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What are Bay County Area Codes?

Area codes are three-digit codes that identify a specific geographic area within the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). NANP is the telephone numbering system within which telephony communications are managed in the United States, Canada, and some Caribbean countries by the NANP Administrator (NANPA). The NANP is divided into smaller Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs) which are each identified by a three-digit code. You can find the area code of any geographical area in the United States by using an area code lookup tool online.

Currently, only one area code serves Bay County - Area code 850.

Area Code 850

Area code 850 was created from area code 904 and was first used on June 23, 1997. It is located in the Florida panhandle in eastern Florida and is the only area code serving Tallahassee, Pensacola, and Panama Cities. Other locations served by this area code include Navarre, Ferry Pass, Bellview, Wright, and Brent.

What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Bay County?

The cell phone plans available in Bay County have increased to match the growing rate of wireless adoption in the area. According to a 2018 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, 60.9% of Florida residents aged 18 and above used wireless-only telephony service while only 4.0% used landline-only telephony service. The estimates reveal that among Florida residents under the age of 18, 72.9% used wireless telephony service exclusively while only 1.7% used wired telephony exclusively.

When searching for the best cell phone plan for your needs, you should ensure to cover the basics: talk, text, and data, which vary according to each carrier. Different wireless services offer varying plans which can be classified under three broad categories - Individual, family, and no-contract. You should consider the network strength and coverage in your local area before signing up for any cell phone plan. Luckily, all four major Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) offer good coverage in Bay County.

In the county seat of Panama City, Verizon has the best overall coverage with a rated score of 96%. T-Mobile has a coverage score of 84%, AT&T has a coverage score of 80%, while Sprint's coverage is rated 50%.

Bay County residents can also purchase cell phone plans from smaller carriers available, which are called MVNOs. Mobile Virtual Network Operators usually operate on at least one of the larger carrier's networks. MVNOs resell purchased data and minutes to consumers at retail prices. Plans from the MVNOs are sometimes cheaper than the options available from the MNOs.

VoIP phone services have also become more popular among Bay County residents due to affordable pricing. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It is a technology that transforms voice into a digital signal and transmits telephone calls over the internet. By choosing a VoIP Service in Bay County, residents can use the service in any location that has a high-speed internet connection. VoIP phone plans can help subscribers cut down costs on phone bills.

What are Bay County Phone Scams?

Bay County phone scams are fraudulent activities of crooked persons perpetrated using phone calls to fleece county residents or obtain sensitive personal information from them. For most phone scams to be successful, the perpetrators need the targets to answer the calls or respond to text messages. To make this possible many con artists use caller ID spoofing to trick residents.

Caller ID spoofing is the practice of causing the service providers to indicate to the call recipients that calls are originating from sources other than the true sources. Many phone scammers make call recipients believe that calls are coming from their local areas by displaying the local area codes of the recipients' locations. Phone lookup applications can help unmask the real identities of phone scammers.

What are Bay County IRS Scams?

The IRS scam involves persons impersonating the Internal Revenue Service officers. The perpetrators pose as employees of the IRS and demand payment from Bay County residents for taxes owed to the IRS. Sometimes, the scammers can recite some digits of the targets' Social Security numbers as well as their surnames and workplaces. These fraudsters also use caller ID spoofing to mimic the caller ID information of the IRS. These are all part of the plan to make targets believe that the calls are actually coming from the IRS. An IRS fraudster may even play background noise so that the call looks like it is originating from a call site.

Typically, IRS scammers use scare and pressure tactics to make targets follow their instructions. They threaten them with arrests, fines, deportation, and license revocation. Payments for purported taxes are required to be paid usually by gift cards, prepaid debit cards, or wire transfers. To confirm your tax status, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there is really an issue. Phone lookup applications can help uncover the true identities of scam callers.

What are Bay County Arrest Warrant Scams?

Arrest warrant scams are popular in Bay County. The callers typically claim to work with a local police department or more commonly the Bay County Sheriff's Office (BCSO). If an intended victim does not answer the call, the scammer leaves a message and uses the name of an actual employee of the local police department or the BCSO. During the conversations, scammers try to convince targets that they have warrants out for their arrests, but they can avoid arrests by paying fines through the purchase of green dot cards. Note that the BCSO does not contact residents by phone to inform them they have warrants or that they can pay fines by purchasing gift cards or green dot cards at local discount stores. To limit the chance of falling prey to scams, you can use a reverse cell phone lookup tool to verify if a caller’s identity matches the name given.

What are Bay County Utility Scams?

In a utility scam, the caller pretends to work with a utility company such as electric power, gas, and water company. The caller says that you are overdue on your utility bill and must pay up immediately or have the service disconnected. In a recent version of the scam, callers pretending to represent Gulf Power are contacting Bay County residents with promises of 30% discounts in future Gulf Power bills for the intended victims, if they only pay certain fees upfront. Typically, victims are provided telephone lines to call back to initiate the "discount" process. Once you call back, the person at the end of the call demands an upfront fee to be paid by purchasing gift cards, prepaid cards, or wire transfers. Reverse phone number lookup applications can prevent residents from falling victim to phone scams.

What are Bay County Social Security Scams?

