What are Lexington County Area Codes?
There are two area codes covering Lexington County. These are area codes 803 and 839. Area codes are three-digit numeric designations for NPAs (numbering plan areas). NPAs and area codes were first created in 1947 with the enactment of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). Area codes simplifying the dialing and routing processes of phone calls in North American phone networks. In a 10-digit phone number, the area code is the first three digits. It serves as an identifier for the geographic area where the phone number was created and registered.
Area Code 803
As one of the first 86 area codes created at the 1947 introduction of the NANP, area code 803 served the entire South Carolina. However, its coverage was reduced in 1995 when area code 864 was split up to serve the upper part of the state. In 1998, another split occurred to create area code 843 to cover the lower coastal part of the state. Communities in Lexington County served by area code 803 include Columbia, West Columbia, Cayce, and Lexington.
Area Code 839
Area code 839 is an overlay code for NPA 803. It unlocked new phone numbers to meet the rapidly growing number of phone users in the counties served by area code 803. It was created in May 2020 and serves the same cities and towns as area code 803.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Lexington County?
Most people in Lexington County and South Carolina have switched from landlines to wireless phone service. A 2018 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), noted that 55.7% of the adult population of South Carolina only use wireless phones for their telecommunication needs. In contrast, only 4.9% of adults in the state relied solely on landline phone services. Among minors in South Carolina, 67.2% had made the switch to wireless phone services and only 1.9% of this demographic used landline phones only.
All four major carriers provide phone services in Lexington County. Among these service providers, AT&T and Verizon have the widest coverage in South Carolina. AT&T covers 99% of the state while Verizon’s network is available in 98.7% of South Carolina’s zip codes. T-Mobile provides phone service in 96.3% of the state and Sprint has the smallest coverage with its network available in 63.4% of South Carolina. Besides these major carriers, there are also MVNOs in Lexington County. Mobile Virtual Network Operators or MVNOs are smaller regional carriers that rely on the network rollout of big carriers. They bulk network services in bulk and repackage them into bundles that are attractive to phone users in the regions they serve.
Lexington County residents and businesses can also sign up for phone services from VoIP providers. Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is a communication technology that routes voice and video calls over the internet. It relies on broadband internet connection and transmits voice and video signals as data packets over the internet. VoIP phone services are easier to deploy and more affordable than traditional alternatives especially for residents with broadband internet access. Users can place VoIP calls from their phones as well as other internet-connected communication devices such as tablets and computers.
What are Lexington County Phone Scams?
Lexington County phone scams are frauds perpetrated using phone services and committed by con artists targeting residents of the county. Scammers employ phone technologies such as caller ID spoofing, robocalls, voice phishing, and spam calls to find targets and turn them to victims with the aim of defrauding and stealing valuable information.
Just as phone tools and technologies are making scams easier and more rampant, they are also making it easier to spot and stop these frauds. Some of the most effective tools for avoiding phone scams and identifying scammers are reverse phone lookup and call blocking.
The most commonly reported phone scams in Lexington County and South Carolina are IRS scams, credit/loan scams, lottery/sweepstakes scams, missed call scams.
What are Lexington County IRS Scams?
Scammers claiming to be IRS agents call unsuspecting residents and ask for immediate payment of back taxes. Fraudsters using this tactic usually follow their demands with threats of arrest, deportation, prosecution, and withdrawal of business license. They demand that their victims pay them with cash, prepaid cards, cryptocurrencies, and wire transfer.
IRS scammers may also sound helpful and genial on phone calls. They assume this tone when they are calling to tell residents they are due tax refunds. When employing this trick, they get unsuspecting taxpayers excited about bogus refunds before asking for confidential information such as checking account details and Social Security numbers. Residents providing them with these details become victims of identity theft. Scammers can also easily make withdrawals from their victims’ accounts or make huge purchases on the credit cards.
Knowing how the IRS works is key to avoiding these scams. The IRS never calls to ask residents to pay back taxes or announce refunds. They send letters to taxpayers’ addresses with these pieces of information. IRS agents also never call to threaten taxpayers or demand payment by irregular channels. If contacted by a stranger claiming to work for the IRS, use reverse phone lookup free searches to identify them by their phone numbers. You may call the IRS by the numbers listed on its official website to confirm the identity of the caller and their claims.
What are Lexington County Credit/Loan Scams?
These scams are usually targeted at people with bad credit. These individuals receive calls from strangers offering to repair their credit scores or give them loans regardless of their low credit scores. To qualify for such credits and loans, victims are asked to pay certain sums of money for processing the offers. Once paid, fraudsters running this scam disappear.
To convince their targets that they can offer loans and repair credit scores, scammers claim to represent certain organizations. Run the phone number used to contact you through a reverse phone lookup service to identify the stranger calling you. A good lookup service will show that the number is not registered to the company the scammer claims to represent. It may also show that the number has been flagged for past phone scams.
What are Lexington County Lottery/Sweepstakes Scams?
These scams involve residents receiving congratulatory calls that they have won certain lotteries and sweepstakes. Scammers can also claim their targets qualify for prizes, gifts, or free vacations. To get the prizes or free gifts, the scammers demand that their victims send money to cover taxes, shipping, or processing.
