Preceding any North American phone number is a block of three-digit numbers called an area code. The introduction of automatic switching of phone calls led to a new numbering system called the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). NANP assigned unique area codes to different telephone service areas called Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs). Area codes distinguish the different NPAs in a state, and they help in identifying phone calls’ origins and destinations. The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) supervises the area codes within Florida’s territory.
Currently, the only area code serving St. Lucie County is 772.
Area Code 772
Area code 772 was activated in 1992 and was created as a split of the 561 NPA. It covers several parts of the south-eastern coast of Florida. St. Lucie County communities and cities under the 772 NPA include Fort Pierce, Lakewood Park, River Park, Port St. Lucie, Hutchinson Island, Fort Pierce North, and St. Lucie Village.
What Are the Best Cell Phone Plans in St. Lucie County?
The continued use of traditional landlines in Florida is under immense threat as more residents keep adopting wireless telephony services. Data from a 2018 CDC survey showed that 60.9% of adults in Florida resided in wireless-only households. This surpasses the 4.0% of them that still used landline phones solely for telecommunication. In what looks like it, 1.7% of the children (under 18) in Florida lived in landline-only homes. Those that had adopted wireless telephony services exclusively made up about 72.9% of the under-18 population.
The major national telephone carriers are present in St. Lucie County. Verizon serves most parts of the county, boasting 94% coverage. T-Mobile’s spread is 92%, while both AT&T and Sprint score the same coverage of 68%.
The reason for the continued waning of landlines in St. Lucie County is the mass adoption of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP allows communication between two or more phone users over broadband internet. It is more cost-effective and can be adapted for various purposes. The high number of VoIP service providers present in the county is evidence of its growing popularity.
What Are St. Lucie County Phone Scams?
St. Lucie phone scams are telephone-aided schemes devised by fraudsters to steal county residents’ money and personal information. Scammers adapt telephone services such as live phone calls and text messages to deceive county residents, usually by misrepresenting their Caller IDs. They place calls to targeted residents, usually with unknown phone numbers, and imitate friends, relatives, familiar persons or businesses, and government agencies. St. Lucie County residents can use reverse phone lookup applications to unveil unknown callers’ true identities and avoid scams. Some government agencies also educate residents about prevalent scams to help them avoid falling victim. State departments such as Florida’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) all provide resources on phone scams. The prevalent phone scams in St. Lucie County include:
What are Charity Scams?
Charity scams in St. Lucie County occur when phone scammers exploit natural disasters and other emergencies to mislead residents into making donations to bogus charities. These fraudsters name their phony charity organizations after reputable ones to appear legitimate and divert realized funds for personal gains. St. Lucie County residents can prevent this scam by learning to conduct reverse phone number lookups on unknown phone numbers. Additionally, residents can use the FDACS’ Check-A-Charity portal to verify any charity organization’s registration status before making donations.
What are Business Opportunity Scams?
Business opportunity scams in St. Lucie County occur when phone scammers offer residents lucrative and safe investment opportunities and deny them their promised returns on investment. Typically, fraudsters present these bogus business opportunities as no-risk investments. They pressure their targets to make funding available immediately because of the limited time. Residents can perform phone number searches on unknown phone numbers to avoid falling victim to this scam. Authorities in St. Lucie County enforce the Florida Sale of Business Opportunities Act in a bid to curtail this scam. The Act mandates promoters of business opportunities to furnish their potential investors with copies of their disclosure statements for review. The business promoters must do this at least three days before money exchanges hands or parties sign contracts. This gives county residents ample time to assess any given offer before making decisions.
What are Emergency Scams?
In St. Lucie County, perpetrators of emergency scams usually target elderly residents. In these scams, fraudsters pretend to be their marks’ grandchildren or distant relatives and place distress calls to their targets for urgent financial assistance. They often claim to need such money to resolve emergencies. The alleged emergencies may involve arrests, accidents, or any other predicaments. You can identify the persons behind such calls by conducting free reverse phone lookups on their phone numbers to avoid this scam. Authorities warn St. Lucie County residents not to pay unknown callers without correctly identifying them. If you receive this type of call, confirm the status of the alleged distressed grandchild or relative from other family members or call them on their phone number.
What are Tax Scams?
Tax scams are especially rampant during the tax season. Phone scammers are pretending to be Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials and demanding immediate payment of bogus back taxes. They often threaten their marks with deportation, arrests, liens, and other excessive actions if they fail to pay promptly. These fraudsters also trick targets into providing their personal information through phishing, a method based on deception. Usually, targets get text messages allegedly from the IRS to complete and submit personal data for tax return purposes. The links provided take marks to fake IRS websites where they disclose confidential information. Fraudsters will then retrieve such information for identity and financial theft. Residents must always verify the identities of callers with unknown phone numbers by conducting phone number lookups to avoid these scams. Authorities reiterate that legitimate institutions will not demand residents’ personal information in unsolicited phone calls. St. Lucie County residents should ignore any text messages or emails requesting them to submit confidential information. If you get such a notification or phone call, contact the agency directly using their verified phone numbers.
