What are Union County Area Codes?
Covering an area measuring 640 square miles, Union County was carved out from parts of neighboring Anson and Mecklenburg counties. It is located in south-central North Carolina and situated in the Charlotte metropolitan area. The 2010 census puts the population of Union County at about 201,000. Its county seat is the City of Monroe, also the only city in the county.
There are two area codes serving Union County. These are area codes 704 and 980. Area codes are prefixes to phone numbers issued in the United States under the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). An area code is assigned to an NPA (numbering plan area) and identified as the first three digits in a ten-digit North American phone number. It serves to identify where a phone number was registered and may indicate the origin of calls placed with that number. Area codes make routing calls in North American phone systems easier.
Area Code 704
Area code 704 is one of the original 86 area codes assigned in the United States at the introduction of the NANP. It covered the entire State of North Carolina but its coverage was reduced in 1954 when area code 919 was split from it. Cities and towns in Union County served by area code 704 include Monroe, Fairview, Mint Hill, Indian Trail, and Unionville.
Area Code 980
Area code 980 is an overlay code for NPA 704. It serves to expand the number of available phone numbers ready to be assigned to residents of the areas served by area code 704. This overlay area code was introduced on May 1, 2000. It serves the same communities as area code 704.
What are the Best Cell Phone Services in Union County?
As with the rest of North Carolina, most residents of Union County have replaced their landlines with wireless phone services. A 2018 CDC survey estimated that 57.3% of adults in the state rely solely on wireless phone services while only a paltry 4.5% of that demographic still used landlines only. Among minors in North Carolina, the divide was even wider. About 69% of residents under the age of 18 use wireless phones exclusively while 2.6% still depended only on landline for their communication needs.
AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile provide phone services in Union County and the rest of North Carolina. In addition to these major telecoms providers, there are also smaller MVNOs. Mobile Virtual Network Operators or MVNOs are regional carriers that purchase phone services in bulk from the major carriers and pass on some of the savings to phone users. Among the major carriers, AT&T and Verizon offer the widest coverage with wireless networks spanning 94% of the state. T-Mobile enjoys 84% coverage while Sprint’s network is only available in 58% of the state.
Traditional carriers are not the only ones providing phone service in Union County and North Carolina. There are also VoIP providers offering phone services to residents. Voice of Internet Protocol or VoIP relies on broadband internet access to deliver communication services. This technology sends voice and video calls over the internet and breaks these down to data packets sent over internet infrastructure. VoIP phone services are usually more affordable than landline and cell phone services while offering more features. They are also easier to deploy, cheaper for long-distance calls, and useful for teleconferencing needs.
What are Union County Phone Scams?
Union County phone scams are fraudulent activities conducted using phone services by fraudsters targeting residents of the county. These scammers use a wide range of phone services and tools including robocalls, spam calls, caller ID spoofing, and voice phishing. Such tools are responsible for the rising number of reported phone scams as they make it easier and more affordable for scammers to reach a lot more people.
However, there are other phone services and tools useful for combating phone scams. Reverse phone lookup services are useful for identifying strange callers and investigating unknown numbers. Call blocking services and apps are also effective for stopping spam calls. The National Do Not Call Registry can also help phone users spot illegitimate robocalls and potential scammers.
Some of the most common phone scams reported in North Carolina and Union County are lottery/sweepstakes scams, family emergency scams, credit card scams, Medicare/healthcare scams, IRS scams, and tech support scams.
What are Union County Lottery/Sweepstakes Scams?
These scams take different forms but in most cases, scammers contact unsuspecting residents with news that they have won international or California lotteries and sweepstakes. These residents may receive surprise checks from scammers and asked to deposit these in their checking accounts. The scammers claim that the checks are to cover taxes, insurance costs, and other fees. To expedite processing the winnings, the victims are asked to quickly wire the amounts on the checks back to the senders. If they do so, they would later discover that the checks were invalid when their banks try to clear them.
Another form of lottery scam commonly reported in North Carolina involves a stranger caller to volunteer enrolling you in international lotteries for a low weekly fee. In all cases of lottery/sweepstakes scams, victims lose large amounts of money before realizing they had been duped. One way to avoid scammers using these cons is to be wary of surprise winnings especially in lotteries you never entered in or heard of. Secondly, use reverse phone lookup free searches to investigate unknown numbers calling to announce that you won a lottery or sweepstake.
What are Union County Family Emergency Scams?
Family emergency scams usually target elderly residents. Scammers using these scams usually call grandparents and claim to be their distant grandkids asking for help to get themselves out of emergencies. Scammers claiming to be relatives of their targets often ask money to cover hospital bills, get out of jail, or leave a foreign country where they are stranded. These con artists usually ask for money by prepaid cards and wire transfers. Sometimes, they claim to send their friends to collect cash or checks from grandparents who cannot send money by other means.
Never send money to a relative you have not heard from for a while. Call their numbers to ascertain that they are really the ones asking for help even if they claimed they lost their phones. Alternative, call mutual acquaintances and other family members to corroborate their stories. Reverse phone number searches can also help discover scammers impersonating loved ones.
What are Union County Credit Card Scams?
In a credit card scam, a stranger calls and asks you to buy protection for your credit card. This supposedly protects it from identity theft and those who might steal your card to shop online. Scammers employing this con try to instill fear in their victims by claiming they will be liable for purchases made by those who steal their credit cards. It is important to know that federal law protects you from liability when your credit cards are stolen and misused.
Do not pay a third party for protection against liability from credit card fraud. Report contact from those pushing such protection on you to local law enforcement and your credit card company. If you keep receiving calls from a stranger pushing this offer, run their phone number through a reverse lookup service to identify who called.
