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What are Santa Rosa County Area Codes?

There are two area codes serving Santa Rosa County and these are area codes 850 and 448. Area codes were created when the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) was introduced by AT&T in 1947. They represent numbering plan areas (NPAs). The NANP divided participating countries in North America into NPAs. An NPA is a geographic division representing a region assigned a unique area code. There were 86 original area codes created when the NANP was introduced to replace the conflicting call routing systems in place before 1947. These codes made it easier to route long-distance calls across different telephone networks. In a 10-digit North American telephone number, the area code is the first three digits.

Area Code 850

Split from area code 904 in 1997, area code 850 covers the Florida Panhandle including major cities like Tallahassee, Pensacola, and Panama City. It serves the entirety of Santa Rosa County and is assigned to telephone numbers issued in its cities, towns, and census-designated places including Milton, Jay, Floridatown, Pace, and Navarre.

Area Code 448

This is an overlay code for the NPA designated by area code 850. With area code 850 projected to be exhausted in early 2022, area code 448 was introduced in an overlay plan on November 5, 2019. The first phone number with this area code will be assigned on June 22, 2021 with mandatory 10-digit dialing enacted a month earlier. Area code 448 serves all of Santa Rosa County.

What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Santa Rosa County?

Like the rest of Florida, most of the residents of Santa Rosa County have made the switch from landlines to wireless phones. In a 2018 wireless substitution survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the results show that 60.9% of adults in Florida used wireless phone services exclusively for their telecommunication needs. In contrast, 4% of this demographic still relied solely on landline phones. Among minors in Florida, the gap between the number of exclusive wireless and landline phone users was found to be wider. About 73% of Floridans under the age of 18 only use wireless phone services while a tiny 1.7% of this group still used landline phones exclusively.

All four major carriers provide wireless phone service in Florida and Santa Rosa County. Verizon and AT&T boast the widest network with each of them offering 99% coverage of the state. T-Mobile’s network covers 89.7% of Florida while Sprint’s signal reaches 83% of the state. Besides these big carriers, there are small carriers known as MVNOs providing phone services in Santa Rosa County. MVNOs, or Mobile Virtual Network Operators, are regional carriers that rely on the network infrastructure of national carriers and buy network services from them in bulk. They resell these to residents of the county at lower costs bundled with services that cater to local needs.

Besides major carriers and MVNOs, residents of Santa Rosa County can also sign up for phone services provided by VoIP operators. VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is a networking technology that allows voice communication over the internet. VoIP transmits voice and video calls over the internet as data packets. Residents with broadband internet access can easily sign up for VoIP phone services. These are usually more affordable than landline and cell phone plans and are more flexible and better suited for telecommuting needs.

What are Santa Rosa County Phone Scams?

These are telephone frauds committed by those targeting residents of Santa Rosa County. Scammers may use certain phone tools and services to find and trick unsuspecting phone users. Such tools include robocalls, spam calls, voice phishing, and caller ID spoofing. They use these to appear legitimate in a bid to defraud their victims or steal confidential information. Just as some communication tools make phone scams easier, there are others that can help residents avoid them. These include call blocking and reverse phone number lookup.

Along with such helpful tools, residents of Santa Rosa County should also keep their knowledge of phone scams up to date. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) publishes a number of helpful resources to educate residents of the state and raise public awareness about current and emerging phone scams in their communities. The most commonly reported phone scams in Santa Rosa County and Florida are charity scams, emergency scams, lottery/sweepstakes scams, and tech support scams.

What are Santa Rosa County Charity Scams?

Fraudsters running these scams call unsuspecting residents to solicit for donations while pretending to represent real charities. These scams are most common after disasters and similar events requiring immediate relief efforts. Scammers may impersonate real charities or make up charities that sound like the real ones. Before donating to a charity drive, ask the person calling for donations probing questions about how the money donated will be used. Request documentation to confirm their claims. Run a free reverse phone lookup to see if the number used is associated with the charity they claim to represent.

The FDACS also provides ways for residents to avoid falling for charity scams. They can check whether the charity requesting donation is registered in Florida by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or using the department’s Check-A-Charity online tool. The FDACS also warns residents not to donate cash to charities but give checks only payable to the organizations seeking donations.

What are Santa Rosa County Emergency Scams?

These usually target grandparents and exploit their love and concern for the grandchildren. In an emergency scam, a stranger calls or sends a text message claiming to be the target’s grandchild, old friend, or long-lost acquaintance and in urgent need of money. They usually claim to need the money to get out of jail, pay legal fees, pay hospital bills, or buy a ticket to come home from a foreign country where they are struck. They also ask for secrecy and claim they would be embarrassed if other family members know about their emergency.

To avoid an emergency scam, make sure to ask the caller questions only the person they claim they are could answer. Use a reverse phone lookup search to verify the identity of the caller and definitely speak to other family members or friends about the person calling for financial help.

What are Santa Rosa County Lottery/Sweepstakes Scams?

These scams start with fraudsters contacting their victims to promote lotteries/sweepstakes, offer them a chance to increase their odds of winning, or to congratulate them on winning these games. In all cases, the scammers ask their targets to pay certain amounts to enter the lotteries/sweepstakes, increase their chances of winning, or to claim their prizes. The FDACS warns all residents about strangers calling to ask for money to enter or increase their chances of winning lotteries and sweepstakes. It is also illegal in Florida to ask the winner of a lottery or promotion to pay before receiving their prize.

