The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) was set up in 1940 as a telephone numbering plan that divides North America into regions with distinct numbering plan areas (NPAs). Each NPA has a three-digit telephone number prefix known as an area code. The prefix comes directly before the remaining seven digits of a standard American phone number. An area code distinguishes phone numbers in a region from the telephone numbers in other areas. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) serves as the North American Numbering Plan administrator that manages the distribution of area codes in the United States.
Area Code 850
Area code 850 was created in 1997 as a split from area code 904. It covers the entire Okaloosa County, including its major communities such as Destin, Niceville, and Laurel Hill. Apart from Okaloosa County, area code 850 serves 19 other counties in Florida, including Escambia County, Leon County, and Bay County.
It is not uncommon for residents of Okaloosa county to receive calls from phone numbers with strange area codes. Residents may use area code lookup tools to determine the exact geographic locations the phone calls originated. However, reverse phone lookup tools help residents to know the true identities of who called.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Okaloosa County?
Based on a 2018 National Center of Health Statistics survey, 60.9% of Florida adults exclusively used wireless telephone services, while 4% used landlines as their only telephony service. 15.9% of Florida adults chose wireless telephone services as their most preferred communication media. On the other hand, 4.4% of the adults chose landlines as their most preferred telephone services. 11% of Florida adults used wireless and landline telephone services, while 3.7% did not use any telephone service.
The figures are contrasting when compared to Florida minors. 72% of minors used only wireless telephone services, while 1.7% used only landline telephone services. 14.7% of Florida minors chose wireless as their most preferred telephone service, which is in contrast to the 1% whose most preferred telephone services were landlines. While 4.1% of the minors did not use any telephone service, 5.6% used both wireless and landlines. The survey showed that most residents of Okaloosa county used wireless telephone services more than landlines.
The three primary phone carriers that provide cell phone coverage for residents of Okaloosa County are AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. In addition to these, Okaloosa County has several Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) that offer alternate cell phone coverages to some residents in the county. At 98%, AT&T has the best network coverage in the county. Verizon tags along with network coverage of 78%. Third on the list is Sprint, with a network coverage of 66%. Together, the three primary phone carriers and the MVNOs offer decent coverage with quality service deliveries.
Residents of Florida use several wireless telephone services, including Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. VoIP is a common alternative to conventional phone calls, using the internet and data connections. Residents may choose between commercial and private VoIP subscription plans, depending on their needs. Although the Florida Public Service Commission is the principal regulatory body for telecommunications in the state, its jurisdiction does not cover VoIP technologies. However, according to section 364.01 and 364.011 of the 2020 Florida Statutes, VoIP is subject to the state’s general business regulations and consumer protection laws.
What are Okaloosa County Phone Scams?
Okaloosa County phone scams are fraudulent activities carried out through phone calls, texts, social media, and emails to steal money and personal information from unsuspecting residents. Several residents fall victim to phone scams yearly, and they lose thousands of dollars or more. As a result, services like reverse phone look ups and phone number searches are essential to ascertain the true identities of callers. There are several ways that scammers may cheat victims of their money and savings. In Okaloosa County, the following phone scams are most prevalent:
What are Okaloosa County Loan Modification Scams?
In loan modification scams, scammers target residents through phone calls and emails with ambitious offers to modify the residents’ existing loans. They offer to conduct professional forensic audits of targets' loans and mortgages to ascertain whether the banks are cheating the residents. In other instances, the scammers claim to have sufficient expertise to restructure targets' debts. All these offers come with requests of high up-front payments, and the scammers eventually do not deliver the services they promised. When you receive such calls, it is expedient that you hang up without providing the callers with any personal information. You may conduct suspicious phone number lookups to determine the true identities of the callers.
What are Okaloosa County Craigslist Scams?
Craigslist scams are targeted at Okaloosa County residents who buy and sell online. In typical Craigslist scams, the scammers, who either pose as buyers of online-listed products, send amounts of money that are more than the products’ purchase prices. The scammers contact the sellers via phone calls, the websites’ chat platforms, or emails to request refunds. Most times, the scammers ask the unsuspecting targets to keep small percentages of the balances and send the rest as refunds. Unknown to the victims, the amounts sent are not genuine, and when the reimbursements are made, the victims would realize they sent their personal money to the scammers.
In other cases, scammers posing as sellers list products on online e-commerce sites. These are products they do not have in stock or have plans of supplying to buyers. When victims place orders and make ensuing payments, the scammers cut communication with them and move ahead to scam others. The rise of this scam in Okaloosa County makes it pertinent for residents to verify the credibility of online sites before shopping with them. Whenever you receive calls of overpayment from buyers in any online store, report to the bank immediately. Banks can verify the genuineness of such payments and advise you on the next course of action. Scammers often mask their identities before perpetrating any crime. Ensure to use good reverse phone lookup tools to determine the true identities of the callers.