What are Union County Medicare/Healthcare Scams?
These scams involve strangers claiming to be public health officials and Medicare agents peddling Medicare discount drug cards and health care vouchers. These persistent callers claim the cards and vouchers will help bring down the cost of getting much needed treatments and drugs. To get the discounts on offer, they ask for your bank account information and Social Security numbers. If you provide these, they will take money from your account without providing the promised discount cards and vouchers.
If you receive repeated calls from strangers pushing medical drug discounts and health care vouchers, report them to local law enforcement. You may also call the agencies the callers claim to represent to ascertain if the offers advertised are real. Use a reverse phone lookup service to identify these strange callers and their locations.
What are Union County IRS Scams?
IRS scammers are most common during the annual tax seasons. Scammers impersonate IRS agents and local law enforcement agents when calling their targets. They may threaten you with arrest and prosecution over the phone and claim you owe back taxes. These con artists demand paying the owed taxes by prepaid debit cards to avoid immediate arrests. Another form of IRS scam involves the impersonator being genial over the phone and claiming you qualify for tax refund. In this case, the scammer demands your bank account details and Social Security number to process the refund.
The IRS regularly educates everyone how it handles back taxes and refunds. It never initiates contact by phone but by mail and will not demand paying owed taxes by wire transfer, prepaid cards, or cryptocurrencies. While a scammer may use caller ID spoofing to contact you with a number that seems to belong to an IRS office, you may call official IRS numbers to corroborate claims made by strangers claiming to be from the IRS. Never send money or release confidential information to a caller claiming to represent the IRS.
What are Union County Tech Support Scams?
A tech support scam starts with a call supposedly from a major tech company such as Microsoft and Apple. The caller claims to represent these reputable companies and asks for remote access to the target’s computer to remove viruses and make it run faster. They charge for this bogus repair service. In more insidious cases of tech support scams, scammers install malware on their targets’ computers to steal confidential information such as financial records or passwords. They may also install ransomware to lock their victims out their computers and hold important files hostage.
Union County residents should know that tech companies do not contact users out of the blue by phone. They definitely do not undertake routine tasks such as removing viruses or making computers run faster. If you receive a call from someone claiming to offer tech support, use a phone number search to find who the number is registered to. Never grant remote access to your computer to strangers and change all your passwords if you have done so.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated calls delivering pre-recorded messages. They are usually placed by auto-dialers and require very little effort to contact a large number of people. Spam calls are repeated and unwanted calls placed in bulk to a large number of people. While robocalls usually use messages recorded and delivered in robotic voices, spam calls may deliver messages recorded by live persons.
Robocalls were introduced to help telemarketers and political campaigns reach wider audiences quickly. However, they are increasingly used by illegitimate telemarketers and scammers to trick and defraud unsuspecting targets. The rapid rise in the number of robocalls and spam calls delivered to American phone users is inspiring a wave of state and federal legislations to curb them.
Tools like call-blocking and reverse phone lookup services are also helping to fight robocalls and spam calls. Even then, scammers are evolving new tricks to reach unsuspecting phone users. Here are a few important tips to help Union County residents can avoid robocall scams:
- Hang up on calls as soon as you discover they are robocalls
- Do not follow prompts provided by robocallers to remove your number from their call lists. Such prompts only serve to confirm active phone numbers and never stop robocalls
- Refrain from picking calls from unknown numbers. Let these go to voicemail and then review the messages left behind to decide whether to call back
- Do not fully trust your phone’s caller ID to correctly identify callers
- Set up your phone to block calls from unknown or specific phone numbers. Carriers and third-party developers also provide call-blocking services and apps
- Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry to block calls from legitimate telemarketers. Calls received after a month of joining this registry are most likely illegal robocalls from dubious telemarketers and scammers
How to Spot and Report Union County Phone Scams
While there are many types of phone scams with variations of each type, they usually follow similar patterns and have the same aim to defraud victims and steal confidential information. Therefore, it is important to learn to identify as many phone scam red flags as possible. It also helps to be always vigilant and never assume that you are too smart to fall for a phone scam.
Union County residents trying to avoid phone scams should look out for the following tell-tale signs:
- Scammers often ask for payment via channels that facilitate quick, untraceable, and irreversible transfers. These include prepaid cards, gift cards, cryptocurrencies, and wire transfers
- Scammers tend to use threats and fear to obtain compliance from their targets
- Scammers impersonating law enforcement, bank officials, credit card companies, and government agencies often ask for information they should already have. If a strange calls asking you to confirm or provide a detail their organization should already know, they are likely impersonators and scammers
- Scammers give their victims very little time to make informed decisions. They often demand immediate responsible and prey on victims’ fear of missing out on investment opportunities, discounts, and free gifts and services
Whether successful or not, it is important to report a phone scam. Union County residents who are targets or victims of phone scams can help law enforcement find and prosecute offenders and help other residents learn how to avoid phone scams. These residents can report phone scams to the following local, state, and federal agencies:
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - The FTC is the federal watchdog responsible for protecting consumers from deceptive business practices and scammers. Submit your fraud complaints to the FTC online
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - Scams perpetrated using phone services can be reported to the FCC. These include those committing using illegal robocalls, spam calls and caller ID spoofing. Report these to the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center
- The North Carolina Department of Justice - Union County residents can also report robocalls to the state’s Attorney General’s Office. This Office also accepts complaints of health fraud and consumer scams. Residents can also submit complaints to the Attorney General’s Office by calling this toll-free hotline: 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or (919) 716-6000
- The Union County Sheriff’s Office - The local law enforcement in the county also accepts reports of scams. Call its main office at (704) 283-3789 to report a phone scam