What are Hamilton County Area Codes?
An area code is the chain of three digits that begins a local telephone number. They are used by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) to differentiate specific geographic locations known as Numbering Plan Area (NPAs) within states. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is authorized to manage area codes in the state.
Hamilton County is currently served by one area code, which also serves stretches of other neighboring counties.
Area code 513
Area code 513 is a NANP telephone area code that originally served all of Southwestern Ohio before the split in 1996. Presently, it covers all of Hamilton County and its surroundings. Other communities covered by 513 are Forest Park, Norwood, Harrison, Cleves, and Miamitown.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Hamilton County?
The four dominant phone companies (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint) offer excellent services in Hamilton County. Its county seat, Cincinnati, enjoys exceptional service partly due to the presence of numerous Fortune 500 companies and other commercial firms. AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile all provide 100% coverage, while Sprint’s network is a hair’s breadth behind with 99.9% coverage.
Data from a 2018 NCHS survey show that Ohioan adults (above 18 years) who used landline-only services accounted for 4.3% of the adult population. Users of wireless-only telephony services made up about 58.5% of the Ohioan adult population. These figures showed a rising preference for wireless phone services over landline phones by residents of Hamilton County.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is another telecommunication option that has continued to enjoy increased patronage in Hamilton County. This patronage is accelerated by Cincinnati’s tech hub status. The availability of high-speed internet broadband is another factor responsible for the wide adoption of VoIP because VoIP calls are routed over IP networks and not copper wires.
What are Hamilton County Phone Scams?
These are intentional fraudulent acts committed using telephone calls or texts and designed by scammers to steal residents’ money and sensitive information. These acts often involve scammers pretending to represent reputable organizations to fool their victims into acceding to their demands. However, scammers can be identified with phone number searches. The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) provides scam prevention tips to protect residents. Residents who have encountered scams can submit reports to the HCSO, the FTC, or the Ohio Attorney’s General Office.
Some common phone scams in Hamilton County are:
What are Grandparents Scams?
Senior citizens are the typical targets of these scams, wherein scammers claim to be grandchildren in trouble. They exploit grandparents' affection for their grandchildren and elicit emotional responses from them with alarming news. Their goal is to cause confusion and panic in order to collect money from their victims for fictitious emergencies. Typical emergencies cited include arrests in foreign countries, hospitalizations due to accidents, and robbery attacks. Grandparents are often implored not to tell “mom or dad” and are usually asked to use wire transfers and prepaid debit cards to send the funds requested.
Residents are warned to limit personal information shared on social media as scammers use them to glean information for these scams. Targets of these scams can also query suspicious callers’ numbers with reverse phone lookups to extract details about strange callers. Hamilton County residents who receive calls from persons pretending to be grandchildren should report online to the Ohio AGO or call (800) 282-0515.
What are COVID-19 Scams?
The recent COVID-19 crisis has provided scammers with fresh opportunities to dupe residents. Although different versions of these scams exist, scammers commonly impersonate IRS employees tasked with Economic Impact Payments (EIP) or stimulus checks disbursements. They call county residents offering to help process payments, even though most eligible Americans have already gotten their EIPs. Promising to expedite payment, scammers request their victims’ financial information or direct them to click malicious links to accelerate their payments. Clicking these links opens residents up to identity thefts and loss of funds.
Residents are reminded that the IRS is the sole credible source for all EIP-related information. Those who wish to confirm their payment statuses should visit the official IRS website. Using phone number lookup services can help reveal the true identities of suspicious callers. Residents who have experienced this scam can forward online complaints to the Ohio AGO or call (800) 282-0515.
What are Federal Grant Scams?
These scams open with phone calls from fraudsters luring victims with phony offers for federal grants. They often claim that their targets have been chosen to receive such grants for any number of reasons. These reasons include paying taxes, not having criminal records, and being model citizens. They then ask their victims to make some payments for taxes or processing fees before collecting the bigger payouts. These scammers are only after their victims’ money and will immediately disappear after payments are made. They ask for payments via non-secure and untraceable channels like prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, and iTunes gift cards. Phone lookup tools can help reveal the true identities of the persons behind these scam calls.
Residents are warned never to make upfront payments for grants they never applied for. They are also reminded that institutions, rather than individual citizens, are eligible beneficiaries of authentic federal grants. Residents can access free information on federal grants online, while they can report grant scams to the Ohio AGO on (800) 282-0515.
What are IRS Imposter Scams?
This scam type is the most common of all tax-related scams. Posing as officials of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), scammers call taxpayers with claims of overdue taxes. They pressure their targets by claiming that there are warrants out for their arrests. To resolve these problems, victims are instructed to call specific numbers where money or personal information is finally requested from them. The con artists collect the money by having their victims quickly purchase gift cards and provide them with the card numbers on the phone.