What are Okaloosa County Vishing Scams?
Vishing scams are similar to phishing, except that vishing involves voicemails. In vishing scams, scammers who pose as workers of legitimate banks send voicemails to targets, informing them of purported issues with their bank accounts, credit cards, and debit cards. The scammers often offer immediate resolutions to the problems as long as the targets return the calls on time. The goal is to obtain personal information, such as passcodes, account numbers, and credit card numbers from the targets. Whenever you receive such calls or voicemails, do not contact the callers. Instead, conduct reverse phone lookups to know the identities of the callers. Go a step further to contact your bank using their official customer support channels to verify if such problems exist.
What is Okaloosa County Work at Home Scams?
Work at home scams are prevalent scams in Okaloosa and have become prevalent since the COVID-19 pandemic. In these scams, scammers convince victims to sign up for fake remote jobs. They create fraudulent job postings to lure in victims so that they may steal their personal information, assets, and money. In several instances, scammers curate online job portals and other databases to identify residents who need jobs. Then they send the fake remote job listings to the victims via emails, social media, and texts. It is not uncommon for scammers to call the targets on the phone claiming to be staff members of recruiting government agencies.
A way to avoid work at home scams is to carry out phone number lookup by name, phone number lookup by address, or reverse phone number lookup. Beyond these, beware of opportunities that appear too good to be true. They are often scams.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated phone calls that deliver recorded messages to targeted audiences using auto-dialers. The use of robocalls is common among political organizations, telemarketing businesses, public institutions, and non-profit organizations. Due to their wide use, scammers have adopted robocalls to make spam calls to residents. Unsolicited robocalls are tantamount to spam calls. Scammers use such calls to defraud victims of their valuables and sensitive information. The anonymity of robocalls makes them difficult to ascertain the true origin of phone calls. However, residents can take advantage of free reverse phone lookup services to know the identities of those who called.
When you receive robocalls, these are actions you could take to protect yourself from potential scammers:
- Hang up immediately you realize you have picked up a robocall.
- Most times, you may be prompted to press certain digits on the phone. Do not heed such requests as it would make the callers know you are a live recipient.
- If you have not already done so, register your phone number on the Florida Do Not Call Registry online or call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352).
- Report illegal robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or file a Florida Do No Call complaint.
How Can You Spot and Report Okaloosa County Phone Scams
In Okaloosa County, scammers keep finding new ways to cheat and steal from misinformed and ignorant residents. They infiltrate and impersonate legitimate systems and invent strategies to profit from almost everything they can find. One of the best ways to fight these scams is through vigilance. However, your vigilance should be backed up with proper information so you will identify all appearances of scams and protect yourself from them. You should not be quick to take action whenever you receive suspicious phone calls or texts from people. Instead, make it a habit to carry out phone number searches and area code lookups to obtain the true identities of those that contacted you. The following are red flags that are common with phone call scams:
- Requests from the caller to release personal information such as credit card numbers, passcodes, social security numbers, dates of birth, etc.
- Too good to be true opportunities, such as job offers in companies you did not apply to, which requires you to pay up-front taxes before you start working.
- Offers such as free cash prizes, pre-approved loans, very cheap travel packages, and investments on high returns, requiring you to make upfront payments of any sort.
- Threats of arrests, fines, and imprisonments from purported government officials over the phone.
- Requests for payments through bitcoins, gift cards, or any medium that is difficult to trace.
- Robocalls from organizations you did not sign up for despite your inclusion in the Florida or National Do Not Call Registry.
Some public institutions in Okaloosa County and Florida are fully committed to preventing the occurrence and spread of phone scams by providing help and information to residents. Such institutions include:
Okaloosa County State Attorney Office: The State Attorney’s Office is responsible for protecting residents from fraudulent individuals and activities. The Attorney’s Office monitors and prosecutes claims on phone scams and related frauds.
Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office: Residents may report phone scams or suspected perpetration of such crimes by calling the Sheriff's Department Fraud Hotline on (850) 651-7674 or contacting the Sheriff Police Department.
Federal Trade Commission: The FTC is responsible for protecting consumers from deceptive and fraudulent practices. The National Do Not Call Registry is one of the systems for combating unsolicited calls. Registering phone numbers on the registry exempts them from receiving robocalls. Residents of Okaloosa County may file spam call complaints by calling (850) 689-5050 or (850) 423-1542.
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDAC): The FDAC's Division of Consumer Services allows residents to register their phone numbers in the Florida Do Not Call list. Victims of unsolicited calls may also file Do Not Call complaints by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352).