Area codes identify each Numbering Plan Areas (NPA) within a geographic region as assigned by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). An area code is the set of the three digits that begins each phone number in the United States. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for regulating area codes in the US. It delegated the authority to implement and maintain area codes in Ohio to the Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUCO).
The two active area codes in Franklin County are:
Area Code 614
Created in 1947, area code 614, is an Ohioan telephone code that serves Franklin County and some other counties in the state. The cities served by the 614 area code in Franklin County include Columbus, Canal Winchester, Franklin, New Albany, Hillard, and Grove City.
Area Code 380
An overlay of the 614 NPA, area code 380 was put into service in 2016. It is a telephone area code in Ohio that covers the same locations as area code 614.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Franklin County?
Findings from a 2018 CDC survey in the United States suggests that Ohio residents are shifting towards cellular phones over landlines. The report revealed that an estimated 58.5% of adults in the state exclusively used wireless phones for telecommunications while 4.3% of them solely used landlines. The figures for children in the state are 71.8% for wireless-only services and 2% for landline-only telephony services.
Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Boost, and T-Mobile are the major carriers providing telephone services in Franklin County. Their network coverage varies depending on location. Boost, a prepaid cell phone plan that runs on Sprint's network, offers the smallest coverage (66%) in the City of Columbus. Sprint provides 72% coverage while T-Mobile's coverage is 78%. The carrier with the highest coverage in Columbus is Verizon at 94%.
Using high-speed internet connections, Voice of Internet Protocol (VoIP) provides a cost-effective means of making voice and video calls for Franklin County residents. It is gradually replacing conventional phone lines for businesses and long-distance calls. With VoIP services, residents and businesses spend less on phone calls and can place calls from their computers as well as phones.
What are Franklin County Phone Scams?
Phone scams are fraudulent activities, carried out over phone calls, to get unsuspecting individuals to give away their money or personal information. They are increasingly becoming common in Franklin County. Phone scammers con their victims using different tricks. However, reverse phone lookups can help residents discover and avoid them.
The Ohio Attorney General's Office is responsible for protecting Ohioans from phone scams and other fraudulent activities. It provides residents with consumer tips and publishes scam alerts to educate them on how to avoid scams. Persons who receive suspicious calls or fall victim to phone scams can notify the Ohio Attorney General's Office at 1 (800) 282-0515. The FTC also has an online channel for receiving consumers' complaints, especially on matters regarding scams. Alternatively, scam victims in the county can report to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office by calling (614) 525-3333. The prevalent phone scams in Franklin County include:
What are County Sheriff Impersonation Scams?
If someone poses as an employee of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, a reverse number lookup will help you confirm their real identity. Notify the County Sheriff's Office on (614) 525-3333 if you feel uncomfortable with the person’s claims. Sometimes, impersonation scams can be hard to spot as a result of phone number spoofing.
Scammers claim to have warrants out for their targets' arrests and demand payment to throw out the claimed arrest warrants. They threaten arrests if their targets fail to pay promptly. Their preferred means of receiving payments are gift cards, bitcoins, and wire transfers. Franklin County Sheriff's Office warns residents that it will not call residents on the phone for such requests. Residents should also be wary of phone number spoofing and not completely trust their phones’ caller IDs to identify callers.
What are Jury Duty Scams?
Employees of the Franklin County Municipal Court would never contact jurors to request their financial or personal information. Residents should be careful not to release personal information over the phone to anyone who claims to be a court employee. In this type of scam, con artists pretend to be court employees and claim that their targets failed to report for jury duty. During the conversation, scammers will request for targets' social security numbers to stop the supposed arrest warrants served on them for failure to appear for jury duty.
Jury duty scammers use the information stolen from unsuspecting targets to commit financial and identity thefts. If in doubt, run an unknown caller's number through websites that provide phone number lookup services to answer the question: "who is this number registered to?". Franklin County Court advises residents to hang up such calls and report them to the County Sheriff's Office.
What are IRS Scams?
Having unpaid taxes is an offense in the United States. Con artists exploit citizens’ poor understanding of tax laws and IRS operating procedures to scam unsuspecting taxpayers. They call to inform their targets that they owe the IRS and must pay immediately to avoid arrest. Tax scammers usually prefer money transfer and prepaid debit cards as the means of receiving payments.