Lottery/sweepstakes scammers make their victims feel special and exploit their excitement at winning free items. Often victims have never heard of, or entered in, the lotteries they supposedly win. If you receive a call from an unknown number claiming you won a prize, curb your enthusiasm long enough to investigate the number with a phone lookup service. Anyone demanding that you pay any amount to receive a free gift or lottery winning is a scammer.
What are Lexington County Missed Call Scams?
Also known as one-ring scams, these start with victims’ phones ringing and then cutting out before they can pick these calls. Curious to know who called, unsuspecting phone users call back and get pre-recorded messages keeping them on the line while they rack up huge international call fees. Scammers running these scams get a cut of the charges billed to their victims.
If you get a call that rings once, refrain from calling back especially if the call comes from an international number. If you are uncertain about the origin of the call or the identity of the call, you may search it using a reverse phone lookup free service. Under no circumstances should you call the number back.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
A robocall is a phone call made by an auto-dialer that plays a pre-recorded message usually in machine voice. Robocalls were first introduced to help political campaigns and telemarketers deliver their pitches to large numbers of people. Public and private organizations sometimes also use them to deliver public service announcements. However, the majority of robocalls received by Lexington County residents are from scams and dubious telemarketers looking for who to defraud.
Once set up, robocalls require very little further human effort. They are also cost-effective tools for reaching a lot of people quickly. These attributes make them attractive to scammers trying to cast wide nets to find new victims for their cons. Phone scammers and dishonest telemarketers also use spam calls for the same purposes. These are bulk phone calls targeted arbitrarily at random phone numbers.
Spam calls and illegal robocalls are annoying and can be costly when used to initiate and perpetrate scams. To reduce the number of these unwanted calls reaching your phone, consider the following actions:
- Hang up on a phone call as soon as you realize it is a spam call or a robocall
- Do not follow prompts given during these calls to remove your phone number from their lists. Following these prompts only confirms that your number is active and will lead to more robocalls and spam calls
- Block unwanted calls from unknown phone numbers on your phone. Smartphones have this feature built-in. There are also call-blocking apps that can help filter incoming calls from flagged numbers used for spam calls and robocalls. Most carriers also offer call-blocking services that subscribers can sign up for
- Identify the individual registered to unknown numbers that keep calling you by searching for them with reverse phone lookup services
- Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry. Make sure to confirm that your number is truly registered on the Registry after signing up. Joining this registry signals to legitimate telemarketers that you wish to opt out of their call lists. Spam calls and robocalls received after 31 days of joining the registry are most likely from scammers
How to Spot and Report Lexington County Phone Scams?
Scammers keep evolving their tactics in order to catch wary phone users. While these new schemes are variations on old tricks, they can be quite effective. Therefore, it is important to keep learning about emerging scam trends around you. Lexington County residents can rely on the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs to stay abreast of new scam tactics reported in the state.
In addition to awareness and vigilance, residents should know how to use phone lookup services and call-blocking tools to limit their exposure to scammers. Armed with these tools, they can be on guard during phone calls and look out for these telltale signs of phone scams:
- Request for payment via unofficial channels - a caller claiming to be a law enforcement agent or a government official or a representative or a charity, financial institution, or utility should not require payment by cash, wire transfer, cryptocurrencies, or prepaid cards. These organizations use reputable payment processor and accept payments via their websites
- Threats - scammers force their victims to comply by threatening to arrest or jail them. If they are targeting business owners, they use threats of unscheduled inspections and license revocations. When targeting foreigners, they threaten deportation
- Requesting personal information - callers asking for confidential information over the phone are most likely scammers. fraudsters impersonating employees of known organizations often ask for details those organizations already have. For example, someone claiming to be from your credit card company should not be asking for your Social Security number
- Demanding immediate commitment - unknown callers asking you to send money immediately for whatever purpose are likely scammers. These fraudsters may insist on staying on the phone while you send them money. Take the time to consider an investment offer pitched by a stranger before committing to it
Lexington County residents are encouraged to report phone scams to the right authorities. This will help law enforcement and consumer protection agencies find and prosecute scammers. Reporting phone scams is also useful for helping others learn new tricks used by scammers. Residents of the county can file scam reports with the following agencies:
- The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs - this agency provides helpful resources to help residents learn more about current scam trends in the state. You can report a phone scam to the agency by calling 1 (844) TELL-DCA (835-5322) or tweeting @SCDCA using the hashtag #TellDCA
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - the FTC is the federal consumer protection agency with respect to businesses and all forms of commerce. It collates reports about deceptive business practices all over the country. You may report fake charities, investment scams, and other trade-related scams by submitting fraud complaints to the FTC online
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - the FCC regulates communications services in the country including phone service providers. If a scam involves illegal robocalls, caller ID spoofing, or spam calls, it can be reported to the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center
- The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department - the local law enforcement agency for the county. Victims of phone scams can submit incident reports on the website of the Sheriff’s Department. Residents can also file scam reports with the various police departments in the county