What are Charleston County Area Codes?
Area codes were created under the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) to identify geographical regions known as Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs). They are the three-digit code at the beginning of telephone numbers. Area codes eliminated the need for human operators in routing long-distance calls. The South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) oversees and implements area codes in South Carolina, including Charleston County.
Charleston County currently has two active area codes. These are:
Area Code 843
Area code 843 is a South Carolina telephone area code in the NANP that serves some parts of eastern South Carolina, including the City of Charleston. Split from the 803 NPA, area code 843 was first introduced into service in 1998. Charleston County communities and cities within this area code include Folly Beach, Mount Pleasant, Isle of Palm, Rockville, Ravenel, Kiawah Island, Hollywood, Awendaw, Meggett, Lincolnville, and McClellanville
Area Code 854
Area code 854 overlays the 843 NPA and became active in 2015. It serves the same locations as area code 843.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Charleston County?
Cell phone carriers provide varying degrees of network coverage in Charleston County. Typically, coverage is better in the urban areas than in the rural parts of the county. AT&T offers the best network coverage at 99%. Verizon is second with an excellent spread of 98.7%, while T-Mobile covers 96.3% of the county. Sprint trails behind all three providing a 68.4% coverage but compensates for this in locations where it has roaming agreements.
A CDC survey conducted in 2018 released data that indicated a growing dependence of South Carolina households on wireless telephony services. Out of the total adults in South Carolina, 4.9% were landline-only subscribers, while 55.7% of them exclusively used wireless-only services. Among the children population (below 18 years), landline-only users represented 1.9%, while those who had adopted only cell phones made up 67.2% of that demographic.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony services are gaining widespread adoption in Charleston County. County residents have a preference for VoIP because of its affordability and convenience. Also, the availability of reliable broadband internet access further encourages patronage of VoIP telephony services in the county.
What are Charleston County Phone Scams?
These are fraudulent practices aimed at Charleston county residents and perpetrated using telephone products and services. Scammers use various telephony services in their schemes to steal money or obtain confidential information to commit identity theft. Reverse phone lookups can assist residents in identifying fraudsters and foil their scams. The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) are committed to fighting the phone scams menace in the county.
Common phone scams in Charleston County include:
What are Juror Scams?
The Charleston County Clerk of Court alerts residents to be wary of unsolicited calls for money or confidential information purportedly from its Office. The callers claim to be employees of the Clerk’s Office and request payment via unusual methods such as prepaid debit cards or gift cards. Their targets are not restricted to jurors as they regularly threaten other residents with arrests for missing jury duty. The Clerk of Court’s Office reminds residents that it only calls jurors that have previously initiated contact concerning their services. The Clerk’s Office does not solicit money, credit card information, or other confidential data over the phone. A resident who suspects a caller is a likely juror scammer can run a free reverse phone lookup to determine their identity. They can also call the Clerk’s Office at (843) 958-5000 to verify the caller’s claims.
What are Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams?
In these scams, fraudsters call their marks and attempt to con them with news of purported lottery winnings from foreign countries. Sometimes, they use the names of popular home-improvement stores or major retail outlets to ease their victims’ natural skepticism. The scammers often claim their victims luckily won one of many draws automatically entered for them each time they shopped at these superstores. They, however, ask their victims to pay certain fees using wire transfers or preloaded debit cards to enable them to claim their prizes. The money is usually said to cover processing fees, shipping or handling charges, or insurance. Legitimate lotteries or sweepstakes do not request payments as a prerequisite to collect prizes. Services that offer free reverse phone lookups can help you confirm the authenticity of unknown callers’ claims.
What are Law Enforcement Impersonation Scams?
The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office calls the attention of residents to an increased number of incidents of phone scams in which scammers pretend to be law enforcement employees. These fraudsters demand payments from their targets after informing them about unpaid fines, outstanding warrants, or missed jury duty. Sometimes, they use spoofing technology to fool their marks and make it appear like they are calling from the Sheriff’s Office. In other cases, they may use the names of real deputies to convince their victims into making immediate payments to enable them to cancel arrests. The CCSO warns residents to hang up on these calls as its employees do not make unsolicited calls for confidential information or money. Note that phone number search free services can help verify the identities of unknown callers who engage in law enforcement scams.
What are Debt Collection Scams?
