There are three area codes serving Portage County. These are area codes 330, 234, and 440. Area codes are three-digit numbers assigned to NPAs (numbering plan areas). Area codes and NPAs were first created in the US following the introduction of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) in 1947. This replaced the different telephone exchange systems in service in the US prior to 1947. The NANP unified North American telephone networks in participating countries and made it easier to route phone calls across these networks. In a 10-digit American phone number, the area code is the first three digits.
Area Code 330
Area code 330 was introduced on March 9, 1996 from a split plan from area code 216. It was the first of the second-generation area codes assigned in Ohio after the four area codes assigned to the state at the creation of the NANP in 1947. Communities in Portage County served by area code 330 include Aurora, Ravenna, Kent, and Streetsboro.
Area Code 234
This is an overlay area code for the 330 NPA. It was first planned as an overlay code for Jacksonville in Florida but was reallocated to Ohio on October 30, 2020. The first phone numbers with this area code were given to phone users in 2003. This area code serves the same communities as area code 330.
Area Code 440
Established on August 16, 1997, area code 440 was created from a split plan of the 216 NPA. It serves communities in the Greater Cleveland area outside of the City of Cleveland itself. Area code 440 covers parts of Aurora and Hiram in Portage County.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Portage County?
According to a 2018 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most of the residents of Ohio have substituted landlines with wireless cell phones. The survey concluded that 58.5% of adults in the state solely used wireless phone service. In contrast, only 4.3% of this demographic still relied only on their landline phones for telecommunication. The gap between wireless phone-only users and landline-only subscribers was found to be wider among minors in the state. Among residents under the age of 18, 71.8% only used wireless phones while a tiny 2% of the group solely used landline phones for telecommunication.
All four major national carriers provide phone services in Portage County and the rest of Ohio. AT&T boasts the widest coverage in the state with its network available in 99.9% of Ohio. Verizon and T-Mobile have 96.7% and 96.4% coverage of the state while Sprint only provides phone service in 81.9% of the state. Besides these Big Four, there are also smaller carriers called MVNOs or Mobile Virtual Network Operators. These rely mostly on the network infrastructure of the major carriers and buy phone services from them in bulk. They repackage these into bundles that are attractive to residents in the areas they serve. MVNO phone plans are usually more affordable as they pass some of the savings from buying network services in bulk to end users.
Residents of Portage County can also sign up for phone services provided by VoIP operators. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a communication technology that enables the transmission of voice signals over the internet as data packets. This is convenient for residents and businesses in the county with fast internet access. VoIP phone services are more affordable than landline and cell phone services especially for extended calls and long-distance calls. They do rely on broadband internet access. VoIP phone users can make calls from their computers and tablets in addition to their phones.
What are Portage County Phone Scams?
Portage County phone scams are frauds committed with phone tools and services and targeted at residents of the county. The rising number of reported phone scams is a direct result of the ease of accessing certain phone tools and services. Phone scammers find targets and commit telephone frauds using tools such as caller ID spoofing, robocalls, voice phishing, and spam calls. Where these technologies were once expensive and restricted, they are not quite affordable and available to everyone.
Improved access to advanced phone tools and services is also a boon to the fight against phone scams. Some of these technologies make it easier to find, identify, and avoid phone scams and fraudsters. Call blocking and reverse phone lookup are two of the most useful scam-fighting phone tools available to everyone. In addition to using these tools, Portage County residents can also avoid scams by learning about new phone scam trends in their communities. Some of the most common phone scams in Ohio are advance fee scams, computer repair scams, foreclosure rescue scams, grandparent scams, and romance scams.
What are Portage County Advance Fee Scams?
These scams involve fraudsters calling unsuspecting residents to offer to help them qualify for loans, credit cards, and grants. Oftentimes, these targets do not qualify for these financial instruments and cannot obtain them via usual channels. A scammer running this con asks for an advance fee for their service before providing assistance. Once the victim pays, they stop communicating with them. The Ohio Attorney General warns residents never to pay anyone to qualify for a loan, government grant, or credit card. A quick reverse phone lookup free search can tell you more about the stranger making such offers. It can show that they do not work for the organization they claim to represent, that their organization is fake, or that the number used was previously flagged for phone scams.
What are Portage County Computer Repair Scams?
Also known as tech support scams, these start with scammers impersonating customer support representatives of recognizable tech companies like Apple and Microsoft. These fraudsters call unsuspecting residents and claim their computers need to be fixed by removing viruses or making them run faster. They request remote access to these computers or direct their victims to download malicious software.
After gaining access to the victim’s computer, the scammer installs malware on this machine to steal confidential information such as passwords. They may charge victims for bogus repairs. In the most malicious instances, the scammer locks out the victim from their computers and demands ransom before restoring their access. It is important that you give strangers remote access to your computer even if they claim to represent the tech company that made the machine or any of the software installed on it. If contacted by a suspected impersonator, check their identity by submitting their number for a suspicious phone number lookup.
What are Portage County Foreclosure Rescue Scams?
These scams target residents that are about to lose their homes. They lie to unsuspecting homeowners that they can help them obtain better loan terms or renegotiate their mortgage so that they will retain their homes. For their service, these scammers demand that their victims pay certain amounts but abscond as soon as they get paid. Do not trust a stranger calling to help you avoid foreclosure by loan modification or getting a lower interest rate. Ask for the name of the firm providing this service and use phone number lookup to see if the caller’s number is registered to this company. A quick internet search can also help you determine whether this company is legitimate. Definitely talk to your lender to confirm that the solutions proffered by the caller is legal and available.
