There are three area codes covering Catawba County. These are area codes 828, 704, and 980. Area codes are three-digit codes designating numbering plan areas (NPAs). When AT&T created the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) in 1947, area codes and NPAs were introduced to streamline call routing and switching across North American phone networks. The NANP led to the introduction of 86 area codes in the United States. That number has since increased dramatically to cope with the growing number of phone users in the country. In a typical 10-digit North American phone number, the first three digits represent the area code.
Area Code 828
Created in 1998 in a split plan of the 704 NPA, area code 828 covers the western third of North Carolina. Most of Catawba County is served by this area code. Communities in the community covered by area code 828 include Newton, Hickory, Conover, Claremont, and Maiden.
Area Code 704
This is one of the original 86 area codes created in 1947. While it once covered all of North Carolina, the 704 NPA was reduced to the western third of the state in 1954. It was reduced further in 1998 when area code 828 was split off. The sections of Catawba County served by area code 704 include parts of Newton.
Area Code 980
Put into service on May 1, 2020, area code 980 is an overlay code for the 704 NPA. The first phone numbers with this area code were assigned on February 10, 2001. This area code covers the same communities in Catawba County as area code 704.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Catawba County?
In a 2018 survey investigating wireless substitution among Americans, the National Center for Health Statistics found that most of the residents of North Carolina have replaced their landline phones with wireless phones. The results of the study showed that 57.3% of adults in the state responded as wireless-only phone users while 4.5% of them still used their landline phones exclusively. Among minors in the state, 69% of the demographic indicated they used wireless phones exclusively for their telecommunication needs while 2.6% of this demographic used landline phones exclusively.
Residents of Catawba County can sign up for cell phone plans from major carriers as well as smaller, regional ones. AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile cover large parts of North Carolina. These carriers boast 93.7%, 93.5%, and 83.6% coverage of the state respectively. Smaller carriers or MVNOs rely on the networks of bigger carriers to offer phone services. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) usually offer cheaper cell phone plans but their services degrade rapidly when subscribers go outside their main coverage areas.
VoIP phone services represent a third option for Catawba County residents and businesses. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a communication technology that enables the transmission of audio, text, and video over the internet as data packets. For those with broadband internet connection, VoIP phone services are cheaper than cellphone and landline phone services. They cost less for video calls, long-distance calls, and telecommuting.
What are Catawba County Phone Scams?
These are telephone frauds committed in Catawba County or targeting residents and organizations in the county. Phone scammers contact their victims by calling and texting them. To spread a wide net for potential targets, fraudsters usually use robocalls and spam calls to contact as many people as possible. To increase their chances of success, they may also use caller ID spoofing and voice phishing. Spotting scam attempts and avoiding phone scams require vigilance and using tools like call blocking and reverse phone number lookup.
Residents of Catawba need to know prevalent phone scams in their communities as well as how scammers operate to be able to avoid and foil telephone frauds. The Attorney General of North Carolina provides helpful tips for avoiding telemarketing scams and lists common phone scams in the state. These include lottery and sweepstakes scams, grandparent scams, romance scams, and advance fee loan scams.
What are Catawba County Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams?
These usually start with fraudsters calling their targets and congratulating them on winning international lotteries and sweepstakes. Sometimes, targets receive checks for a few thousand dollars. These strange callers explain that the checks cover the taxes and processing fees required to claim their winnings. They instruct their targets to deposit these checks and to wire the amounts quickly in order to expedite processing their winnings. After sending the amounts on the checks, victims learn that they were sent fake checks.
Another lottery scam involves a fraudster calling with an offer to enter you in a foreign lottery for small weekly sums. If you agree, they will pay small sums back claiming those are your winnings. These payments are to reel you in until you agree to put down a large sum that they guarantee is a sure bet.
Residents of Catawba County should be wary of participating in foreign lotteries in which some strangers entered on their behalf. If contacted by a stranger offering lottery/sweepstakes entry or winning, first verify their identity by conducting a free reverse phone number lookup. Even if their phone number appears associated with a foreign lottery organizer, proceed cautiously and ask lots of questions. Do not send money to a strange caller promising a future windfall.
What are Catawba County Grandparent Scams?
So named because they mostly target elderly residents, these scams involve fraudsters impersonating loved ones and calling for financial help. Fraudsters running grandparent scams often gather some information about the grandchildren they will be impersonating. They claim to need money to get out of an emergency situation and ask their victims to keep the help secret from other family members claiming to be embarrassed. These impostors may claim to need money to get out of jail, come home from a foreign country, pay for hospital bills, or pay legal bills.
Before sending money to a loved one calling for urgent financial help, make sure to first confirm their identity and claims. Call the loved one directly or call other family members to ask for confirmation. Use phone number lookup to determine whether the caller is truly who they are and where they claim to need help.
What are Catawba County Romance Scams?
While these may start on social media and dating sites, they are mostly perpetrated with phone calls and text. Romance scams target lonely hearts and take some time to develop but often result in scammers defrauding their victims repeatedly. Sweetheart scammers wait until their targets and smitten before making urgent demands for financial help to get out made-up jams. They may claim they need money to pay hospital bills, get out of jail, start a small business, or even buy flight tickets to come visit.
