What are Alachua County Area Codes?
Area codes are a set of three-digit numbers that begin North American telephone numbers. An area code identifies a specific geographical origin or destination of a phone call. The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) uses numeric codes to differentiate its territories into Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs). These NPAs are referred to as area codes, and NANPA provides area code lookups online.
Currently, two area codes cover Alachua County. These are:
Area Code 352
Area code 352 covers all but the extreme northern parts of Alachua County. It was split from the 904 NPA in 1994. Cities and towns in Alachua County within the area code 352 include Alachua, Archer, Earleton, Gainesville, Hawthorne, High Springs, Micanopy, Newberry, and Waldo.
Area Code 386
Area code 386 is a Florida telephone area code. It was split from the 904 NPA in 2001. Communities in Alachua County under area code 386 include Melrose, Santa Fe, and La Crosse.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Alachua County?
The best cell phone plans in Alachua County are those offered by the four major phone carriers (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile). Several Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) also provide network services but operate on the infrastructures of the major network carriers. With a coverage of 96%, T-Mobile offers the best coverage in Alachua County. This is followed by Verizon with a spread of 80%, while AT&T covers 76% of the county. Sprint provides the least coverage at about 71%.
According to the National Centre for Health Statistics survey in 2018, 60.9% of adults in Florida used cell phones only for telephony services. Only 4% of them relied solely on landlines. The majority of children under 18 years (72.9%) lived in wireless-only homes, while those that still used landline-only made up an insignificant 1.7%. These statistics reveal that wireless telephony services have taken over telecommunications in Florida.
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a means of telephony that allows users to initiate phone calls using broadband internet connections rather than regular telephone lines. VoIP has gained widespread popularity in Alachua County because it is more affordable. Also, VoIP users can place calls anywhere, at any time, provided there are internet connections.
What are Alachua County Phone Scams?
Alachua County phone scams use telephone services to obtain money and confidential information from county residents in an unlawful way. The Alachua County Sheriff”s Office warns residents to be wary of various phone scams circulating throughout the county. Common phone scams in Alachua county include:
What are Impersonation Scams?
In these scams, fraudsters call Alachua County residents and claim to be with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office or other government agencies. They try to obtain personal information from unsuspecting targets. The scammers may claim their marks owe taxes or have warrants out for their arrests. They often request immediate payments from their targets and threaten them with arrest if they fail to pay. These scammers may use fake caller identification when calling through a technology known as phone spoofing. Residents can, however, identify spoofed phone calls and avoid this scam using good reverse phone number lookup applications.
What are Investment and Business Scams?
In these scams, fraudsters offer Alachua County residents overly attractive investment opportunities with enormous returns on investments at little or no risk. Alternatively, they may offer to help their targets through starting up choice businesses. Typically, businesses that pressure investors into making funds available immediately are likely scams. The scammers often try to evade questions about business agreement documentation. County residents who get such offers should verify them by looking up as much information as possible online before investing their money. Any money invested in scam schemes is usually hard to recover as the fraudsters usually receive payment via odd channels. Phone number lookup services can help verify if such calls are from legitimate businesses.
What are Charity Scams?
Scammers claim to be representatives of legitimate charities and request donations from unsuspecting Alachua County residents. Charity scams are usually rampant after natural disasters. The scammers try to take advantage of kind-hearted people who are always eager to help. Alachua County residents should be cautious when charities with names similar to those of reputable organizations contact them. If you are contacted by such callers, make sure to research the charities before parting with money to avoid being ripped off. Phone number search applications can reveal the identities of such callers. A charity that requests donations by gift cards, money wiring, or cash is most likely a scam. Credit cards and checks are safer ways to donate to charity organizations.
What are Credit Repair and Debt Relief Scams?
These scams are often targeted at Alachua County residents with poor credit ratings. Fraudsters offer debt relief or promise to reduce credit card interest rates for a fee. They promise to improve their marks’ credit scores by replacing their poor credit reports with favorable ones. Sometimes, these con artists promise to help reduce car loans or lease payments to avoid repossession. They deceive their victims into paying exorbitant amounts of money up-front to allegedly settle their debts. County residents should be wary of debt relief companies that ask them not to disclose their offers to creditors. Such entities are potential scammers. Do not divulge your financial information to them to avoid financial theft. Residents who fall victim to these scams lose more money and are plunged into more debts, thereby ruining their credit report.
What are Loan Scams?
In these scams, people are guaranteed credit cards or loans for a fee that must be paid upfront. Alachua County residents with poor credit histories are often targeted in loan scams. Unlike legitimate lenders, these scammers do not emphasize their targets’ credit histories, which of course, is a red flag. Alachua County residents should know that legally, businesses in the U.S. that operate via phone are prohibited from asking to be paid before delivering on their promises. Also, genuine lenders will never pressure their clients for immediate action, such as making quick payments or providing personal or bank information that can easily be used for identity theft.
