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What are Mahoning County Area Codes?

Area codes were established by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) and represented by the first three numerals in American telephone numbers. Mahoning County area codes are the strings of three-digit numbers that identify the Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs) within the county. 
 

Two active area codes currently serve Mahoning County. These are:

Area Code 330

Area code 330 is an Ohio telephone area code that was created from a split of the 216 NPA in 1996. Mahoning County cities and towns with the 330 NPA include Youngstown, North Lima, Boardman, Struthers, Campbell, and Austintown. Area code 330 also covers parts of some other counties in Ohio.

Area Code 234

Put into service in 2000, area code 234 is an overlay of the 330 NPA. It serves the same cities and towns as area code 330.
 

Generally, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates area codes in the United States but has given the Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUCO) to administer those in Ohio.

What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Mahoning County?

Landline phones are gradually disappearing in many Ohio homes as more residents continue to adopt wireless telephony services. This was deduced from the data from a 2018 CDC survey report. According to the report, an estimated 58.5% of adult Ohioans had adopted cell phones as their exclusive means of telecommunication. Only about 4.5% of them still used landline phones solely for telephony services.
 

Mahoning County is served by the major phone carriers in the United States, each having varying degrees of coverage. Residents of its cities enjoy better network services than those in the remote parts of the county. Sprint offers the best service in Youngstown City with an estimated 80% coverage. T-Mobile delivers about 72% coverage, while it is about 58% for both Verizon and AT&T.
 

VoIP over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provides telephony services using IP networks such as broadband internet. It is an alternative to regular telephony that has gained popularity and widespread adoption in Mahoning County. VoIP phone services are more affordable than traditional telephone services, which is why they are being adopted extensively for personal and business use.

What are Mahoning County Phone Scams?

Mahoning Phone scams are deceptive practices that use telephone services to defraud unsuspecting residents in the county. Scammers typically use text messages, robocalls, and live phone calls to extort targeted residents. While some phone scams aim at cheating county residents out of their money, others seek to obtain residents' identity information to enable them to commit identity theft. Phone scammers favor phone spoofing, a technology that allows them to manipulate their marks' Caller IDs to display familiar phone numbers. Naive residents typically let their guards down when incoming calls show up as calls from reputable entities, making them vulnerable to phone scams.
 

The Ohio Attorney General's Office is the number one consumer protection agency in Ohio, and it educates residents on phone scams via the regular scam alerts on its websites. Mahoning County residents are encouraged to arm themselves with these alerts and avoid phone scams. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are also at the forefront of combating phone scams. The frequently reported phone scams in Mahoning County include:

What are Law Enforcement Impersonation Scams?

Law enforcement impersonation scams are frauds perpetrated by persons who pose as employees of city, county, state, or federal law enforcement agencies to extort naive residents. In Mahoning County, the Sheriff's Office warns residents to be wary of scammers who identify themselves as officers of the agency and calling people to defraud them. The scammers often use the names and badge numbers of real deputy sheriffs and may spoof the agency's official phone numbers to appear legitimate. When they call, they may tell their targets that they need to pay outstanding warrants or citations immediately to avoid arrest.  Applications that provide free reverse phone lookup services can help retrieve information on their identities. Sometimes, the scammers will say their marks missed jury duty and must pay fines to avoid punitive actions and even make references to local county judges. The imposters favor wire transfers and gift cards as channels of receiving payments.
 

Never feel pressured to pay such callers, regardless of their threats of arrest or jail. The Mahoning County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) warns residents never to pay unknown persons over the phone or provide personal and financial information. Legitimate MCSO deputies would never solicit payment for fines or threaten residents over the phone. If you receive this type of call, hang up immediately and contact the Sheriff's Office on their official phone numbers to verify the caller's claims.

What are Tech Support Scams?

Tech support scams involve fraudsters extort unsuspecting persons by pretending to be employees of reputable tech firms. These scammers often claim to be with Apple or Microsoft because of the widespread adoption of their products. Searching unknown numbers on incoming calls using phone number search applications can prevent Mahoning County residents from falling victim to this scam. During the phone calls, the scammers will falsely claim that their targets' computers have been infected with viruses and must be fixed immediately to prevent file loss. They will convince their marks into granting them remote access to such PCs and repair them at a fee. Once they have control of their victims' computers, the scammers will fetch their personal information, bank account numbers, passwords, PINs, and credit card details. After some time of fake repairs on victims' computers, they will request payment and lock the victims out until they receive payment. Tech support scammers usually insist on receiving payment by gift cards or wire transfers. In another iteration of tech support scams, fraudsters will install spyware on their victims' computers once they gain access to them. With spyware installed, scammers can perpetually obtain confidential information remotely on victims' computers to perpetrate identity or financial theft.
 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns residents from giving remote access to their computers by third parties, especially if they did not initiate the contact. If you get such calls, it is best to hang up immediately and call your computer company directly on their verifiable phone numbers to confirm the callers' claims. If you get locked out of your computer before realizing you are being engaged by a scammer, manually switch off the device and report the incident to your computer company.

What are Utility Scams?

In utility scams, fraudsters claim to be with their targets' local utility providers to steal their money or deceptively obtain their information and commit identity theft. The utility scam scheme targets both residential and business consumers of utility companies in Mahoning County. The callers inform targeted residents that they are behind in bill payments and have plans to cut off service if they do not pay immediately. They usually persuade their marks to provide their credit card information to make payments or ask them to put money on prepaid cards. Mahoning County residents should know that genuine utility providers will never request payments in this manner.
 