What are Portage County Grandparent Scams?
Mostly targeting elderly residents, these are also impersonation scams. In these cases, the scammers impersonate the grandkids or other loved ones of grandparents. They ask for immediate financial help for some urgent need while asking their victims not to tell anyone about their cry for help. Some of the emergencies claimed by these impersonators include needing money to get out of jail, come home from foreign countries, and paying hospital bills.
The Office of the Attorney General of Ohio warns residents not to be taken by calls from individuals claiming to be their relatives and asking for emergency financial help. Anyone contacted in this way must call other relatives to confirm the claims of the persons calling them. In most cases, it is easy to discover scammers using this con. Simply checking their identities with reverse phone lookups can show that callers are not who they claim they are and not where they claim to be.
What are Portage County Romance Scams?
These start from dating apps and websites and target lonely hearts looking for partners. A con artist running a romance scam keeps the relationship strictly to phone calls and claims they cannot meet because they are overseas. After maintaining the spark for a few months, they call out of the blue and ask for help with some pressing hardship. They ask the besotted victim for money to help to pay for made-up medical bills or even a flight ticket to come visit. A romance scam can be a long con with the con artist creating increasingly inventive ways to extract money from their lovestruck victim.
The spell of a romance scam can be hard to break the longer it goes on. The key to avoiding it is to out the scammer before getting in too deep. A reverse phone number search can help identify the scammer. However, most romance scams are sophisticated with the con artist masking their true phone number with caller ID spoofing and VoIP.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls and spam calls are unwanted calls usually placed in bulk to large groups of people. A robocall is placed by an auto-dialer delivering a pre-recorded message. A spam call may be placed by actual humans dialing long lists of numbers and delivering the same message.
Political campaigns and telemarketers routinely use robocalls to reach their intended audiences. Robocalls are cost-effective mass communication tools that require very little human effort after setting them up. These features also make them appealing to fraudsters who use robocalls and spam calls for fishing for more targets. It is no wonder then that the number of these unwanted calls received by residents of Portage County keeps increasing every year. While they are a scourge, it is possible to reduce the number of robocalls and spam calls received by following these tips:
- Be skeptical of the information presented by your phone’s caller ID. Scammers can appear as other people by using caller ID spoofing
- Do not pick calls from unknown persons. If you must take calls from numbers you do not recognize, hang up as soon as you find out they are robocalls or spam calls
- Refrain from following the prompts in robocalls providing directions about how to stop receiving further robocalls. These prompts will only open a floodgate of more robocalls as following them confirms that your phone number is active and you are open to picking calls from unknown numbers
- Identify the individuals registered to the unknown numbers calling you by submitting theme or reverse phone lookup searches
- Use call blocking to avoid calls from unknown or select numbers. Smartphones have call blocking features and carriers offer them too. You can also find mobile apps that block calls from a blacklist of numbers flagged by other users
- Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry. This signals to telemarketers to stop directing robocalls your way. Any unwanted call received after a month on this registry is most likely from a scammer or spammer
How to Spot and Report Portage County Phone Scams
Ongoing phone scams are not so obvious except to those with experience. You do not have to be a past victim of a phone scam to be able to recognize one. By keeping abreast of scam trends in the county and state, you can learn to recognize the telltale signs of phone scams when talking to strangers. Here are the key signs to look out for in order to spot phone scams:
- Request for payment by wire transfer, gift card, or prepaid money card - scammers prefer these methods because payment sent through these channels are irreversible and often hard to trace
- Pressure to act immediately - targets of phone scams are likely to realize they are being scammed the longer the con takes. Therefore, scammers get aggressive and pressure their targets to send money or provide confidential information immediately
- Request for secrecy - a caller asking that you do not tell friends, family, law enforcement, government officials, or your bank about their conversation is most certainly a scammer
- Use of threat - to obtain compliance, scammers impersonating authority figures try to strike fear in their victims by threatening to arrest, jail, or deport them. They may also threaten to revoke their driver’s license or business license
Residents of Portage County should report phone scams as soon as possible. Whether successful or foiled, reporting the phone scam can help you and others. Law enforcement use such reports in their investigation. Consumer protection and advocacy groups also use such reports to educate the public about current and common scam tactics. Portage County residents can report incidents of phone scams to the following agencies:
- Ohio Attorney General’s Office - Report a scam to the Attorney General’s Office or file a consumer complaint by calling (800) 282-0515 or filling and submitting the Complaint Form online. Residents can also report robocalls using the Report an Unwanted Call form
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - The FCC can investigate any scam involving communication tools and misuse of robocalls and caller ID spoofing. Report such phone scams to the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - The FTC receives complaints from citizens reporting unfair and deceptive business practices. If you lost money to scammer failing to provide goods or services for payments sent, you can file a fraud complaint with the FTC online
- Portage County Sheriff’s Office - As the chief law enforcement agency in the county, the Sheriff’s Office receives complaints of phone scams. Call (330) 296-5100 to report a scam attempt. Residents can also file complaints with police departments in the county