An area code is the set of three numbers placed in front of a telephone number to define a particular Numbering Plan Area (NPA) in a state. Designated by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), NPAs for Florida counties are implemented and maintained by the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC).
Palm Beach County has only one area code. This area code currently serves the whole of the county and parts of Broward County.
Area Code 561
Created from area code 407, Area code 561 is the NANP telephone area code that serves Palm Beach communities including the following cities: West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, and Belle Glade. It was first activated for service in May 1996.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Palm Beach County?
A 2018 CDC report showed that 60.9% of the adult Floridians, aged above 18 years, used only cell phones while 4% of them used landline phones exclusively. These figures indicate a shift in phone user preference in the state and the decline of landline telephone services.
Palm Beach County is well served by the four main national carriers. However, coverage varies across the county with urban communities enjoying better service than rural ones. The Everglades and most rural areas generally have poor service due to their terrains and lower population density. Verizon boasts the best service in West Palm Beach providing almost 90% coverage. T-Mobile and Sprint both provide about 74% coverage while AT&T trails the pack with 72% coverage.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services are currently enjoying rapid adoption among Palm Beach County residents and businesses. The Palm Beach County Network Services (PBCnet Services) maintains the county-owned fiber-optics infrastructure that drives subscription for VoIP services.
What are Palm Beach County Phone Scams?
These are primarily phone call scams initiated by fraudsters that target the county’s residents. The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) and the Department of Public Safety’s Consumer Affairs Division notify and protect residents from phone scams. Residents that have been affected by phone scams can lodge their complaints online or report them to the FTC. Phone scammers can be identified using free reverse phone lookup tools. Explained below are some of the common phone scams in Palm Beach County.
What are Investment Scams?
Scammers lure consumers with the promise of “above-market returns” on investments and low or zero risks. Posing as credible investment experts or employees of legitimate organizations, they often use high-pressure sales tactics to convince their victims to make irrational investment decisions. Investment scammers usually target seniors who are eager to shore up their retirement savings. However, their main goal is to separate their marks from their money before they catch on to the scam.
Residents who suspect they are being scammed should submit their complaints online to the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (FLOFR). They can also call toll-free at +1 (800) 848-3792. By conducting a thorough reverse phone search, consumers can verify callers’ legitimacy when investigating investment scams.
What are Tech Support Scams?
Tech support scammers usually aim to do two things. One, convince residents that their computers are infected with malware or faulty in other ways. Two, bill for non-existent repairs or/and download malware after gaining remote access. They also often claim to represent reputable IT companies. Payment for services is usually by wire transfer or through non-traditional and untraceable channels like gift cards. A free reverse phone search can retrieve important identifying information like the name and contact details of an unknown caller. Victims of tech support scams should either report to the PBSO or file complaints with the FDACS.
What are Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams?
This scam often begins with a call informing a target that they have won the sweepstakes or a lottery prize. The scam victim is then asked to make advance payments before they can access their lottery winnings. In some cases, the scammer may pretend to represent an authentic lottery or sweepstakes company. They may also request the victim’s credit card details, claiming to need these to carry out verification or process payment. Know that no genuine lottery organization demands payment as a prerequisite for collecting prize money. Doing a quick phone number lookup can assist a person targeted by this scam to unmask the true identity of a scammer. Affected residents should report to the PBSO or call (561) 688-3400 to lodge complaints.
What are Charity Scams?
Exploiting residents’ sympathy and generosity, scammers con them into believing that their donations are being made to legitimate charities. They are quick to take advantage of natural disasters and similar tragedies, considering them as perfect opportunities for their scams. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) regulates all charities operating in the state. Only charities run by religious, educational, political, and governmental agencies are exempted from this regulation.
Residents who wish to make donations can ascertain the legitimacy of their chosen charities by performing phone number lookups free of charge. They can also obtain confirmation by using the Check-A-Charity online search tool or dialing the FDACS at +1 (800)-HELP-FLA (435-7352). Locals duped by charity scammers can also lodge complaints online with the FDACS.
What are IRS Tax Scams?
These are most prevalent during the tax season. Tax scammers capitalize on residents’ eagerness to properly file their tax returns to run their scams. Posing as IRS employees, they call their targets about “errors” in their filed returns. They then request for taxpayers’ personal information to correct these but use these details to commit identity theft. In another variant of this scam, they inform residents about unpaid back taxes. Afterward, they use threats of arrest, license suspension/revocation, and jail time to coerce payments.