The social security scam involves claims from unsolicited callers informing targets that their Social Security numbers have been compromised and used by other persons. Targets are then required to pay to have identity theft issues resolved. The scammers may ask targets to confirm their Social Security numbers so that they can reactivate their suspended accounts or issue them new ones. Note that the Social Security Administration does not block or suspend Social Security numbers, ever.

Social security scams are sometimes executed using robocalls. The recordings provide callback numbers for targets to call to remedy purported problems with their accounts. In other variations, the callers say that their targets' bank accounts are at risk due to illicit activities and offer to help them keep it safe. To verify that callers are who they say they are, you can use good reverse phone lookup tools online to quickly do a number lookup or reverse number lookup.

What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?

If you answer the phone and hear a prerecorded message or robot instead of a live person, it is a robocall. Robocalls use auto-dialers to contact people with pre recorded messages. You may have received robocalls from campaigners running for offices or charities asking for donations. Robocalls from these sources are permitted. However, if the recording is a sales pitch and you have not given your express permission to receive calls from the company placing the robocall, the call is illegal.

Advances in technology have made it cheap and easy for con artists to make thousands of calls every minute and to spoof caller ID information, hiding their true locations and identities. The United States is combating the scourge of spam calls and robocalls used in defrauding citizens by implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) among other laws. Under the TCPA, obtaining the express permissions of call recipients by telemarketers is required before placing calls to them.

Robocalls are often associated with scams aimed at collecting personal information, such as credit card numbers and social security numbers. A reverse phone number lookup application can identify if an incoming call is a robocall and help you avoid scams. Other steps you can take to avoid robocall scams and limit robocall intrusions include:

  • Hang up on robocalls. If you answer a call and hear a pre-recorded message, hang up immediately. Do not press any number to speak with live agents.
  • Do not trust the information on your caller ID display. With spoofing technology, calls with true origins outside of Lancaster County and Nebraska can appear with local area codes.
  • Do not provide or confirm personal or financial information to anyone over the phone.
  • Request your phone provider to block numbers associated with robocalls.
  • Download and install a third-party call-blocking application on your mobile phone such as Nomorobo, Truecaller, Hiya, and YouMail.
  • Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry maintained by the FTC. Registration is free and can be done by calling (888) 382-1222 from the number you intend to register or online. Registering your phone number exempts you from receiving illegal telemarketing calls. If you get a robocall after 31 days of registration, it is probably from a scammer.

How to Spot and Report Bay County Phone Scams?

Fraudsters are cunning in the tactics used to perpetrate phone scams. It is not always obvious straight away whether a caller is a scammer. However, there are common tricks associated with scams. You can reduce the odds of falling victim to phone scams by using reverse phone lookup number lookup services to identify potential phone scams. You can also take note of the following scam telltale signs when you receive unsolicited calls:

  • The caller pressures you into making an immediate decision: It is unlikely for a legitimate business or public body to insist on an immediate response to a request. You will be allowed to verify anything you have been told or offered. An unsolicited caller insisting on a response on the spot is likely to have ulterior motives.
  • The caller asks you to make payment through unofficial or atypical means: If a caller insists you can only make payments through prepaid debit cards, cryptocurrencies, and wire transfers, the call is likely to be originating from a scammer.
  • The call threatens you with arrest or license revocation: This is a common trick used by fraudsters to get you to do their bidding. They threaten to fine, arrest, sue, imprison, deport, or revoke your business or driver's license to scare you into transferring funds into their accounts.
  • The caller asks you to make a "small" payment to access your winnings: A common trick in sweepstakes/lottery and other related scams. The caller says the target has been selected as a winner in a contest or lottery. However, tax, shipping, or processing fee must be paid to have the prize shipped out.
  • The caller asks for sensitive personal information: It is never a good idea to release personal information over phone calls. Any caller demanding information such as Social Security number, PINs, passwords, credit card information, and date of birth over a phone call is likely to have sinister motives.
  • The caller ID is hidden: A caller with pure intentions does not have a reason to hide caller ID information. Do not answer calls from hidden numbers. If you do, do not believe what you are told. Hiding caller identification is a common trick used by scammers who do not want to be traced.

You can file complaints in Bay County with any of the following public bodies if you have been contacted by a scammer:

  • The Bay County Sheriff’s Office and local police departments: If you have received a call from a scammer, you can contact your local police department or the Bay County Sheriff's Office at (850) 747-4700. In the county seat of Panama City, you can contact the Panama City Police Department at (850) 872-3100.
  • The Florida Attorney General's Office: If you think you have been the victim of a scam, call the Florida Attorney General Office consumer toll-free at (866) 966-7226. You can also file a consumer complaint online.
  • The Federal Trade Commission: Through the FTC's National Do Not Call Registry, phone users can reduce unwanted calls by adding their numbers to the list. If you receive unsolicited calls 31 days after adding your number to the registry, they are most likely scam calls.
  • The Federal Communications Commission: The FCC allows you to file a complaint with the Commission online if you believe you have received an illegal call, or if you think you are the victim of a phone scam.
  • Social Security Administration: If you receive a scam call or you suspect you have been a victim of a scam from the Social Security Administration, report such calls by calling the Office of the Inspector General at (800) 269-0271 or make a report online.
  • The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA): Report IRS imposters to the TIGTA. To report by phone, call TIGTA at (800) 366-4484