Residents should know that the IRS will never contact anyone on the phone to wire money or to pay taxes with prepaid cards. The IRS's first point of contact with anyone is usually by regular mail. If someone alleging to be IRS's agent calls you with request for money or personal information, end the call and report it to the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
What are Social Security Scams?
Social security scams come in different forms in Franklin County. The predominant one targets medicare beneficiaries because of their large population. Residents should know that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will not call anyone unless they initiate communication with the SSA. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be an employee of the SSA, verify the person's identity using a reverse phone lookup service. The SSA advises residents to desist from giving out personal information over the phone.
This scam mostly uses robocalls that inform Medicare beneficiaries of suspended Social Security Accounts. Such robocalls will further prompt potential victims to request more information. However, following the provided phone prompts only serves to connect victims to fraudsters who are waiting at the other end to steal targets' confidential information to commit identity theft. Medicare beneficiaries can verify the authenticity of such claims by calling the SSA on 1 (800) 269-0271. If you suspect a scam from such an encounter, hang up the phone and file a complaint online with the FTC.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls use automated diallers to deliver recorded messages to recipients' phones. Intended for legitimate use by the government, politicians, and licensed businesses, con artists have developed several tactics employing unsolicited robocalls to fool unsuspecting individuals. Typically, scammers want their targets to disclose personal information or pay some money when they employ robocalls.
In its quest to protect residents, the Federal Trade Commission provides information on how consumers can block unwanted calls to prevent robocall scams. You can also avoid robocall scams by using reverse phone number lookups. If a robocall comes through your phone, the steps below can help you prevent a potential scam:
- End the call immediately. Think of every robocall as a potential scam.
- Contact your telephone company to know if they offer a call-blocking service. If they do, use it to block numbers used by robocallers. Most phone companies provide this service for free
- The FTC advises consumers to enroll their phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry to stop unwanted calls. You may still receive robocalls after registration but if you do, consider them potential scams.
- Send "ROBO" to 888111 via a text message to report illegal robocalls in Ohio or file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
- Report the call to the FTC online or via a phone call to 1 (888) 382-1222.
How Can You Spot and Report Franklin County Phone Scams?
Phone scammers are usually hard to track down once they steal targets’ money or confidential information. The ability to spot ploys employed by scammers is the best way to avoid phone scams. Franklin County residents can learn how to run unknown numbers through websites that provide phone number search free services for callers’ identities. A telephone call, especially if received from an unknown phone number is a possible scam if:
- The caller requests your personal and financial information. Government agencies do not request such over the phone.
- The caller tells you to keep the conversation a secret. It is a pointer that you are about to be scammed.
- The caller uses pressure tactics to make you act without thinking. In most cases, they ask that you wire money to them via cryptocurrency, money transfer, and gift card.
- They claim that you won a contest you did not enter. The caller will ask you to pay an upfront fee, usually in the form of tax, to take delivery of your prize.
- The caller promises that you will make money from an investment you little about.
Some government agencies at the national, state, and county levels provide education on how to avoid scams to Franklin County residents. They also have reporting channels accessible by residents to file complaints if they fall victim to scams. Some of these agencies are:
Ohio Attorney General's Office - The Attorney General's Office educates residents with tips to avoid scams and provides a scam reporting platform. Persons who are victims of phone scams in Franklin County can also report them to the Ohio Attorney General's Office on 1 (800) 282-0515.
Federal Trade Commission - Created in 1914, the FTC protects consumers from fraudulent practices and enforces civil antitrust law in the US. It takes complaints from persons who believe they may have had contact with scammers and publishes scam alerts to educate residents. Consumers who want to opt out of receiving robocalls, a useful tool for phone scammers, can add their numbers to the DNC Registry developed by FTC.
Franklin County Sheriff's Office - The Sheriff's Office is responsible for preserving peace in Franklin County. They provide residents with a platform to tip them with information regarding crimes committed within the County. Residents who fall victim to phone scammers can report to the Sheriff's Office on (614) 525-3333.
Federal Communications Commission - Besides regulating communications in the US, the FCC provides consumers with education and information to help them avoid scams. If you receive an unwanted and suspicious call, report it to the FCC.