Area codes are the three-digit numbers assigned to telephone numbers. Every North American telephone number under the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) has area codes that identify the location where specific calls originate from. Durham County currently has two area codes; these include:
Area Code 919
Area code 919 is the telephone area code serving the east-central area of North Carolina. It was created in 1954 when the eastern and central portions of North Carolina were split from area code 704. It serves the Cities of Durham, Chapel Hill, Morrisville, Raleigh, and Carrboro.
Area Code 984
Area code 984 is an overlay code for area code 919. It was implemented by the North Carolina Utilities Commission in 2001. Area code 984 covers the same cities as area code 919. Some of these cities include Goldsboro, Holly Springs, Mebane, Sanford, and Smithfield.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Durham County?
According to a 2018 National Center of Health Statistics survey, 57.3% of the North Carolina adult population used mainly wireless telephones, while only 4.5% of North Carolina adults used only landlines for their telephony services. Among children under the age of 18, the survey showed that 69% used wireless telephone services, while only 2.6% used landlines. Judging from the statistics, residents of Durham County prefer wireless cell phone services over landlines as their preferred telephone service.
The best phone carriers in Durham County are AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. AT%T offers the widest coverage with 92% coverage, and Verizon follows closely with 90% coverage, and Sprint offers 78% coverage. Lastly, T-Mobile offers 74% coverage. Note that the network quality of these phone carriers may be negatively affected by harsh weather conditions. Also, network quality is poor in areas with high population density.
VoIP, also called Voice Over Internet Protocol, is a technology that allows users to make voice calls using stable internet connections instead of traditional phone lines. In Durham County, VoIP is gaining a lot of popularity because of its affordability and reliability. VoIP can be used on multiple devices simultaneously, while traditional phone services are restricted to one device only.
What are Durham County Phone Scams?
Durham phone scams are fraudulent acts committed by scammers over the phone. Phone scammers use different dubious tactics to get residents to share personal and financial information over the phone. Phone scammers often mask their identities by displaying fake caller ID information. This is also known as caller ID spoofing. They take up the caller IDs of government agencies or credible organizations and pretend to be their employees. Some government agencies that scammers usually impersonate include the Durham County Sheriff's Department, State Attorney General’s office, and the IRS.
A reverse phone lookup application can help you identify suspicious callers and avoid phone scams. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides information on caller ID spoofing and how to avoid them. The State’s Attorney General’s Office also provides consumer tips that help residents to avoid falling victims to phone scams.
The following are some common scams in Durham County:
What are Durham County Jury Duty Scams?
In jury duty scams, residents receive calls from persons identifying themselves as jury duty officers or officers of the Durham County Sheriff’s Department. These callers mostly spoof their caller IDs to appear as that of the Court Clerk‘s Office. The callers tell residents that they have missed jury duty summons and there are warrants out for their arrest for contempt of court. They issue threats of arrest, claiming that it can only be averted if they pay specified fines. They usually ask for payment in a suspicious manner such as wire transfers, gift cards, or prepaid cards.
Calls like these are often scams. Note that the courts do not summon residents via phone calls or text messages. They also do not demand payment of fines over the phone. When you receive such calls, contact the court in question to verify such claims. Any money paid to scammers becomes untraceable and unretrievable after payment. A free reverse phone lookup service can be used to answer the question “who is this number registered to?” This helps uncover the identity of the person calling.
What are Durham County Government Imposter Scams?
In a government imposter scam, a scammer contacts you posing as an agent of a government agency. The most commonly impersonated agencies in Durham County are the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the County Sheriff’s Department. A variant of this scam involves a scammer posing as an IRS agent and contacting you. The scammer then tells you that you owe back taxes and must pay immediately.
The scammer could also act as a Sergeant of the Durham County Sheriff’s department, threatening you with an arrest if you do not pay a certain amount of money. In either of these scams, they will usually want you to make payment via wire transfer, gift cards, or prepaid cards. These payment methods are an indication that you are not communicating with a government agent. Legitimate government agencies would never request payments in such a manner.