Residents of Catawba County conducting online romances should not send money to love interests they have never met in person. They should also investigate such sweethearts by submitting their phone numbers for reverse phone lookup searches. These may show that the love interests are not who they are or live where they claim.
What are Catawba County Advance Fee Loan Scams?
These frauds target people with no credit, bad credit, and low incomes. In North Carolina, scammers often call people turned down by banks to offer them bogus loans. Scammers may also place classified ads online, in local newspapers, and around town claiming to offer quick, low-interest loans to everyone. In their ads, they provide numbers that their target victims can call. Those calling will be told they can indeed receive the loans they seek but most pay some amounts to cover processing or first and last month deposits of their repayment plans.
Residents of Catawba County should be wary of strange callers offering them loans especially if they are also requesting advance fees before giving out these loans. Before listening further to loan offers, run a suspicious phone number lookup on the number used by the caller to determine if they are indeed authorized to offer loans. Do an online search to verify the person and organization offering such loans have no history of scams.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
These are unwanted and unsolicited phone calls placed in bulk to lots of phone users. Robocalls use autodialers to deliver pre-recorded messages while spam calls are usually placed by actual persons working for telemarketers sending out similar scripted messages.
When they were first introduced, robocalls were mostly used by political groups, telemarketers, and organizations sending out public service announcements. Robocalls are easy to set up and require very little effort to run. These attributes also make them appealing to scammers looking for ways to find new targets for their nefarious schemes. As the number of robocalls and spam calls received by Americans grow exponentially every year, there is a growing movement to find lasting solutions to their scourge.
While lawmakers, consumer advocacy groups, and phone service providers look for ways to curb these unwanted calls, residents of Catawba County can reduce the number of robocalls and spam calls ringing their phones by following these steps:
- Hang up a call the moment you realize it is a robocall or spam call
- Do not listen to or obey instructions left at the end of robocalls and spam calls on steps to take to stop receiving such calls. Following such instructions will only lead to more of these unwanted calls
- Do not trust your phone’s caller ID to correctly identify calls. Scammers and spammers use caller ID spoofing to trick their targets into picking their calls
- Do not pick calls from unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail where you can listen to the messages left and determine which ones to call back
- Filter calls from unknown or blacklisted numbers on your phone. You can do this by setting up the call blocking feature on your smartphone, sign up for your carrier’s call blocking feature, or install a well-reviewed call blocking app
- Identify unknown callers by their numbers with phone number lookup. Use this tool to unmask scammers, spammers, and stalkers and to gather details needed when reporting them to law enforcements
- Register your phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. Legitimate telemarketers stop calling numbers on this registry. Robocalls received 31 days after joining this registry are illegal and should be reported
How to Spot and Report Catawba County Phone Scams
Knowing the different types of phone scams out there is indeed useful for avoiding telephone fraud. However, scammers are quick to tweak their schemes in order to trick unsuspecting residents into parting with the money and confidential information. Regardless of the forms they take, phone scams have certain common threads. Residents of Catawba County should look out for the following signs of telephone fraud when talking to strangers on the phone:
- Request for money by unofficial channels - whether soliciting charity donations or asking their victims to pay debts, fines, owed taxes, and overdue bills, scammers ask for these payments sent directly to them by cash, prepaid debit cards, gift cards, wire transfer, mobile app transfers, and cryptocurrencies. Legitimate organizations ask for payments by check and credit card
- Request for confidential information - scammers may aim to steal personal information such as passwords, credit card PINs, Social Security numbers, health insurance details, and financial records rather than money. Do not provide your confidential details to anyone on the phone
- Use of threat to force compliance - scammers impersonating authority figures threaten their victims to send money and release confidential information. Common threats used include arrest, prosecution, deportation, and license revocation
- Use of aggressive sales tactics - fraudsters running business, vacation, and investment scams give their victims very little time to consider their offers. They push them with fear of missing out by claiming their high-reward offers are only available for a limited time or offering huge discounts for anyone signing up immediately
- Refusing to provide written documentation - scammers cannot provide documents supporting their claims, referrals, past performance, and assumed identities
Residents alerted by these signs should take the next step of unmasking fraudsters targeting them with reverse phone lookup. However, rather than confronting these scammers, they should report them to the right authorities. Such reports are needed to identify, arrest, and prosecute phone scammers. Reports of foiled and successful phone scams also contribute to public awareness of telephone frauds. Catawba County residents can report phone scams to the following agencies:
- The North Carolina Department of Justice - the DOJ has a Consumer Fraud Task Force that investigates consumer and telemarketing scams. Report these telephone frauds to the agency by calling the toll free line: 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a scam complaint online. Residents of Catawba County can also report illegal robocalls to the DOJ by calling (844)-8-NO-ROBO
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - the FTC is the federal consumer protection agency and one of its responsibilities is protecting Americans from unfair and deceitful trade practices. Call the FTC at (877) 382-4357 to report a consumer scam. You can also file a fraud complaint online
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - the FCC is the federal agency that regulates all communication in the country including telecommunication services and providers. It operates the National Do Not Call Registry. Therefore, residents of Catawba County can report telemarketers violating the rules of this Registry to the FCC. In addition to illegal robocalls, the FCC also accepts reports of spam calls, caller ID spoofing, and phishing as well as scams perpetrated using these phone tools. Report these to the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center