What are Gaston County Area Codes?
Gaston County is bordered to the east by the Catawba River. It has a population of just over 200,000 residents and a landmass of 364.5 square miles. The county seat of Gaston County is the City of Gastonia. The county consists of several towns and cities, including the City of Gastonia, the Town of Dallas, and the City of Belmont.
Area codes are the three-digit prefixes attached to any phone number in North America. Area codes are used to identify service areas. Area codes were introduced as part of the North American Phone Numbering Plan to unify all phone numbering plans in North America. The North American Numbering Plan was adopted in 1940. This Numbering plan is managed and maintained by the North American Numbering Plan Administration. The North Carolina Utilities Commission is responsible for the regulation of all telephone companies within the State.
Area code 704
Area code 980
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Gaston County?
A survey carried out by the National Center of Health Statistics in 2018 showed the phone usage preferences of citizens in North Carolina. According to the survey, 57.3% of North Carolina adults used wireless phone services exclusively. By contrast, only 4.9% of adults in the state used landlines exclusively. However, the study also discovered that about 12.9% of adults in North Carolina used a combination of wireless phone services and landlines. Similarly, among the minors, the study also showed a huge preference for wireless phone services. The study estimated that about 69% of the minors in the State of North Carolina used wireless phone services exclusively. On the other hand, only about 2.6% of minors in the State used landlines solely, and 8.1% of the minors used both wireless phone services and landlines.
There are primary four major phone carriers that operate in Gaston County; these are AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. These four major carriers provide the majority of the telephone service in the county. It is important to note that other smaller Mobile Virtual Network Operators also operate in Gaston County.
Several other factors such as coverage area, 4G availability, cost of service plan, and download speed need to be considered to choose the best phone plan. In Gaston County, T-Mobile offers the best coverage area in Gaston County with a coverage area rating of 92%. This is closely followed by AT&T and Verizon, which both have a coverage area rating of 88% each. Sprint comes in a distant third with a coverage area rating of 58%. These service providers also provide 4G coverage for the majority of the county they cover. Verizon offers the most reliable 4G coverage with a 95.4% uptime, making it the most reliable 4G data service provider in Gaston County. This is closely followed by T-Mobile with a 92.7% uptime. AT&T comes in third place with 92.3% uptime and finally, Sprint with 89.9% uptime.
With the declining use of Plain Old Telephone Services in Gaston County, Residents are beginning to rely more on data-driven telephony services. One of such data-driven telephony services is the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Many individuals and businesses in Gaston County rely more on VoIP services as their major means of communication in the county, leading to the creation of numerous smaller telecommunications companies that specialize in providing VoIP services. This reliance on VoIP is a result of its reliability, affordability, and relative flexibility.
What are Gaston County Phone Scams?
Gaston County phone scams are scams that target residents of Gaston County. These scams are often committed by con artists who use telephones or other telecommunication communication media to defraud residents of the county. These con artists attempt to obtain county residents’ personal and financial information using spoofing, impersonation, and fraudulent business propositions.
What are Gaston County Covid-19 Relief Scams?
Fraudsters are currently exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to perpetrate their scams. There are two methods fraudsters use to commit these COVID-19 scams. The fraudsters either pose as government-appointed contact traces and leverage Gaston County residents’ current need for relief. Posing as government-appointed contact tracers or health service workers, they call Gaston County residents. During the call, the callers claim that the recipients have come in contact with individuals that have the coronavirus. They then request personal information like social security numbers, addresses, and other personal information from the victims.
Fraudsters, also capitalizing on the COVID-19 pandemic, claim to be offering COVID-19 relief packages. The fraudsters call Gaston County residents, claiming to be from the government. During the call, the fraudsters request the county residents’ bank details and other financial information. They deceive the residents that these details are required to enable the government to facilitate their COVID-19 relief payments. Relevant agencies in Gaston County have notified residents that they would not be required to take any actions to receive the government relief payment. Gaston County residents should also note that all direct stimulus payments from the government will be made directly into their account or the cheques mailed to them personally.