It is possible to tell that a stranger calling about a lottery or sweepstakes is a scammer. A quick suspicious phone number lookup can reveal that the number used by the caller has been flagged for phone scams. The result may also show that the unknown number is not associated with the lottery/sweepstake organization the caller claims to represent.

What are Santa Rosa County Tech Support Scams?

In these scams, fraudsters call their victims to offer tech support and make up bogus claims about their computers running slow or being infected with viruses. They request remote access to these machines or trick their targets into downloading malicious files. Once they gain access to their victims’ computers, tech support scammers may steal confidential information such as passwords and login details for the victims’ banking profiles.

Scammers may also bill their victims for unneeded repairs and computer security software even after installing bloatware on their computers. Some fraudsters install malware on their victims’ computers and lock them out of their machines until they pay up to regain access. Santa Rosa County residents should know that tech companies do not call to offer unsolicited support. They also do not routinely scam customers’ computers for viruses. A reverse phone number search on the number used to know who called will reveal that the number is not one of the official lines of the tech company impersonated. Do not give remote access to your computer or smartphone to anyone unless you requested the support they are providing.

What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?

Robocalls and spam calls are unwanted phone calls placed to lots of phone users. The number of these unsolicited calls received by American phone users keeps climbing every year. Robocalls are especially aggravating. They are automated calls placed by auto-dialers delivering pre-recorded messages. When they were first introduced, robocalls were commonly used by telemarketers, political campaigns, and organizations delivering public service announcements. They are cost-effective tools for reaching a lot of people quickly. These attributes are also the reasons scammers and dishonest telemarketers use them to find new victims.

Spam calls are also placed in bulk but usually by human operators targeting large groups of phone users. Residents of Santa Rosa County looking to avoid or reduce the number of these unwanted calls should consider these tips:

  • Do not pick calls from unknown numbers. Let these go to voicemail and then review them to know which ones to return
  • Hang up on a call as soon as you find out it is a robocall or spam call
  • Do not trust your phone’s caller ID to correctly identify a caller. Spammers and scammers use caller ID spoofing to impersonate trusted callers to get their targets to pick their calls
  • Use a reverse phone number service to identify persons registered to unrecognized numbers that keep calling you. This will help you determine whether the caller is likely a scammer, spammer, or stalker
  • Set up your phone to block calls from unknown numbers or blacklisted numbers. You may also check with your carrier for call-blocking solutions. There are also legitimate call blocking apps that rely on user-generated blacklists of numbers flagged for spam and scam calls
  • Register your phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry and the Florida Do Not Call List. Joining these registries indicates to legitimate telemarketers that you no longer wish to receive their robocalls. This will not stop scammers and dishonest telemarketers from contacting you. However, you can safely assume all robocalls and spam calls received after 31 days are from scammers and spammers and disregard them

How to Spot and Report Santa Rosa County Phone Scams

Spotting a phone scam is not hard if you know what to look for. First, you need to be aware of emerging tactics used by scammers. While these are variations of old tricks, they can still be convincing enough to fall for. Secondly, do not be overconfident. Anyone can be scammed. Therefore, be on guard when talking to strangers on the phone and be wary when they are requesting for money or personal information.

The FDACs wants residents to look out for the following signs of phone scams:

  • Caller makes an offer that sounds too good to be true, claims an investment is risk-free, or uses high-pressure tactics to extract immediate commitment
  • Caller asks for payment via unofficial methods like requesting your credit card number or asking for cash, wire transfer, prepaid debit card, gift card, or cryptocurrency
  • Caller threatens to have you arrested, jailed, or deported if you do not send the money or provide the information demanded immediately
  • Caller is unwilling to back their claims and identity with written documentation and references

After unmasking a scammer with a reverse phone number lookup, you should also report the scam. Residents of Santa Rosa County reporting successful and foiled scams help law enforcement find, apprehend, and prosecute scammers and businesses with dishonest practices. Reports also help increase public awareness of the tactics used by scammers. Santa Rosa County residents can file complaints of telephone frauds to the following agencies:

  • The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) - this state protects consumers against unfair and dishonest business practices as well as telemarketers abusing the state’s robocall rules. Check the FDACS File a Complaint page for the appropriate link or form for your complaint
  • The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office - as the primary law enforcement agency in the county, the Sheriff’s Office receives reports of all crimes including phone scams. Call (850) 983-1190 or use the eReports System to file a complaint of a telephone fraud in the county
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - this federal consumer protection agency protects American consumers against unfair and deceptive business practices. The FTC prosecutes fraudsters running travel, business, investment, and lottery scams as well as other cons involving breach of trust during the conduct of trade exchanges. Residents of Santa Rosa County can submit their fraud complaints to the FTC online
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - this federal agency regulates all forms of communications in the country. Its roles include safeguarding citizens against those exploiting phone tools and services to scam unsuspecting residents. Santa Rosa County residents can report phone scams and the misuses of caller ID spoofing, spam calls, phishing, and robocalls to the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center