What are Richland County Area Codes?
An area code is a prefix that forms the first three (3) digits of a telephone number. It identifies the location within a numbering plan area where a phone call originates from. The South Carolina Public Commission is responsible for the maintenance of area codes in Richland County. There are currently two area codes that cover Richland County.
Area Code 803
Area code 803 is the telephone area code in the (NANP) North American Numbering Plan (NANP) for the central part of South Carolina. Its service area currently covers Richland county and 16 other surrounding counties. Area code 803 was assigned in 1947. It was the original area code assigned to serve the entire state of South Carolina, until 1995. In 1995, the upcountry part of the state was split into a separate numbering plan with a different area code. Its service area currently covers four major cities in South Carolina. These include the Cities of Aiken, Columbia, Rock Hill, and Sumter.
Area Code 839
Area code 839 was approved by the South Carolina Public Service Commission in 2019 as an all-service overlay for area code 803. It is the NANP overlay code for the areas covered by area code 803. This new code is currently used by new subscribers. It made the ten-digit dialing mandatory in the numbering plan area in April 2020.
What Are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Richland County?
According to a 2018 National Centre of Health Statistics survey, 55.7% of the South Carolina adult population used wireless telephone services, while only 4.9% of adults used only landline services as their preferred telephony service. According to the same statistics, 67.2% of South Carolina minors under the age of 18 used wireless services, while only 1.9% used only landlines service as their preferred telephony service. It appears that the majority of the population of Richland County prefers wireless telephony services to landlines.
The major phone carriers that operate in Richland County include AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Verizon provides the best coverage in Richland County with 100%. AT&T follows with 82% coverage and T-Mobile with 78% coverage. Sprint offers the least coverage with about 59.4%. Note that the phone service coverage may be lower in rural areas than in major cities. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) also offer good coverage in South Carolina. MVNOs resell services offered by major network carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon to residents at lower prices. Examples of MNVOs in Richland County include ting, tello, and Republic wireless. MVNO telephone services have consistently topped the customer service satisfaction ranks in South Carolina.
While wireless telephones are more prevalent in Richland county, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has experienced an increase in usage. VoIP uses broadband internet connections as the medium to make phone calls, video calls, and send text messages. It has become a strong competitor to landlines and cell phones due to its cost-effectiveness and flexibility in Richland County.
What Are Richland County Phone Scams?
Richland County phone scams are actions perpetrated by persons intending to steal money or personal information from residents using phone services. Reverse phone number lookup services can be used to uncover the identities of scam callers. Individuals who have fallen victim to phone scams in Richland County can file reports on the Richland County Sheriff Department (RSCD) website.
What are Impersonation Scams?
Impersonation scams are tactics used by scammers to defraud unsuspecting victims over the phone. In these scams, the callers impersonate legitimate businesses or government agencies to request money or obtain valuable information from their targets. In Richland County, there have been cases of scammers calling residents, posing as the Sheriff’s Deputy from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. The scammers tell the victims that they had signed certified letters for jury duty but did not show up. They state that this has resulted in warrants for their arrest, which can only be resolved if the victims send payment.
Note that the Sheriff’s Department does not call residents to demand money or personal information. Residents should never give out their financial or personal information when responding to unsolicited calls. A reverse phone lookup service can help answer the question “who is this number registered to.”
What are Investment Scams?
Investment scams involve scammers getting individuals to put up money for questionable investments or investments that do not exist at all. A common investment scam involves a victim being persuaded to pay money upfront to take advantage of a seemingly great offer promising a lot more money in return. Once the money is paid, the victim never hears from them again. Sometimes, scammers impersonate known investment firms or business organizations. Phone number search services can help verify if these calls are made by legitimate businesses.
What are Charity Scams?
In Charity scams, scammers seek donations on behalf of organizations that do not exist. In some cases, they impersonate legitimate charity organizations. The money these scammers are able to gather is eventually embezzled. These scams can happen at any time, but they are usually more common after a high-profile disaster has happened. Scammers often use tragedies to exploit unsuspecting residents who want to help. Always apply caution and do your research when seeking to donate to charitable causes. Before making any donation over the phone, use a free reverse phone lookup to verify if the person calling is actually from a legitimate charity.
What are Recovery Scams?
Recovery scammers target people who have previously lost money in scams. Usually, the scammers ask the victims to pay money upfront to help them recover the money they lost. Under the Telemarketing Sales Rule, debt recovery agents are prohibited from requesting or accepting any form of payment until seven business days after they have helped their clients recover their money. Therefore, residents who receive such offers must not give money or their credit card information to anyone offering to help them recover their lost money, especially if the caller asks for a fee in advance. Good reverse phone lookup services can help verify if these calls are from legitimate debt recovery agencies.
What are Family Imposter Scams?
The family phone scam is a common scam in Richland County. Here, the scammer pretends to be a family member who is in danger and needs money urgently. It is usually targeted at the elderly. A suspicious phone number lookup can reveal the identity of such a caller.
What are Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Scams?
Richland County Internal Revenue Service scams involve scammers fraudulently posing as tax agents to collect payments from residents. A scammer posing as an IRS agent calls a resident, claiming that they owe back taxes. The scammer then threatens the residents with an impending audit. Note that the IRS office will never make such a call. The Richland Sheriff’s Department has warned residents to be vigilant of criminals posing as tax agents and to report any loss of money to the department. Victims may also file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
A robocall is an automated telephone call that delivers a prerecorded message. It may sometimes direct the recipient to follow specific instructions to connect to an agent. Typically, robocalls are used by telemarketers, political parties, or government agencies in making public service announcements. However, scammers also take advantage of these calls and use them to scam people by selling fake products and services or asking them to give sensitive personal information over the phone. Robocalls fall into the category of spam calls, especially when they are used for fraudulent acts.
Individuals who receive such robocalls may take the following actions:
- Terminate the call immediately and do not follow any prompts required.
- Register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). There are no charges to register on the Do Not Call Registry. Note that it may take 3 days for the registered number to stop receiving robocalls from telemarketers.
- Use the inbuilt call blocking features on your phone to block out robocalls. Alternatively, use third-party mobile applications that offer call-blocking services at no cost.
- Use reverse phone number lookup services to identify robocalls
- Report illegal robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission online or call 1-888-382-1222
How to Spot and Report Richland County Phone Scams?
Phone scammers use several devious means to defraud residents. Therefore, it is important to be cautious and vigilant when dealing with any suspicious calls. These scammers often hide their identities. Phone lookup applications help unmask the true identities of scam callers. The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs publishes several phone scam indicators for residents to look out for. Such indicators include the following:
- Unsolicited calls from people asking for personal or financial information are most likely scams. Lawful government agencies and businesses do not make such requests. Hang up if you receive such a call and do not give them any information.
- Any call describing a seemingly high-return investment opportunity as an “opportunity of a lifetime” is most likely a scam. Such attractive opportunities usually distract the victim from being critical and doing any findings on the company.
- If the caller requests payment before you can claim a lottery, grant, or holiday package, it is most likely a scam. Terminate the call immediately and do not give away any financial information.
- Scammers will often ask for payment through methods that make it hard to get the money back, such as through gift cards or prepaid cards. With these payment methods, once the money is sent to the scammers, it becomes untraceable and impossible to retrieve.
A reverse phone lookup service helps uncover the identity of any suspicious caller. Government agencies in Richland County also help protect residents against scams. These agencies include:
Richland County Sheriff’s Department: Victims of scams can file reports with the Richland Sheriff’s Department online or by calling 803-576-3103. Note that any scam or fraud that results in a loss of over $1000 cannot be reported over the phone or online. It is advisable to visit the Sheriff’s Department to file a report in person.
South Carolina Department Consumer Affairs: The SCDCA is the state’s Consumer Protection Agency. The Department is charged with investigating consumer complaints in South Carolina. The SCDCA also provides relevant information on the consumer laws that regulate the consumer marketplace in the state. Victims of scams can file complaints with the SCDCA or call the agency on 1-8800-92-1594. They can also send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
South Carolina Attorney General’s Office: Victims of fraud can contact the office by calling 803-737-3953 to report.
Better Business Bureau: The Business Bureau is an organization that provides relevant information to consumers on scams or fraudulent business practices in Richland County. In the event of a dispute, the BBB in South Carolina’s complaint process allows the parties involved to resolve the dispute and come to a mutually agreeable resolution.
Federal Trade Commission: The FTC enforces laws that protect consumers from fraud or deceptive business practices. The FTC website provides several solutions to consumer complaints on its website. Scam victims can file reports to the FTC. The FTC investigates filed reports and brings cases against businesses that are reported.