantage of residents’ eagerness to get access to COVID-19 test kits, treatments, and vaccines. Once they are paid, the scammers will disappear without providing any medical services or products. Fraudsters who obtain victims’ identity information often steal their healthcare coverage or commit identity theft.

What are Emergency Scams?

Emergency scams are also called grandparents scams because they typically aim at extorting elderly persons. Scammers pretend to be their targets’ grandchildren and claim to have an urgent need of financial help to resolve some emergencies. Sometimes, these fraudsters may pose as law enforcement agents or attorneys helping marks’ grandchild to get out of some predicaments. A telltale sign of an emergency scam is the caller's insistence that their target should not share any information with other family members to avoid embarrassment. Keeping these types of calls secret allow such fraudsters to extort their targets repeatedly. County residents are advised to call other family members to confirm callers’ claims when they receive calls of this nature. Reverse phone number lookup applications can reveal the identity of these fraudsters.

What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?

Robocalls are pre-recorded messages generated by autodialers and delivered via phone calls. An autodialer is an electronic device or computer software that dials numerous phone numbers automatically to disseminate recorded messages. Robocalls were originally designed for telemarketers to reach mass targets with little human involvement and cheaper rates than regular phone calls. Over the years, robocalls were adopted by political campaigns during elections. Government agencies also use them for public announcements, especially during emergencies. 

However, robocalls have become pandemic, forcing the government to place restrictions on their use. Because of this proliferation, certain types of robocalls have become illegal. Robocalls attempting sales pitches without the express written permission of recipients are illegitimate and regarded as spam calls by law. In recent times, robocalls have become the choice tools for scammers in carrying out their nefarious acts. With the use of robocalls, scammers now reach more targets faster, cheaper, and more effectively. They often use caller ID spoofing to mask their locations, making it appear as if they are calling from a legitimate or local number. Typically, residents are more likely to answer if the caller ID shows a number with their area code. County residents can determine if incoming calls are robocalls using good phone lookup services. 

You 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.
  • Register your phone number on the OAG's Leave Me Alone Page, where you can sign up to slow the flow of unsolicited calls and spam messages.
  • Register on the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry. Telemarketers are restricted from calling the phone numbers listed on the registry. While it cannot prevent scam calls, the registry helps to reduce the frequency of unwanted calls significantly.
  • Be cautious of phone calls from international numbers and unfamiliar area codes.
  • Install third-party call-blocking applications such as YouMail, Nomorobo, and Truecaller on your phone to block unsolicited calls. All android and iOS smartphones have inbuilt features that enable users to block suspicious phone numbers and flag them as spam numbers. Activate your phone’s call-blocking settings to bar identified robocall numbers.

How to Spot and Report San Luis Obispo County Phone Scams

Phone scams have become quite prevalent in the county, and the number of reported scams continues to rise. Scammers use different tactics depending on their intended targets and the types of fraud schemes. They may be polite and helpful and at other times use aggressive sales tactics and threats to force compliance. Scammers often threaten vulnerable residents with lawsuits, tax audits, imprisonment, license revocation, and deportation. In addition to using reverse cell phone lookup services in uncovering the identities of suspected scammers, residents can avoid phone scams by recognizing them. They can identify phone scams by keeping abreast of the tricks commonly used by scammers. 

Common signs of San Luis Obispo phone scams include:

  • Unsolicited phone calls offering investment and business opportunities.
  • Callers pressure residents into making instant decisions, giving no room to scrutinize the terms of their offer. Legitimate businesses do not pressure potential customers or investors into making on-the-spot commitments.
  • Scammers claim to be law enforcement officers or employees of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and want residents to make hasty decisions. They often threaten call recipients with arrest, deportation, and fines. Legitimate employees of law enforcement, federal, and state agencies do not threaten residents over the phone.
  • Callers pretend to be with reputable businesses and request residents to confirm specific information in their records, such as social security numbers or credit card numbers. Such pieces of information end up being used for identity and financial theft. Legitimate entities do not confirm customer details in unsolicited calls.
  • Unknown callers claim you have won gifts or prizes but require you to pay for tax and shipping to redeem such winnings.
  • The callers provide vague details about the terms of their offers and are reluctant to field questions on them. By insisting on asking relevant questions, call recipients can find out that such callers have little or no idea about what they are offering.
  • The callers change phone numbers each time they call you. Scammers manipulate Caller IDs to make it difficult to trace and identify them. They sometimes use VoIP applications that randomly assign phone numbers to callers. Doing this prevents them from getting blacklisted by call-blocking and reverse phone number lookup services.
  • Phone scammers do not allow payments via official channels because such payments can be traced back to them. They prefer payment by wire transfers, prepaid cards, or gift cards. Fraudsters sometimes request payment by money transfer apps.

San Luis Obispo County scam victims can seek redress by reporting or filing complaints with the following agencies: