Area codes are part of the telephone numbering plan used to assign telephone numbers to subscriber telephones. They are three-digit prefixes assigned before the usual seven-digit telephone numbers which indicate the geographical area associated with telephone numbers. An area code is useful in identifying the origin and destination of a phone call. For quick information about a specific area code, use area code lookup tools online.
Currently, only one area code serves Citrus County – Area code 352.
Area Code 352
Area code 352 was created from area code 904 and was first used on December 3, 1995. It is the only area code serving Gainesville, Spring Hill, Clermont, Howey In The Hills, and Ocala. Area code 352 has telephone numbers assigned for the central office code 988. Central office code 988 has been designated nationwide as a dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This creates a conflict for exchanges that permit seven-digit dialing. Area code 352 is scheduled to transition to ten-digit dialing in October 2021.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Citrus County?
Not many Citrus County residents remain sole users of landline telephony service which makes it much easier to find cell phone plans with wireless service providers offering multiple plans with varying features. According to a 2018 survey conducted by the National Centre for Health Statistics, 60.9% of Florida residents aged 18 and above, used wireless telephony service exclusively while only 4.0% used landline-only telephony service. The estimates also reveal that among Florida residents below the age of 18, 72.9% used wireless telephony service exclusively while only 1.7% used landline-only telephony service.
Before choosing which cell phone plan to sign up for, you should identify the mobile phone company with the strongest reception and coverage in your local area. Fortunately, all four major Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have decent coverage in Citrus County. In the county seat of Inverness, Verizon has the best overall coverage at 98%. T-Mobile's coverage is nearly as good at 94%. AT&T's coverage is rated 68%, while Sprint's coverage is rated 55%.
If you prefer cell phone plans from carriers other than the major MNOs, you can also purchase plans from the Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) operating in the county. These smaller carriers run on the infrastructure of the MNOs and typically offer niche-based plans. While their plans may change frequently, they usually represent significant savings on phone bills.
Many Citrus County residents and business owners looking for a way to meet all of the calling needs in a simple and affordable way are choosing VoIP as the preferred option. VoIP phone services use an existing broadband Internet connection to make and receive calls. Residents can start making VoIP calls to cut down on phone bills by installing a VoIP application on their mobile phones. Using specialized adapters, landline owners in Citrus County can also make VoIP calls on their wired devices. Calls between persons using the same VoIP applications are free, with users only charged for data usage. However, you can also make calls to regular phone numbers by signing up on a VoIP plan from any of the providers offering residential and business VoIP services in Citrus County.
What are Citrus County Phone Scams?
Citrus County phone scams are deceptive acts of criminals committed perpetrated through phone calls to steal sensitive personal information or defraud unsuspecting Citrus County residents. Phone scams may come through phone calls from actual persons, text messages, or robocalls. Callers make false claims and promises such as opportunities to receive free product trials, invest money, or buy products. They may also offer targets money through lotteries and free grants. Where juicy offers are not dangled as baits, con artists may also use threats of lawsuits and arrest to get targets to cooperate
Common phone scams in Citrus County include healthcare scams, social security scams, law enforcement scams, and inheritance scams. Citrus County residents may use free reverse phone lookup tools to ascertain the true origins of suspicious phone numbers.
What are Citrus County Healthcare Scams?
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare scams have been on the rise in Citrus County in recent times. Scammers are hoping to obtain Medicaid and Medicare cards or information from residents to perpetrate frauds. A fraudster can use another person's medical information to get health care goods, services, or funds.
In Citrus County, callers are posing as employees of the Florida Department of Health in the county to steal personal information. These persons claim to conduct account verification processes and demand for Social Security numbers, Medicaid numbers, and Medicare numbers. Note that the Florida Department of Health does not make unsolicited calls asking for identifying information. Such calls are only made by persons looking to defraud residents. Phone lookup applications can help uncover the true identities of healthcare scammers.
What are Citrus County Social Security Scams?
In the social security scam, the caller pretends to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and claims that your Social Security number has been compromised or that your account has been flagged for suspicious activities. These scammers play on emotion, generally fear, to get people to act without thinking. They may even use real Social Security and other government officials' names and show fabricated government IDs or badge numbers.
These scammers promise to help fix the problem with targets' accounts if they provide their Social Security numbers or bank account information. You may also be asked to make wire transfers, purchase prepaid cards, or send gift cards as payment for the service of fixing a problem that did not really exist. Note that the SSA will not call you about a problem with your Social Security number or email or text photos purporting to be official identification. You can use free reverse phone number lookup tools online to find out who called and who a number is registered to.
What are Citrus County Law Enforcement Impersonation Scams?
The law enforcement impersonation scam remains a popular phone scam in Citrus County. You may be contacted by someone claiming to be an employee of the Citrus County Sheriff's Office, the FBI, or one of the local police departments in the county. The caller claims that there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest which must be avoided if you pay up immediately. You may be asked to purchase a prepaid Green Dot card and load it with a specific amount of money. Once the card has been purchased, the victim is instructed to give the card information to the scammer over the phone. The money is then deposited into untraceable bank accounts.
Some residents who have been victims of the law enforcement impersonation scam have also reported receiving calls from impersonators asking for donations for their local police departments and "fallen officer funds." Reverse phone number lookup applications can prevent residents from falling victim to law enforcement impersonation scams.
What are Citrus County Inheritance Scams?
The inheritance scam is a variant of the advance fee fraud which exposes victims to identity thefts. Scammers contact targets circulating stories of fictional persons often with the same last names as the victims, who have died without heirs in remote parts of the world. Where recipients reply to the solicitations, the scammers inform the targets to send money in advance to pay for legal fees, bribes, processing fees, or other expenses in exchange for large inheritances. These scammers may also attempt to obtain copies of the targets' personal information, identification cards, financial account information, and other information which can be used to forge bank drafts, empty victims' bank accounts, or commit other acts of identity theft. 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?
Robocalls are automated calls placed to phone users using automatic dialing announcing devices (ADADs) delivering pre recorded messages. Robocalls are effective tools in the dissemination of public-service announcements such as weather forecasts and flight delay announcements. Telemarketers also use robocalls to pitch their products and services to existing and potential customers.
However, con artists and fraudulent persons have twisted the use of robocalls by contacting phone users without having obtained the express permission of call recipients. This is a violation of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991. In 2020 alone, over 3.7 billion robocalls were placed to Florida residents. Between January and April 2021, these residents received more than 1.5 billion robocalls.
The explosion in the use of robocall has been fueled by technological advances. Access to internet-enabled phone systems enables fraudsters to pump out untraceable calls by the thousands at really low costs. These are spam calls and are very often used to extort money from residents. You can protect yourself against these spam calls by using reverse phone number lookup tools to identify incoming robocalls.
Citrus County residents can also take the following steps to limit the intrusion of robocalls:
- Do not answer. If you are unfamiliar with a phone number, do not hesitate to let the call go directly to voicemail.
- Hang up. Do not press any numbers. Scammers usually ask you to press a number to speak with a live operator. Pressing the number indicates to the scammer that the line is active, which in turn means that more robocalls can be made to the phone line. If you press the button to speak to a live operator, the operator who doubles as the scammer will eventually ask for money or say they will remove you from their list, which ends up being untrue.
- Report robocalls online to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or call the FTC on 1 (888) 382-1222. The more complaints are filed, the more the FTC can help stop robocalls and share the information in the public space and with law enforcement agencies.
- Subscribe to the FTC's Consumer alerts.
- Contact your phone service provider if it has call-blocking tools that you can use to block unwanted calls on your phone.
- Install a third-party call-blocking app, such as Mr. Number, Hiya, Nomorobo, and Truecaller
- Register your number in the National Do Not Call Registry.
How to Spot and Report Citrus County Phone Scams?
Con artists are cunning in their phone-scam tactics and it is not always easy or obvious to tell straight away whether it is a scam. Phone scams can have devastating effects on the savings of victims. You can stay alert and ward off scam attacks by performing free phone number lookups for incoming calls. These tools also allow users to perform phone number lookup by address or name. You can also stay one step ahead of phone scammers by looking out for these red flags:
- The caller leaves an urgent message and instructs you to return the call right away: Scammers often leave callback numbers in the voicemail for targets to contact them. Do not contact unknown callers through callback numbers left in your voicemail. If the caller has an important message to deliver, it should be left in the voicemail.
- The caller insists you can only pay in a certain way: Receiving payment through wire transfers, gift cards, cryptocurrencies, and prepaid cards are the preferred methods for scammers. These methods make refunds nearly impossible and the identities of the receivers hard to trace.
- The caller asks for your password, PIN, or other sensitive information: A reputable organization will never ask for your private information either over the phone or by text message. If you need to reset your password or verify your account, you will be sent a private link to a secure page on the official website to do it safely. Do not give your sensitive information to unknown callers.
- The caller threatens or frightens you: To spur targets into action, scammers often include threats in their calls. For instance, they may say that you could get arrested or have your driver's license revoked if you do not pay a certain fee within a short period of time.
- The caller evades your questions: If you ask to speak to a superior officer or demand proof for information provided, a scammer may either change the subject or make you feel at fault for asking for more details.
You can file complaints with any of the following public bodies if you have been contacted by a scammer:
- The Citrus 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 Citrus County Sheriff’s Office at (352) 249-2790. In the county seat of Inverness, contact the Inverness Police Department at (352) 726-2121.
- 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 United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TITGA): If you have been contacted by an IRS scammer, contact the TITGA by calling the office at (800) 366-4484.