What are Lottery and Prize Scams?
Lottery scammers typically inform targeted Alachua County residents that they won prizes in competitions they never entered. They often ask that their marks pay some fees to claim such winnings. These scammers pretend to be with legitimate lottery organizations to dupe their targets. Victims usually realize after making payments that there are no prizes. In some other cases, the prizes given are worthless or below expectation. County residents should be aware that unless they bought legitimate lottery tickets, there would be no prizes. Also, legal lotteries do not ask winners to pay fees in advance to claim their prizes. Phone number lookup services can help you identify lottery scam calls and avoid falling prey.
What are Travel Scams?
Travel scams promise free or cheap vacations that eventually cost more than what genuine travel agencies offer. County residents are fooled into paying money to join fake travel clubs to access overly discounted vacation packages. Fraudsters may also inform targets that they were selected for free vacations but must pay some fees to claim such winnings. They will also ask that they share some personal information. Such details, if sent, can be used for identity theft. The scammers will pressure their victims to pay quickly due to limited choice of travel dates or destinations. Often, victims discover that there are no vacations after making payments. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides residents with further information on travel scams on its website.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are phone calls placed by automatic dialers that relay pre-recorded messages to mass phone numbers. Often associated with telemarketing sales and political campaigns, robocalls are sometimes used by government agencies for public service announcements.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), some robocalls do not require written permission from phone users. These include calls about flight cancellations, prescription refill reminders from healthcare providers, debt collection calls from credit companies, political calls, and messages from charities. These calls do not attempt to sell products or services to the call recipients.
Spam calls are unwanted phone calls. They are usually unsolicited and mostly distributed in bulk. Spam calls may be telemarketing calls to which a phone user did not subscribe. Robocalls are spam calls and are illegal if a company directs them at phone users who have not given their written permission for such calls. They are often used to perpetrate phone scams in Alachua County. Scammers spoof robocalls and make them seem like they are from legitimate businesses or government agencies. The best options to avoid robocall scams include:
- Hang up once you realize an incoming call is a robocall. Avoid pressing any number in response to prompts by the recording as it may lead to more robocalls.
- File reports of identified robocall numbers with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online.
- Register your phone number on the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry and Florida Do Not Call List to reduce robocall inundation.
- Block unwanted calls by downloading and using a call-blocking application.
- Conduct free phone number lookups by name on suspicious incoming calls to answer the question ”who is this number registered to?”.
How Can You Spot and Report Alachua County Phone Scams?
In Alachua County, phone scams have become increasingly rampant, with the scammers regularly developing newer ways to defraud unsuspecting residents. Residents must always be alert when answering phone calls from unknown phone numbers. You can spot Alachua County phone scams by being extra cautious when a caller attempts to obtain credit card information or personal information over the phone. Some scammers pretend to be helpful and friendly, while others often threaten their marks to obtain compliance. Common signs that a caller is a phone scammer are:
- Callers trying to persuade you into making quick decisions over the phone. County residents should never feel pressured into making impromptu decisions. Legitimate businesses will often give you some time to think about their offers.
- Unknown persons asking you to pay money via odd channels such as wire transfer, money transfer app, or prepaid cards are most likely scammers.
- Persons claiming to be with law enforcement, threatening you with arrest or deportation if you do not pay certain fees or taxes immediately are fraudsters. Such persons may also request information such as social security numbers or bank account details. Employees of law enforcement or other government agencies would never call and threaten people or ask for confidential information over the phone.
- Calls from companies trying to pitch sales when you did not give written permission for such phone calls are potential scams. Also, live sales calls from unknown companies after your phone number has been enrolled on the DNC list are possibly scam phone calls.
If an Alachua County resident believes that they have been a phone scam victim, they can file a report of such a scam with any of the following public agencies:
- Alachua County Sheriff's Office: The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office is the primary law enforcement body in the county. Residents can file phone scam complaints with the agency by calling (352) 955-1818.
- State of Florida Attorney General’s Office: Victims of phone scams can report to the Florida Attorney General’s Office by completing an online complaint form. They may also call the Attorney General Office fraud hotline at (866) 966-7226.
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC): The FCC is the federal body that regulates local and international telecommunications in the United States. It protects residents from phone scams and illegal robocalls. Alachua County residents can report any such scams to the FCC by filing complaints online.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC): The FTC protects consumers from phone scams. Alachua County residents who have lost money to fraudsters can file reports online. The FTC encourages residents to register their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce the frequency of unwanted robocalls. Residents should report unwanted calls that come in after their phone numbers have been on the National Registry for more than 31 days.