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What are Leon County Area Codes?

Area codes help identify the origins of long-distance calls and are represented by the first three-digit codes in North American phone numbers. The increasing number of phone users continues to pave the way for the creation of additional area codes. Leon County area code identifies a specific Numbering Plan Area (NPA) within Florida as designated by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). All Florida area codes are managed and implemented by the Florida Public Service Commission (PUC)?. Only one area code currently serves Leon County.

Area Code 850

Split from the 904 NPA in 1997, area code 850 covers Leon County and several other counties in Florida. It serves all of Tallahassee in Leon County.

What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Leon County?

All four major carriers, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T, provide network coverage in Leon County. Several Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) also offer residents affordable network services. In the City of Tallahassee, T-Mobile offers the best coverage at 92%, followed by Sprint at 78%. Verizon comes third, covering 72% of Tallahassee, while AT&T has the least signal spread at 66%.

Data from a survey conducted in 2018 by the CDC revealed that wireless telephony services adoption in Florida far exceeds landline usage. The report showed that 72.9% of the children under 18 years and 60.9% of the adult population used cell phones solely. In contrast, only 1.7% of the children population in the state and 4% of adults lived in landline-only homes. This is a clear indication that landline phones are gradually being abandoned in Leon County.

Reliable broadband internet access provides a telephony service option for Leon County residents via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP routes phone calls through the internet. Residents are continually embracing it as a more affordable and flexible alternative to landline and cell phone services.

What are Leon County Phone Scams?

Leon County phone scams are fraudulent acts by scammers that use telephone services to con unsuspecting county residents into illegally disclosing confidential information and parting with money. Reverse phone number lookup services are proven means of avoiding most phone scams because they can retrieve identifying information on fraudsters. Scammers often succeed by manipulating Caller IDs to display phone numbers of reputable businesses or government agencies when contacting their marks. This is known as phone spoofing. Although scammers favor phone spoofing, it is possible to identify spoofed calls using free reverse phone lookup tools. Through its Consumer Alert Program, the Florida Office of the Attorney General (OAG) educates residents about the latest scams.

Commonly perpetrated phone scams in Leon County include:

What are Law Enforcement Impersonation Scams?

The Leon County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) warns residents about phone scammers using the agency's official phone numbers to trick them into answering their phones and extorting them. The callers usually use badge numbers and names of real sheriff deputies, concoct stories and use scare tactics to get targets to do their biddings. They may say their marks failed to appear for jury duty, and as such, must pay associated fines for that failure. In other instances, the scammers may claim that there are past outstanding fees related to their targets' vehicle registrations that must be cleared immediately. Another popular script is asking unsuspecting residents to send money to clear up outstanding warrants. In all these, scammers aim to either coerce their targets into sending money or sharing personal information with which they can commit identity or financial theft. They often request payment via mediums that are hard to track. Such include wire transfers, gift cards, and green dot cards. These scammers often threaten marks who are perceived as hesitant with immediate arrest, jail, or other extreme actions.

Conducting reverse phone lookups on these callers' phone numbers can reveal their identities. Doing that will prevent residents from falling victim to impersonation scams. The LCSO cautions residents from responding to calls or text messages requesting money or personal information by unknown persons claiming to be with the agency. No legitimate officer of the LCSO will threaten residents or solicit money and information over the phone

What are COVID-19 Test Result Scams?

Scammers are pretending to be with the Florida Department of Health (DOH) in Leon County, often spoofing their official numbers to trick residents into disclosing their personal and financial information. The DOH warns residents to be wary of such callers. Phone number search applications can retrieve identifying information on these scammers. As Leon County intensifies the effort to increase access to COVID-19 testing, phone scammers are also taking advantage of the situation to extort naive residents. The COVID-19 test result scams are typically targeted at residents who have been tested for coronavirus and awaiting their results. When they call, the scammers will inform targets that their test results are being prepared but need specific medical information and social security numbers to complete the process. They often claim to be behind schedule and pressure their targets into sharing this information immediately. Sometimes, they may communicate this to their marks by text messages containing links through which the scammers hope to harvest such information. These are ploys to obtain confidential information for financial and identity theft.

Leon County residents must know that the DOH will not call anyone to solicit medical information or social security numbers over the phone or through text messages. Be careful if you are being pressured by an unknown person to disclose your confidential information. If you get this type of phone solicitation, hang up immediately and call the DOH in Leon County on (850) 404-6300 to verify the caller's request.

What are Tech Support Scams?

Beware of someone who calls you out of the blue claiming to be with your computer company and asking to gain access to your computer. You might be a target of a tech support scam. A free reverse phone lookup service can retrieve identifying information on such a caller and prevent you from falling prey to this scam. In another instance, a screen pops up on your computer, purportedly from your computer company, and instructs you to call a phone number to fix an error. Typically, tech support scammers aim to obtain information from their targets' PCs fraudulently or cheat them out of their money by carrying out phony repairs. When they call, these scammers inform their targets that they were conducting routine checks and discovered their marks' computers have viruses or errors. They will insist that it must be fixed immediately to prevent file loss on such computers. To do this, the scammers will request remote access to their targets' computers.