The IRS will never request gift cards to clear tax debts or solicit taxpayers’ personal information via phone calls not initiated by taxpayers. The IRS sends back tax notifications to taxpayers through U.S. Mail. Victims of tax scams should lodge their complaints with the Ohio Department of Taxation (for state taxes) or the IRS (for federal taxes).
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are phone calls preprogrammed to broadcast recorded messages to large groups of people. Originally distinguishable by robotic voices, they have also been modified to use pre-recorded human voices to mimic real humans. Telemarketers, politicians, charities, and government agencies lawfully use robocalls for their campaigns. However, scammers have more recently joined these legitimate entities in their use of robocalls and have directed them towards fraudulent ends.
By adapting them for numerous fraudulent schemes, they rob residents of their money and sensitive information. Using robocalls, scammers can also mask their true identities and claim to represent government agencies or other reputable companies when they target residents. Nevertheless, an informed consumer can use a phone number lookup application to distinguish a legitimate call from a scam robocall.
You can follow these steps if you are targeted by robocalls:
- Hang up as soon as you know that a call is an automated call. Do not follow any of the suggested actions to either press any key to be unlisted or talk with an agent. This merely confirms your number and sets you up for more robocalls.
- Report unlawful robocalls online to the FTC or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222. Instructions for blocking unwanted calls are also available to consumers on the FTC’s online portal.
- Find out if your phone carrier provides any free call-blocking procedures. Avoid opting for paid services since scammers regularly change phone numbers for illegal robocalls.
- Search online for websites that identify robocalls using phone number lookup tools.
- Get listed on the National Do Not Call Registry. You can also sign up by dialing 1 (888) 382-1222 using the phone number you wish to register. Doing this will limit the number of sales calls received from legitimate robocallers after 31 days. It will also help you identify scam calls since legitimate entities know to avoid calling registered numbers.
How To Spot and Report Hamilton Phone Scams?
Scammers avoid detection by using false identities as they execute different phone scams. This often makes it tricky for many residents to spot scams aimed at them until it is too late. Anti-scam education and awareness are residents’ best defense against the scourge of phone scams and consumer frauds. They can also use reverse phone lookup tools to search out information associated with suspicious phone numbers to protect themselves.
The following warning signals can make spotting phone scams easier:
- Scammers often use lucrative and attractive offers to draw in their victims while hiding their true motives.
- Fraudsters ask their victims to pay fees or taxes before receiving prizes, rewards, services, and gifts that are supposedly free.
- Scammers are fond of demanding payments through channels that are untraceable and unconventional. Wiring money through Western Union or Moneygram and paying with cryptocurrencies and gift cards are typical examples of these payment methods.
- Scammers often request for private information over unsolicited phone calls when they cannot obtain money directly from their victims. Most phone scams are targeted at extracting victims’ financial information like account passwords, credit card numbers, and birth dates as these are required for identity theft.
- Scammers regularly exert pressure on their victims to get them to quickly comply with their requests for money and sensitive information. Threats of lawsuits, arrests, jail time, and deportation are some of the scare tactics often employed by scammers to intimidate their victims into compliance.
- Scammers often pretend to be legitimate employees of familiar institutions to ease their targets' skepticism and gain their trust as they try to scam them.
Scammers are always on the lookout for new opportunities to steal their targets’ money and financial information. To avoid detection, they will sometimes reinvent old tricks if they feel enough time has elapsed. Residents can receive assistance against phone scams from certain government agencies involved in consumer protection like:
Federal Trade Commission - The FTC protects consumers from illegal robocalls and other unscrupulous commercial acts in the U.S. Consumers who have experienced unfair business practices or received illegal robocalls can complain to the FTC online or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222. The National Do Not Call Registry is a tool the FTC uses to protect consumers from illegal robocalls. Residents who have added their numbers to the registry will receive fewer sales calls from telemarketers after 31 days of registering.
Federal Communications Commission - Majorly responsible for American interstate and international communications, the FCC also safeguards consumers against illegal robocalls and Caller ID spoofing scams. Consumers interested in learning how to stop unwanted robocalls and avoid phone scams can log onto the FCC’s online portal for information. The FCC also combats scam threats through effective policy enforcement and resolving filed consumer complaints.
Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) - The HCSO tackles crime and preserves law and order within the county. They also disseminate regular scam alerts and prevention tips to protect residents from scammers’ attacks. Residents who suspect they or others are victims of scams can report to the HCSO by calling (513) 825-2280.
Through its Consumer Protection Section, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office (AGO) - The AGO guarantees consumer security by prohibiting predatory and illegal business acts. Authorized by state laws, they enforce consumer protection laws and provide consumer education to Ohioans. Residents affected by scams or deceptive business practices should contact the Ohio AGO by completing online complaints forms or calling (800) 282-0515.