The Bell System created the North American Numbering Plan in the 1940s. Part of the plan included the use of area codes to replace the cumbersome call operations system which required human operators to connect calls across the existing telephony communications system. Area codes were formed as three-digit prefixes added to seven-digit telephone numbers to route calls through the different geographical areas that were created. Each geographical area has its own area code. Hence, using area codes helped to automate calls and removed the reliance on human operators in connecting calls. You can find the area code of any geographical area in the United States by using an area code lookup tool online.
Only one area code currently serves Buncombe County – Area code 828.
Area Code 828
Area code 828 was created from area code 704 and was first used on March 22, 1998. It is the only area code serving Lenoir, Hickory, and Asheville Cities. Other cities using area code 828 include Boone, Morganton, Hendersonville, Newton, Waynesville, St. Stephens, and Conover.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Buncombe County?
You may find the best rate and plan possible in Buncombe County, but it will not be good enough if you do not have quality coverage. Before making your final decision on the cell phone plan that best suits you, ensure to verify the provider with the best coverage in your local area. Most national carriers strive to provide reliable coverage across the United States, and Buncombe County is no exception. AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint all cover Buncombe County. There are also alternate smaller carriers referred to as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) providing wireless telephony service in the county. These smaller carriers use the larger carriers' network, so coverage is strong regardless of your carrier of choice.
In the county seat of Asheville, AT&T and Verizon have the best overall coverages, both with a relative score of 88 compared to other providers. Sprint's coverage is rated at 78%, while T-Mobile's score is rated at 68%.
Voice over Internet Protocol, VoIP, is a modern technology used by Buncombe County residents as one of the options for wireless telephony. VoIP converts voice into digital information for transmission over high-speed networks. It is available anywhere access to broadband connection is available. It offers a wide array of optional features that are popular among county residents. These include caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, international calling, and unlimited calling. These have made VoIP a cost-effective and versatile option for many Buncombe County residents.
Wireless telephony service is fast replacing wired or landline telephony service in Buncombe County and North Carolina. According to a 2018 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, among individuals above the age of 18 in North Carolina, 57.3% exclusively used wireless telephony service, while only 4.5% used landline-only telephony service. Among persons under the age of 18, 69.0% used wireless-only telephony service, while 2.6% used landline-only telephony service.
What are Buncombe County Phone Scams?
Buncombe County phone scams are fraudulent activities perpetrated using phone calls by fraudsters to extort money or private information from Buncombe County residents. Illegally obtained private or personal information is then used by scammers to commit frauds or identity thefts. Crooked individuals use varying cons to gain their victims’ trust, or techniques such as caller ID spoofing to pose as trustworthy persons. Common phone scams in Buncombe County include jury duty scams, social security scams, grandparent scams, and can-you-hear-me scams. Phone lookup applications can help unmask the real identities of phone scammers.
What are Buncombe County Jury Duty Scams?
In a jury duty scam, the caller claims to be a judge or member of the court, local police, Buncombe County Sheriff's Office, or a federal agency. Often, the caller may use the name of a real judge or officer obtained from a public source and may even use a fake caller ID of the assumed office. The caller claims that the target has failed to appear for jury service or jury duty and that the target is in contempt of court. As a result, the caller claims that a local or federal arrest warrant has been issued for the target's arrest.
To avoid arrest or imprisonment, the target is required to pay a fine or bond typically requested in the form of a pre-paid debit or gift card, which makes it impossible to retrieve the money and difficult to track down the scammer. The target may also be asked to meet the caller at the local courthouse, police department, sheriff's office, or some other location. Usually, a jury duty scammer requests the target to stay on the phone while purchasing the pre-paid debit or gift cards and read the card numbers back over the call to confirm the purchase. Buncombe County residents may use free reverse phone lookup tools to ascertain the true origins of suspicious phone numbers.
What are Buncombe County Social Security Scams?
In recent times, a series of scam phone calls have been flooding Buncombe County by callers claiming to represent the Social Security Administration (SSA). These persons claim to have noticed suspicious activities linked with residents' Social Security numbers. Due to these "fraudulent activities", scammers claim that residents' Social Security numbers have been suspended.
To lift the supposed suspension on a Social Security number, the scammer may ask the target to pay a fee or provide the Social Security number by reading it out over the phone. Once you make a payment, it does directly into the scammer's pocket. If you provide the Social Security number, it will be used in identity theft. Note that the SSA does not ask people for their Social Security numbers. They also do not threaten your benefits or ask you to pay anything. You can use a reverse cell phone lookup tool to verify if a caller’s identity matches the name given.
What are Buncombe County Grandparent Scams?
Buncombe grandparent scams are usually targeted at grandparents or elderly residents in the County. Here, the scammer calls or sends a message claiming to be a grandchild in trouble and urges the grandparent to wire money immediately to help with an emergency. Such emergencies typically involve getting out of jail, paying a hospital bill, or returning from a foreign country. Grandparent scammers often use pressure tactics to coerce targets into transferring funds by enlisting the help of co-scammers who play different roles to rob targets of money. The other parties may pose as attorneys or bail bondsmen. The caller may not always play the grandchild card, sometimes, the caller can also pretend to be an old neighbor or a family friend.
In grandparent scams, scammers usually request that the money be sent through money transfer companies such as MoneyGram and Western Union. The scammer may claim to be embarrassed by the situation and ask the victim to keep the situation secret from other members of the family. To help verify that callers are who they say they are, you can use good reverse phone lookup tools online to quickly do a number lookup or reverse number lookup.