Once they gain access to their targets' PCs, these scammers will search the computers for personal and financial information. They will add malware that will infect these computers so their targets can contact them later to fix it, and of course, at a fee. They may also install spyware to glean information from such PCs in the future. Usually, the scammers will insist on getting paid by wire transfers or gift cards for their phony repairs and may not release control on such PCs until they confirm payment. The Leon County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) cautions residents on granting unknown persons who call out of nowhere access to their computers. If you get this type of call, hang up immediately and contact your computer company for verifications. If you grant access to such a caller and suddenly realize it is a fraud, switch off your computer by manually pressing the off button.

What are Emergency Scams?

In Leon County, emergency scams are usually targeted at elderly residents, the exact reason they are sometimes called grandparent scams. In these scams, the targets receive phone calls from persons they believe to be their grandchildren who sound distressed and seem to need help. The callers will pose as their marks' distant relatives or grandchildren and claim to be involved in some type of problem overseas and need money to sort themselves out. They may claim to be involved in car accidents and need money for repairs or say they were arrested and must post bail before their cases escalate. These scammers usually appeal to their targets to not mention their predicament to their parents or other relatives to avoid embarrassment. Their preferred methods of taking payments are wire transfers and gift cards. Tracing money or reversing transactions on these channels is often challenging.

In another version of emergency scams, a caller pretends to be a grandchild in jail, while an accomplice will pose as a law enforcement officer trying to help the target's grandchild bond out of jail. The accomplice will assure the targeted grandparent of releasing their grandchild once they get paid. Most of these scammers gather their targets' information from the internet, especially on their social media accounts. However, some randomly call phone numbers in an attempt to reach elderly residents who will hastily mention their grandchildren's names, helping the scammers achieve their aims. Be suspicious of any grandchild or relative who claims to be overseas and solicit urgent financial assistance. Do not panic or wire money if you receive this type of call. Hang up your phone and call the relative who claims to be in trouble on the phone number through which you often reach them. You can also verify the caller's identity and location by conducting a reverse phone lookup on their phone number.

What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?

Robocalls are a type of spam call. Spam calls are irrelevant calls placed to a vast number of recipients who have not shown interest in getting such calls. Robocalls are automated phone calls that deliver recorded information to mass phone numbers at the same time. They are usually inundating, annoying, and intrusive. Although primarily intended for legitimate purposes, robocalls now play a lead role in phone scams. Fraudsters use robocalls to remain anonymous and steal targets' money and confidential information. However, reverse number lookup applications can uncover their identities. Robocall is a menace in Leon County as residents get multiple of them daily. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides guides on how to stop unwanted robocalls. To reduce the inundation of robocalls and avoid robocall scams, your best options are:

  • End a call immediately you discover it is a robocall. If you continue to listen to the automated message, it will instruct you to press numbers that may probably get you scammed or lead to more spam calls.
  • Add your phone number to the DNC Registry developed by the FTC. Telemarketers' calls will stop coming through after 31 days of registration. If you get any, it is a potential scam. You can also sign up on Florida Do Not Call List to stop legitimate robocalls from calling you.
  • Report robocall numbers to the FTC online. You can also file complaints with the FTC by calling 1 (888) 382-1222. If it is a spoofed robocall, report it online to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
  • Use the built-in call-blocking features of your cell phone to block each robocall number that calls you. You can also ask your phone company to bar identified robocall numbers from calling you.

How Can You Spot and Report Leon County Phone Scams?

Leon County residents will always be targets of phone scams, so keeping abreast of the current scams and being vigilant remains the most guaranteed means of spotting and avoiding them. Conducting reverse phone number lookups by name, address, and phone numbers can return identifying information on suspicious callers. The following are signs you should observe when receiving a call from an unknown person to identify phone scams:

  • The caller insists on obtaining your confidential information. They will verbally insult you if you fail to share it. A legitimate entity or government agency will not solicit such information over the phone.
  • The caller tries to intimidate you with threats of arrest, jail, license suspension, or deportation to make you comply with their requests. No legitimate caller will do this to anyone.
  • The caller asks for payment by the most unconventional methods. Payment channels such as wire transfers, gift cards, and cryptocurrencies are tell-tale signs of fraud.
  • The caller intentionally avoids answering any question you ask about their proposition and attempts to dissuade you from doing independent research. They typically want to keep you on the phone for as long as possible to rip you off.

Some government agencies are committed to combating the phone scams menace in Leon County while also providing reporting platforms for residents. They include:

Florida Office of the Attorney General - The OAG provides residents with information on consumer protection against phone scams. Residents who are victims of phone scams in Leon County can report them to the OAG online or call 1 (866) 966-7226.

Leon County Sheriff's Office - The LCSO is the agency saddled with law enforcement responsibility and crime reduction in Leon County. Residents can call the Sheriff's Office on (850) 606-3300 to report phone scam incidents. Alternatively, they can file reports with the LCSO by visiting 2825 Municipal Way, Tallahassee, FL 32304.

Federal Trade Commission - The FTC also provides tips on call blocking that are useful against phone scammers. Cases of illegal robocalls and other deceptive practices can be reported to the FTC online or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222. The Commission also manages the National Do Not Call Registry that helps to protect residents from unwanted calls.

Federal Communications Commission - The FCC educates residents on how to stop unwanted robocalls and avoid phone scams. Leon County residents who fall victim to phone spoofing scams or other phone scams can file complaints online with the FCC.