The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) divides telephone service areas into Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs). Each NPA in a state is identified by a string of three-digit code known as an area code. Area codes are the three-digit numbers that precede North American phone numbers. Generally, area codes identify the origins and destinations of telephone calls. The Florida Public Service Commission (PUC) manages and assigns area codes in the state of Florida.
Marion County is currently being served by only one area code (352).
Area Code 352
Split from the 904 NPA, area code 352 became active in 1995, and it is a Florida telephone area code. Cities and towns in Marion County under area code 352 include Ocala, Belleview, Salt Springs, Citra, Dunnellon, Weirsdale, and Mclntosh.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Marion County?
Data from the 2018 CDC Survey shows that wireless telephony has become the most widely adopted telephone service in Florida. According to reports from the survey, 72.9% of Floridians, 18 years and under, used cell phones solely for telephony, while landline-only users made up an insignificant 1.7% of the state's minors population. Similarly, 60.9% of the adult population had adopted wireless services only, while only about 4.0% of them were exclusive landline users.
The four major phone carriers provide network services in Marion County with varying degrees of coverage depending on location. However, services are typically better in major cities than in rural areas. Some Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) also operate in Snohomish County. They maximize the network infrastructures of the major carriers to provide network services at more affordable rates. In Ocala, T-Mobile offers the best coverage at 88%, followed by Verizon at 82%, and then AT&T with a spread of 78%. Sprint has the least coverage in the city at a 68% score.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a viable alternative to cellular and landline phone services in Marion County. It offers telephony services, such as voice, video, and text messages, over broadband internet connections. VoIP services are more flexible, efficient, and cheaper than regular telephone services. Marion County residents can subscribe to any plan of choice from the several VoIP service providers in the county or the state at large.
What are Marion County Phone Scams?
Marion County phone scams are deceptive practices by fraudsters using telephony services and to rip off Marion County residents. Typically, phone scams aim to steal money or confidential information from the targets. Phone scammers use the personal and financial information obtained from their victims for both identity and financial theft. Residents can identify phone numbers used to perpetrate phone scams using services that offer free reverse phone lookup.
Government agencies such as the Florida Office of the Attorney General (OAG), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) provides education on phone scams. The OAG issues scam alerts to familiarize residents with the latest phone scams. The Marion County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) partners with other public agencies to combat phone scams in Marion County. Phone scam victims in the county can contact any of these agencies to report their encounters with fraudsters.
Common phone scams in Marion County include:
What are COVID-19 Scams?
Coronavirus scams have many variations. Fraudsters are calling and taking advantage of the intricacies around the COVID-19 pandemic to steal money and obtain confidential information unlawfully from Marion County residents. Reverse phone lookup services can help residents determine the authenticity of such calls and avoid phone scams. The common variants of coronavirus scams in Marion County include:
- Fraudsters offer targeted persons free medications, vaccinations, and test kits for some fees. They often request confidential information such as social security numbers from the targets in the process. Anyone who presents such an offer is a potential scammer, and you should end such a call immediately.
- Callers claim to be COVID-19 contact tracers from local health departments and inform their marks that they might have been in contact with persons who tested positive for coronavirus. Besides requesting non-personal-identifying information, these scammers also ask their targets to provide some confidential information in a bid to commit identity and financial theft. No legitimate contact tracer will solicit personal identifying information in the course of their duty.
- Phone scammers pretending to be with government agencies contact Marion County residents and promise to facilitate speedy collections of stimulus payment. They, however, will request their targets to pay certain help to benefit from such service.
These scammers typically request payment by wire transfers, prepaid cards and sometimes arrange for cash payment. These methods of payment are odd and are difficult to track once you conclude any transaction. As such, residents should desist from paying unknown persons through them. The Florida Office of the Attorney General warns residents to beware of COVID-19 scams.
What are Sex Offender Registration Scams?
These schemes are usually targeted at families with relatives who are sex offenders in Marion County. All Florida sex offenders must comply with the rule outlined in the FDLE Sexual Predator-Sexual Offender Notice of Responsibilities Form completed at the point of registration. Phone scammers take advantage of this to rip off family members of sex offenders.
Typically, the fraudsters pretend to be deputies with the Marion County Sheriff's Office when they call. They often contact elderly persons in such families and inform them that their relatives violated the Sex Offender Registry law. The scammers will further instruct them to pay fines immediately, or their sex offender relatives may face arrests. Sometimes, they will hold the line to ensure payment before ending the calls or leave a number for their targets to call once they pay the required fine. Their preferred methods of receiving payment include gift cards and wire transfers.
In Florida, probation officers are usually assigned to sex offenders who are under supervision status. They will most likely be the ones to make contact with family members if there will be sanctions. Beware of unknown persons who impersonate law enforcement to perpetrate sex offender registry scams in Marion County. Always verify such callers' claims from the Marion County Sheriff Office if they contact you. You can ascertain the callers' credibility by running their phone numbers through applications that offer suspicious phone number lookup.
What are Bank Scams?
Do not disclose your bank account information to anyone who claims to be from your bank over the phone. When you receive such a call, hang up immediately and contact your bank on their official numbers to verify the caller's claims. You can fetch a bank's official phone number on their website. Doing a reverse phone number look up on the caller's phone number can help retrieve identifying information on them and prevent you from falling for their scheme.