Another variant of this scam where the scammers pose as representatives of a state or federal agency is becoming alarming in Mahoning County. This version typically targets low-income earners. The fraudsters will claim that their marks qualify for a grant by their agency to pay utility bills in full for one month. They will ask them to provide certain personal information to enable them to process such bogus grants. The scammers only aim to obtain targets' sensitive personal data and commit identity theft. Although the federal and state government champions low-income payment assistance programs, no single government grant pays a consumer's monthly bill in full. The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) provides information about utility payment assistance programs for low-income consumers. Mahoning County residents can avoid these scams by performing reverse number lookups on unknown phone numbers calling them.

What are Romance Scams?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) cautions residents on engaging in online love relationships with individuals they have not met in person. Fraudsters who perpetrate romance scams usually adopt fake online identities to gain their marks' trust and affection as quickly as possible. Romance scams mostly start on popular dating websites, professional networking sites, or social media platforms. The fraudsters may say they are in the military or work overseas, citing these excuses as reasons they have not been able to meet in person. Although they can make plans to meet or even propose marriage, it usually never happens. Scammers painstakingly build such relationships and emotional attachment to a point where they begin to communicate over the phone via live calls or text messages. After some time, the fraudsters will start asking for money to address some urgent financial needs. Such needs may include paying some legal fees or resolving medical emergencies. These scammers have a preference for wire transfers because they can collect such money in any part of the world.
 

Fraudsters who engage in online romance may also turn their victims into money mules. They may ask their victims to open bank accounts through which they can launder scam proceeds, unknowingly to the victims. Mahoning County residents involved in online dating can use websites that offer area code lookup services to ascertain their lovers' actual locations. Romance scammers usually come up with excuses for not being able to meet in person, and they always avoid video calls. Never share personal information with or send money to anyone you have never met in person to avoid this scam.

What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?

Robocalls are automated calls that deliver pre-recorded messages to a mass audience. Commonly used by telemarketers and political campaigns, scammers have adopted robocalls for defrauding unsuspecting residents of Mahoning County. Robocalls remain the highest consumer complaints the Federal Communications Commission receives yearly. Scammers typically spoof robocalls to fool their targets into answering their phones. However, applications that offer reverse phone lookup free services can determine if an incoming call is spoofed or not. Robocalls are a type of spam call and are sometimes used by scammers to call random phone numbers. They do this to identify the active ones for future scam calls.
 

If you get a lot of robocalls, consider taking the following steps to reduce the frequency:
 

  • Put your phone number on the Do Not Call Registry to stop unwanted robocalls. Enrolling your number on the registry assures you that the robocalls you receive after 31 days of registration are potential scams.
     
  • Hang up your phone when you answer a robocall and report the number immediately to the FTC by calling 1 (888) 382-1222.
     
  • Uncover the caller’s identity by using search engines that offer reverse phone number search free services.
     
  • Block an identified robocall number using the call-blocking feature on your smartphone. You can also request your phone company to stop the phone number from calling you. Most phone companies will do this for free.

How Can You Spot and Report Mahoning Phone Scams?

The best way to avoid falling victim to Mahoning County phone scams is to acquire the necessary education to avoid them. There are government agencies tasked with sensitizing residents on how to recognize and avoid phone scams. Running suspicious phone numbers through applications that offer reverse phone number lookup services can help Mahoning County residents avoid phone scams. The warning signs of phone scams in the county include:
 

  • Someone who pretends to be a distant relative requests money to get out of some emergencies. Never feel pressured to send money if you receive such a call. Instead, call such a family member on the phone numbers on your contact list or other relatives to confirm such claims.
     
  • An unknown caller who requests payment via odd channels such as gift cards or wire transfers is a potential scammer. Do not pay anyone who insists on such payment channels because transactions completed through them are usually unrecoverable.
     
  • A caller who says you were specially selected to receive gifts or prizes but asks to pay a fee to obtain your winnings.
     
  • A caller who claims to be an employee of a government agency threatens to arrest you if you do not send money or share some confidential information. Legitimate employees of government agencies do not threaten residents with arrests over the phone.
     
  • A caller who demands immediate payment is possibly a scammer.
     

Mahoning County residents can report phone scams to the following agencies:
 

Federal Trade Commission - Residents can avoid robocall scams by joining the DNC Registry developed by the FTC. Reports of phone scams in Mahoning County can be filed with the FTC by calling 1 (888) 382-1222 or online
 

Federal Communications Commission - The FCC makes policies to protect residents against deceptive and unfair business practices. Mahoning County residents can file reports of phone spoofing scams and robocall scams online with the FCC.
 

Ohio Attorney General's Office - The Ohio Attorney General's Office provides tips to avoid scams on its website. Victims of phone scams in Mahoning County can report them to the Ohio Attorney General's Office by calling 1 (800) 282-0515 or online.
 

Mahoning County Sheriff's Office - The MCSO investigates reports of phone scams registered with it by County residents. Residents who are victims of phone scams in Mahoning County can report them to the Special Investigations Unit of the MCSO at (330) 480-5050. Alternatively, they can visit the agency at 110 Fifth Avenue, Youngstown, OH 44503, and file complaints in person.