These scams begin when fraudsters impersonate legitimate debt collectors and contact their marks. They usually claim to represent a state or federal agency to either frighten their targets or win their trust. The scammers inform their targets of unknown debts and demand that they settle them by paying fractions of their obligations immediately over the phone. They often resort to threats and intimidation or pretend the debt settlement offer is time-sensitive to force their victims to comply. A reverse phone number lookup service can be used to confirm a suspicious caller’s identity and avert this scam. The SCDCA warns residents never to share financial information over the phone or make payments to unverified callers. Federal law requires a debt collector to notify a consumer about their debt in writing. Charleston County residents can obtain free copies of their credit reports online from all three national credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion).
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are phone calls that disseminate recorded information using auto-dialers. They are typically used by political campaign groups, debt collectors, and telemarketers to communicate to large audiences conveniently and within a short time. However, scammers are increasingly using robocalls for various fraudulent schemes because of their wide reachability and relatively low cost. Robocalls offer scammers anonymity which allows them to assume different identities to fool their marks. However, a free reverse cell phone lookup tool can help a county resident determine whether an inbound call is a robocall or not.
The following recommendations can help combat robocall in Charleston County;
- End a robocall immediately and ignore any instruction to press a key to speak with a live agent. Such prompts are designed to trick you into confirming that your number is active. It will lead to more robocalls.
- Surf online for public sites that offer phone number lookup free services to identify a robocall.
- Use any free tool offered by your phone carrier to block robocall numbers you have identified. This eliminates the expense of using paid options to block scammers’ constantly changing numbers.
- Add your number to the National Do Not Call Registry. The FTC bars legitimate telemarketers from calling enlisted numbers 31 days after they have been added. This increases your chances of spotting robocalls.
- Notify the FTC of unlawful robocalls by filing complaints online or calling 1 (888) 382-1222
- Check the FTC’s website to obtain consumer information on how to block unwanted calls on any platform.
How Can You Spot and Report Charleston County Phone Scams?
Scammers are constantly devising newer fraudulent schemes and remodifying older scams. Hence, only educated and vigilant residents can avoid falling victims to phone scams in Charleston County. Residents can also spot scams by performing free phone number lookups. You can spot a typical scam by looking out for the following signs during a phone call:
- Scammers often threaten their victims with detentions, fines, or lawsuits to force them to reveal confidential information or make payments.
- Fraudsters are usually quick to deflect additional inquiries about their real identities and will often get irritated or hostile when their desired responses are not forthcoming.
- Scammers typically use non-conventional means for requesting payment. They favor cryptocurrencies, wire transfers, and gift cards since they are hard to investigate.
- Scammers often pretend to be authorized representatives of reputable institutions in a bid to appear legitimate to solicit money or confidential information. Legitimate organizations will never make unsolicited phone calls for money or confidential information.
- Fraudsters usually ask their victims for upfront fees to take possession of gifts allegedly won in lotteries.
The websites of state and county consumer protection agencies are vital sources of information that increase residents’ chances of spotting phone scams. Charleston County residents can also use the reporting channels of these agencies to register phone scam complaints and seek possible redress. These agencies include:
Charleston County Sheriff’s Office: The Sheriff’s Office fights crime and maintains law and order in the county. They also provide routine scam alerts and updates to further protect residents against the scourge of phone scams and frauds. Charleston County residents who have encountered scams can notify the Sheriff’s Office. They can also submit anonymous crime tips to the Crime Stoppers of the Lowcountry online or by calling (843) 554-1111.
South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs: The SCDCA protects consumers in the state. They also secure residents from dishonest and anti-competitive business practices. Consumers can access information online to help them guard against phone scams. Aggrieved consumers can file complaints with the SCDCA by calling toll-free at 1 (803) 922-1594 or logging onto their consumer complaint portal to file reports.
Federal Communications Commission: The FCC oversees interstate and foreign communications in the United States. They implement and enforce communications policies and regulations that combat phone scams and illegal robocalls in America. Consumers who have been affected by phone imposter scams and unwanted robocalls can file reports with FCC online or call 1 (888) 225-5322.
Federal Trade Commission: The FTC protects American consumers from unfair and deceptive business practices. They also created the National Do Not Call List to protect registered residents from scams perpetrated by robocalls. Residents can also obtain call-blocking instructions from the FTC online. You can file cases of unwanted robocalls online with the FCC or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222.