The IRS warns taxpayers to never provide confidential information over unsolicited phone calls. Reverse phone lookup free services can also help residents avoid IRS tax scammers and answer the question: “Who is this number registered to?”
What are Robocall Scams and Spam Calls?
Legitimately employed in charity solicitations, political campaigns, and telemarketing, robocalls have been co-opted by scammers for fraudulent activities. Robocalls are auto-dialed phone calls that convey recorded information. They appeal to scammers because of their anonymity and near-limitless call volume at low cost. These mean they can use spoofed robocalls to hide their true identities and target more people with little effort.
Scammers deploying illegal robocalls often pretend to represent legitimate public agencies and businesses. It is possible to identify a robocaller by using a free reverse phone lookup tool. To stop or limit the number of robocalls received, here are a few tips to consider:
- End all robocalls once you recognize them. Do not follow any prompt to unlist your phone number. Doing so will only mark you down for more robocalls later.
- Ascertain the availability and associated costs (if any) of call-blocking options and resources from your carrier. Consider using free options as scammers regularly change the numbers they use for robocalls.
- Get hold of an online site that offers a phone number lookup free to investigate robocalls.
- Report illegal robocalls to the FTC online or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222.
- Add your phone number to both the National Do Not Call Registry and Florida Do Not Call List. Adding your number to these lists prohibits legitimate telemarketers and businesses from calling you during their sales campaigns. These registries, however, do not guarantee an end to all unwanted robocalls but listing your number makes it easier to spot illegal robocalls. You can also find information on how to block unwanted calls on any platform on the FTC website
How Can You Spot and Report Palm Beach Phone Scams?
Scammers are adept at finding new ways to steal money and sensitive information from their victims. Phone scammers can often be identified by employing reverse phone number lookup tools to query their numbers. However, vigilance and education are still the best defense against phone scams and internet frauds.
Things to look out for when determine if a call is from a scammer include:
- Fraudsters often resort to threats and other high-pressure sales techniques to compel their targets to divulge financial information such as credit card details, social security numbers, account passwords, and PINs. These threats are often related to fines, prosecution, suspension of operating licenses, audits, arrests, and imprisonment.
- Scammers understand the allure of freebies and will bait their targets with free products, prizes, or services. They, however, always request some form of payment before their potential victims can access these false offers, and therein lies the scam.
- Scammers also appeal to their victims’ greed with juicy and limited-time offers. They expect that their targets will be too excited to realize that they are being scammed.
- Scammers always like to receive payments through untraceable means. Examples of these channels include gift cards, wire transfers, preloaded credit/debit cards, and bitcoin. They understand that funds received via these channels can never be recovered.
- Unrequested calls for financial information by persons posing as employees of reputable or familiar public institutions are probably scam calls. Legitimate institutions never ask for customers’ personal information over unsolicited calls.
Staying abreast of scam trends and recognizing the likelihood of being targeted by scammers remain proven ways to battle scam threats. In addition to doing a reverse phone search with a phone number, performing phone number lookup by address and name is also very important. Many public agencies have contributed greatly to helping Floridians avoid phone scams and consumer frauds by offering timely updates and alerts to consumers. These include:
Federal Trade Commission - The FTC was established to combat deceptive and unfair trade practices against consumers. As part of their campaign against the excessive unsolicited calls from telemarketers and sales organizations, the FTC developed the National Do Not Call Registry. The State of Florida also maintains a DNC registry overseen by the FDACS. Businesses and telemarketers that solicit the patronage of Floridian consumers are required to subscribe to this list. The FTC also tackles phone scams by offering instructions and suggestions on call blocking. You can submit reports of fraudulent trade acts and unlawful robocalls to the FTC online or by dialing 1 (888) 382-1222.
Federal Communications Commission - Charged with the responsibility of regulating local and international communication in the U.S., the FCC also tries to protect phone users’ from phone scams and unlawful robocalls. They offer suggestions on how to stop unwanted robocalls and avoid phone scams. You can file a complaint with the FCC if you have been the subject of a phone scam or robocall attack.
Palm Beach County Consumer Affairs Division - This public safety agency was set up to protect county residents and businesses from illegal, fraudulent, and unfair practices. They do this by enforcing existing Ordinance laws and regulations. Aggrieved county residents can file e-disputes or call 1 (866) 966-7226 to seek redress.
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) - The PBSO is committed to the protection of residents’ lives and properties. They also provide alerts on common phone scams and consumer fraud trends within county borders. Residents who suspect they have been targeted by phone scammers should contact their municipal police departments. Others who wish to report anonymously can forward tips to Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers or call (800) 458-8477.