What are Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams?
Perpetrators of lottery scams obtain St. Lucie County residents’ money by falsely notifying them of winning sums of money in foreign lotteries. Typically, the targets receive fake checks as evidence of these winnings. The phone scammers then convince their marks to pay some fees immediately with promises of sending additional checks. These fees are allegedly for clearance and tax. It is usually at the point of depositing the checks into their accounts that targets realize they have been ripped off. Performing phone number searches reveal the identities of unknown callers and prevent this scam. County residents should never make upfront payments for any promised winnings as they are mostly scams.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated telemarketing calls placed to phone users to deliver pre-recorded messages. They are a type of spam call because they are usually unsolicited. Recipients of these calls do not speak with live humans but only listen to robotic voices delivering the recorded messages. Robocalls are cost-effective for telemarketers to disseminate information at lesser costs to a mass audience at once. However, fraudsters have abused robocalls and now deploy them to steal county St. Lucie County residents’ money. Authorities advise county residents to take these steps to reduce the frequency of robocalls:
- Ignore calls from unknown phone numbers and redirect them to your voicemail for screening.
- End phone calls received that turn out to be robocalls without acting on the voice prompts. Responding to prompts will lead to more robocalls.
- Perform reverse phone lookups on incoming calls to confirm if they are robocalls.
- Use your network provider’s call-blocking service to block phone numbers used in placing robocalls to you. Alternatively, you can install third-party call-blocking apps on your smartphone and use them to block identified robocall numbers.
- Enroll your phone number in the National Do Not Call Registry and Florida Do Not Call List. These are registers of residents who do not want to receive unsolicited telemarketing calls. The national DNC register is managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and legitimate telemarketing companies do not place robocalls to the phone numbers on the list. You can call 1 (888) 382-1222 from your preferred number to have it registered.
- File complaints on persistent robocall abuse with the FTC.
- Report cases of continuous robocalls to the FDACS by completing the Florida Do Not Call Complaint Form and submitting completed forms to:
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Division of Consumer Services
Mediation and Enforcement
2005 Apalachee Parkway
Tallahassee, FL 32399-6500
How to Spot and Report St. Lucie County Phone Scams?
Unsuspecting residents mostly get scammed in St. Lucie County because they do not verify the identities of unknown callers. Residents that can answer the “who is this number registered to?” question can avoid most phone scams. While phone scammers keep adapting new schemes to steal residents’ money, some actions they take remain unchanged. St. Lucie County residents are to be wary when they notice these actions during phone calls:
- Aggressive phone calls threatening extreme actions over unpaid taxes or utility bills are mostly from scammers. Legitimate organizations do not resort to threats in unsolicited calls.
- Pressure to fund business opportunities immediately to avoid closing windows is suspicious. Scammers deny their targets ample time to do their due diligence on phony business opportunities.
- Prizes that come with conditions of payments before redeeming them are usually scams.
- Unusual preference for relatively unconventional means of receiving payments is suspicious. Only scammers insist on receiving payments through cryptocurrencies, preloaded debit cards, and wire transfers because transactions on them are usually hard to trace.
- Unnecessary demand for personal information by seemingly reputable organizations over the phone is a scam. There is no reason for any organization to ask for your information where you did not initiate the call.
St. Lucie County residents must keep abreast of prevalent phone scams and know how to avoid them. They must continuously follow scam updates released by these agencies:
St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office has a Criminal Investigations Section that conducts economic crimes investigations involving finances and identity theft. Residents can call the Sheriff’s Office on (772) 462-7300 to lodge phone scam complaints.
The Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General of the State of Florida identifies and publishes resources on prevalent scams for residents’ awareness. Residents can file phone scam complaints with the Consumer Protection Division by completing online complaint forms.
Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), through its Consumer Resources Section, provides education on common phone scams in the state. The FDACS also maintains a Florida Do Not Call List for residents who do not want to receive unsolicited telemarketing calls. The department provides a search portal that helps residents to verify the authenticity of any charity soliciting donation.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) protects consumers’ interests and ensures businesses compete fairly. They protect residents by providing guides on managing robocalls, identifying phone scams, and blocking unwanted calls. The FTC manages the National Do Not Call Registry, a list containing phone numbers of residents who have opted out of receiving unsolicited phone calls from telemarketers. St. Lucie County residents can use the FTC’s online complaints form to report phone scams.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversees the telecommunications industry in the United States. They provide residents with resources on managing phone spoofing and identifying phone scams. As the industry regulator, the FCC has mandated the major network operators to implement Caller ID authentication systems to end phone spoofing and significantly reduce phone scams. St. Lucie County residents can file complaints with the FCC by using the online consumer complaints assistant.