The Durham County Sheriff’s Office has advised its residents to exercise caution when dealing with such calls. The Sheriff’s Office does not call residents to solicit money or request sensitive personal information over the phone. Residents must always reject such calls. The IRS also does not call residents to threaten or demand payment for back taxes, they mostly only communicate with you via email. It is advisable not to give out your personal and financial information to strangers over the phone. If you are not sure if you owe back taxes, visit the official IRS website to find a real IRS phone number or email address to confirm whether you owe. Residents can use good reverse number lookup services to reveal the true identities of scammers.
What are Durham County Charity Scams?
In charity scams, scammers take advantage of disastrous events like a pandemic, earthquake, or flood to scam innocent people. They defraud their victims by posing as legitimate charity organizations and seeking donations on behalf of people affected by such events. Even though legitimate charity organizations solicit funds, it is advisable to make further inquiries or take steps to verify the legitimacy of any charity organization before donating money to them. This may be done by contacting the organization directly before donating. In other cases of these scams, scammers may solicit funds from charitable organizations that do not even exist to embezzle donated funds. A phone number search may be used to identify any of such callers.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
A robocall is an automated phone call placed with an autodialer to deliver a pre-recorded message. Robocalls are commonly associated with telemarketing and political campaigns but are also used in phone scams. Some robocalls are spam calls that attempt to sell fake products and services. The primary intention of these calls is to extort phone users. Some robocalls also instruct recipients to press certain keys to speak with live agents or reel out phone numbers for them to call back.
Robocall scams are fraudulent automated calls aimed at stealing residents’ money as well as their private and financial information. Phone scammers use robocalls because they can target many people with little or no human effort and at low costs. A reverse phone number search can help differentiate a robocall from a live call.
Here are some of the ways to avoid falling victim to robocalls scams:
- Hang up as soon as you discover that you have answered a robocall. Do not follow any of the prompts given during the call, because this may be a trap to target your phone number for more scam calls.
- Download a third-party call blocking tool and use it to block recurrent robocalls and any suspicious calls.
- Take active precautions. Avoid answering calls from unknown numbers and if you must, do not give out any personal information
- Hang up if you get an unsolicited phone call from someone or a robocall saying there's a problem with your social security number, credit card, and other financial accounts. To verify the caller’s authenticity, you can call back the financial organization, using the phone number on the official website.
- Register on the National Do Not Call Registry provided by the FCC. Although the registry cannot totally prevent scam calls, registering your phone number will significantly reduce unsolicited calls.
- Hang up as soon as you suspect fraud and report the call to your local law enforcement and the FTC.
How to Spot and Report Durham County Phone scams?
Phone scammers always try to entice you with seemingly great offers, appeal for charitable causes, or impersonate government agencies. Regardless of the methods they use, their goal is to get you to divulge your personal information and trick you into sending them money.
Here are some red flags of phone scams.
- Aggressive tactics to coerce you into revealing personal or financial information. These include threats, arrests, fines, and tax audits.
- A claim that you have been selected for a limited-time offer, award, or lottery, but you have to pay an amount of money before you can get your claim.
- The caller asks you to make payment by cash, gift cards, or wire transfer. Payments made via these payment methods are untraceable and impossible to retrieve.
- The caller claims to be a friend or relative in need of money, but insists that you do not contact anybody because they feel ashamed of the situation. Do not give in to such pressure, instead, call other family members to confirm the situation.
Services that conduct reverse phone number lookups by address, name, and phone number are helpful against phone scams. The following public institutions in Durham County provides more information on how to handle phone scams:
- North Carolina Department of Justice Consumer Protection Division: Durham County residents who have been victims of fraud can file consumer complaints with the DOJ. The Consumer Protection Division is a section in the State Attorney’s Office that protects consumers from fraud.
- Durham County Sheriff’s Office - The Durham County Sheriff Office provides information and updates on prevalent scams in the county. Durham County residents who have been victims of phone scams can report by contacting the Sheriff’s Office at 919-560-0897.
- Better Business Bureau - The Better Business Bureau is the premium source of information on legitimate business entities registered in Durham County. The BBB also provides information about prevalent scams in Durham County.
- Federal Trade Commission - The FTC protects consumers from deceptive and fraudulent practices. The FTC initiated the National Do Not Call Registry as part of its efforts to eliminate unwanted calls. If you added your number to the DNC register, but continue to receive unsolicited calls, it most likely these are scam calls.