In bank scams, the fraudsters will call their targeted Marion County residents, pretending to be employees of their marks' banks. They sometimes spoof their targets' Caller IDs to display their banks' names and official phone numbers. Good reverse phone lookup services can help determine whether a phone call is spoofed or not and prevent you from falling victim to phone scams. Some fraudsters who perpetrate bank scams also have some viable details about their targets. This may eliminate suspicion by most targeted persons, making them easy prey. Typically, the scammers will inform their targets that they observed some discrepancies on their bank accounts during their routine maintenance and would require their marks to provide certain information for supposed verifications. Such information may include account numbers, social security numbers, dates of birth, PIN, and addresses. A legitimate employee of a bank will never solicit such information over the phone. Once they obtain these details, the scammers will commit both financial and identity fraud.
What are Credit Card Scams?
These scams are aimed at ripping off credit card users in Marion County. The callers pose as representatives of their targets' credit card companies and inform them of some unusual charges on their cards. They will suggest that someone else might be using such cards and assure the credit card owners they will investigate. However, the scammers will request some information on targets' credit cards to initiate the refund of such charges. They may ask for complete credit card numbers and names as it appears on the cards.
Also, these scammers may request Card Verification Value (CVV) for such cards, a three-digit number on the reverse side of a card for supposed confirmation that the owner has the credit card. Marion County residents must know that this is a ploy by the callers to obtain relevant information on their victims' credit cards for online transactions. If you receive this type of call, do not share any of these details. Your credit card company already has such information and will not request you to provide them for any reason, especially not over the phone. End such calls and contact your card company to verify the callers' claims and request them to send you your credit card statement for a first-hand review. It is possible to avoid a credit card scam if you regularly perform reverse phone lookup on suspicious phone numbers.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
A robocall is an automated phone call that delivers pre-recorded messages to a mass audience. Although used by government agencies and telemarketers in Marion County for legitimate purposes, robocalls are increasingly being used by phone scammers to perpetrate frauds. Spam calls are inappropriate random calls sent to mass phone numbers, usually to identify active phone numbers. Robocalls are special spam calls. You can identify spam and robocall numbers using applications that provide phone number lookup services. Phone number search on such services can prevent you from falling victim to phone scams committed by spam calls.
You can do the following to avoid falling victims to robocall and spam calls:
- Use the inbuilt call-blocking features on your phone to block spam calls and robocall numbers.
- End a robocall immediately you know what it is. Disregard any prompts asking you to press a number as these lead to more automated messages and register your phone number for more robocalls and future phone scams.
- Enlist your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry and Florida Do Not Call List. The telephone numbers on these lists are spared from receiving robocalls. However, spam calls and robocalls typically defy both lists, and this helps you identify illegal unsolicited calls once registered.
- Report unwanted calls to the FTC by filing an online consumer complaint or calling 1 (888) 382-1222, especially if you have added your number to the DNC registry.
- Use phone number lookup free services to identify robocall numbers and block them.
How Can You Spot and Report Marion County Phone Scams?
Marion County residents can avoid phone scams by spotting the tell-tale signs. The best way to spot phone scams is to be observant and note the tiniest details during phone calls. Phone scammers are not relenting in their attempts to dupe unsuspecting residents, and as such, being vigilant and informed is key to avoiding them. Also, phone number lookup free services can help you fetch the identities of phone scammers and avoid scams. Hints that a phone call might be a scam call in Marion County include:
- The caller who pretends to be with a reputable business persuades you to share your personal information with them. Legitimate entities will not do such.
- The caller poses as a law enforcement agent and threatens you with arrest, prosecution, or deportation for not yielding to their request for money or information. Legitimate law enforcement agents in Marion County will neither solicit money or confidential information over the phone for any reason.
- The caller informs you about an unknown debt and insists that you settle it via gift cards, wire transfers, and prepaid debit cards. Legitimate debt collectors will not say you owe money when you do not and do not specify payment methods for lawful debtors.
- An unknown caller notifies you of winning a lottery whose competition you never entered and informs you to claim your prize. The caller will, however, will ask you to pay some fees to claim winnings. If you must pay to receive a lottery winning, then it is a scam.
Persons who believe they may be Marion County phone scams victims can report such incidents to the following public agencies:
Florida Office of the Attorney General - The Consumer Protection Division of the OAG protects residents from businesses engaging in deceptive and unfair practices. It provides scam alerts on its website to educate residents on how to identify and avoid phone scams. You can file a report of a Marion County phone scam online with the OAG or by calling 1 (866) 966-7226.
Marion County Sheriff's Office - The MCSO investigates cases of phone scams in Marion County. Residents can report phone scam incidents to the MCSO online or by calling (352) 732-8181. To report a phone scam case to the MCSO in person, visit Marion County Sheriff's Office, 692 NW 30th Ave, Ocala, FL 34475.
Federal Trade Commission - The FTC educates residents on call-blocking to prevent falling prey to scams by unwanted calls. It protects Marion County consumers against unfair business practices. The FTC developed the National Do Not Call Registry for the use of residents to reduce inundation by unsolicited calls. You can register complaints about robocalls and phone scams online with the FTC or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222.
Federal Communications Commission - The FCC provides information on how to stop unwanted robocalls and avoid phone scams. Marion County residents can file phone scam complaints online with the FCC or by calling 1 (888) 225-5322.