Some other fraudsters pose as legitimate businesses and send out broadcast messages via text messages and emails. They use caller ID spoofing to make their numbers appear like legitimate Gaston County businesses. These fraudsters then offer Gaston County residents coupons and freebies under the guise of corporate social responsibility carried out by these organizations. However, these text messages and emails may contain links that require residents to apply for these packages. When residents click the links, they would be required to register to be entitled to relief packages. On some occasions clicking on these links installs a trojan horse on residents’ devices and grants fraudsters access to all the residents’ personal information stored on their devices.
What are Gaston County Jury Duty Scams?
The fraudsters posing as representatives from the County Sheriff’s Office contact Gaston County residents, informing them that there are warrants out for their arrest for failure to show up for jury duty. The fraudsters then ask residents to pay certain amounts of money to avoid going to jail. During the call, the fraudsters use aggression and intimidation tactics to scare residents. However, the Gaston County Sheriff's Office has notified county residents that they will never request any sort of payment to let residents get past arrest warrants. Gaston County residents are advised to verify such arrest claims by calling the Sheriff’s Office directly.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Spam calls refer to all unwanted or unsolicited phone calls, such as sales calls from telemarketers. They are annoying, infuriating, and dangerous as callers are often fraudsters looking to steal personal information. Robocalls, on the other hand, are very similar to spam calls. However, the calls are made using automatic dialers, and they deliver pre-recorded messages. Robocalls may either be legal or illegal.
Per the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, private businesses and telemarketers must obtain written or recorded consent before they can robocall individuals. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act was enacted to help protect the privacy of telephone users. However, this act makes an exemption for debt collectors, health providers, political campaigns, non-profits, charities, and informational messages, permitting them to reach phone users without prior consent. Telemarketers often use robocalls because they can reach a large number of people with minimal human effort.
Fraudsters have found ways to exploit the reach and anonymity of robocalls to commit their scams. This makes it very difficult to deal with robocalls. County authorities and other state security agencies continually embark on awareness campaigns to enlighten Gaston County residents on how to deal with unwanted robocalls. Some actions county officials recommend include:
- Residents should terminate the call once they realize it is a robocall.
- Residents should ignore all messages prompting them to follow any procedures or dial certain numbers during the call.
- Residents should register with the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Residents should reach out to their phone service providers for call blocking solutions to block robocall numbers.
- Residents should report illegal robocalls online to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- For calls from unknown callers, use reverse phone lookup or phone number search services to identify who called.
How Can You Spot and Report Gaston County Phone Scams?
The methods and sophistication employed by phone scammers are continually changing. This is evident as more residents of Gaston County continue to fall victim to these phone scams. However, relevant authorities within the County have identified education as the best way to combat the activities of fraudsters. Residents can also deploy tools and services that support call blocking and suspicious phone number lookup to serve as filters to the calls they receive.
Here are some key indicators of scam calls:
- The caller will not provide relevant information for the recipients to independently verify their claims.
- The caller pressures the residents to make on-the-spot decisions on investment opportunities.
- The caller tries to get the recipient’s personal information by taking them through an identity verification process. They often use phrases like “kindly verify your personal information.”
- The caller offers amazing business or investment opportunities with great returns on investment.
- The caller provides payment instructions and details that legitimate businesses do not use, such as bitcoin, MoneyGram, or a cash app.
Gaston County residents can contact several government agencies if they fall victim to phone scams. Some of these agencies include:
The Office of the States Attorney General
114 W Edenton Street
Raleigh, North Carolina 27603
Monday - Friday 8am -5pm
FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center - It handles all internet and phone scam-related issues. Residents can report cases of phone and internet fraud online to the FBI. The Internet Crime Complaint Center is a partnership between the National White Collar Crime Center and the FBI.
The Gaston County Sheriff's Office - File complaints of phone scams and other criminal activities in person at:
Gaston County Sheriff’s Office
425 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way,
Gastonia, North Carolina 28052
Gastonia Police Department - The Gaston County Police departments investigate all issues relating to phone scams and other types of criminal activities in Gaston County. In-person reports can be filed at:
Gastonia Police Department
200 East Long Avenue
Gastonia, North Carolina 28053-1748
Call 704-866-3300 or 704-866-6702