What are Buncombe County Can You Hear Me Scams?
If you answer your phone, and the caller asks, "Can you hear me?", you could be the target of a common phone scam in Buncombe County - The "can you hear me" phone scam. In this scam, the caller tries to con you into saying the word "yes". Once the scammer records your voice, it may be used to authorize unwanted charges elsewhere. For example, with a tape recording of your voice saying "yes", a scammer can add charges to your phone bill or take other actions to steal your money. If you protest that you never authorized the charges, the "yes" recording can make it harder to get the charges removed.
Note that while the scam is referred to as the "can you hear me" scam, the call may begin with other questions such as "Is this the lady of the house?", "Is this Mr. X?", or any other question that may elicit a "yes" answer. There are free reverse phone number lookup tools online to help uncover who called and find who a number is registered to.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are prerecorded messages received through automated phone calls from computer-generated dialers. While there are helpful robocalls such as those sent by schools to students, parents, employees, and those used in public service announcements by government bodies, the majority of robocalls received by Buncombe County residents are unsolicited and unwanted spam calls. According to the North Carolina Department of Justice Consumer Protection Division, the Division received more than 10,000 complaints about telemarketers or robocalls in 2020. While these calls are annoying, they can also lead to scams and fraud.
A phone lookup service can help determine if an incoming call is a robocall. You can also follow these guidelines to limit the scourge of robocalls:
- Confirm that you are on the national Do-Not-Call List: Although scammers may find ways around the Do-Not-Call Registry, it is still a good idea to add your number to the registry. That way, you will get fewer robocalls from companies adhering to the 2019 Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. The Act increases penalties and requires phone companies to validate calls before they reach telephone subscribers. Call (888) 382-1222 from the phone you want to register or register online at DoNotCall. Register your home and cellphone numbers or confirm those numbers are already on the list.
- Use voicemail as a weapon: One of the easiest methods to fight robocalls is to screen calls through your voicemail. Telemarketers often hang up when the call goes to voicemail.
- Use your smartphone's number-blocking feature: If you get an unsolicited call, you can block that number for good. Check your phone call settings to activate this feature. This is usually an effective option for many people.
- Ask your phone company about call-blocking services: Many phone service providers offer free call-blocking features. You may contact your provider to find out if one is included in your plan or may be purchased as an add-on service.
- Download a third-party call-blocking application: You can find one on any of the major mobile application stores. Examples include Hiya, Truecaller, and Nomorobo.
- Hang up on robocalls. If you answer a call and hear a recorded message instead of a live operator, hang up immediately. Do not follow any instructions provided on the call.
- North Carolina Department of Justice: Report suspected scams and robocalls online at or via phone to the Department by calling (844) 866-7626.
How to Spot and Report Buncombe County Phone Scams?
Scammers now use modern technologies including neighbor spoofing to disguise their numbers and caller IDs as those familiar to the persons being targeted. When people see incoming calls from familiar numbers, the likelihood of them answering automatically increases, and scammers get the opportunities to work their magic. With the number of scams being higher than ever before, and these criminals implementing new tactics, it is evident that phone scams are serious threats that require actions on multiple levels. Reverse number lookup tools can help Buncombe County residents spot phone scams. You may also look out for these telltale signs when you receive calls from unsolicited persons:
- The caller asks you to make payment using specific payment methods. Scammers do not want to be traced. Therefore, requests for payments are usually preferred through wire transfers, cryptocurrencies, prepaid debit cards, and gift cards. If an unsolicited caller insists you have to pay through any of these means, be wary.
- The caller threatens or intimidates you. If a caller claims to represent a legitimate organization but threatens to arrest, imprison, or revoke your license, then you are on the call to a scammer. Hang up immediately and use call-blocking services or tools to stop the caller from reaching you.
- The caller claims you have won a prize or lottery but need to make a payment to obtain the prize. Scammers who use this trick typically claim payments are for processing, taxes, or shipping. Do not take the bait.
- The caller tries to coerce you into making a decision on the spot. This is a pressure tactic used by scammers. They do not want you to have enough time to research or verify their information. Resist the pressure by hanging up and confirming the information you have been given. Call a friend, relative, adviser, or a trusted organization to ascertain what you have been told.
- The caller asks you to confirm an account detail by providing personal information such as Social Security number, passwords, PINs, and date of birth.
Very few phone scams are reported, which leaves con artists free to rob other people of their money and information. If you have fallen victim or have been contacted by a scammer, you can file complaints with any of the following public bodies:
- The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office and local police departments: If you have received a call from a scammer, you can contact your local police department or the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office at (828) 250-4503. In the county seat of Asheville, you can contact the Asheville Police Department at (828) 252-1110
- The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office: To report a scam, you can file a complaint online to the Consumer Protection Office by calling (877) 5-NO-SCAM or (919) 716-6000 (outside of North Carolina).
- Federal Communications Commission: If you receive unwanted robocalls and text messages, you can file a report online with the FCC.
- Federal Trade Commission - The FTC protects consumers from deceptive and fraudulent practices. You can file a phone scam report with the FTC by completing the online complaint form.
- Social Security Administration: If you receive a scam call or you suspect you have been a victim of a scam from the Social Security Administration, report such calls by calling the Office of the Inspector General at (800) 269-0271 or make a report online.