What are King County Area Codes?
Distinct Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs) represented by area codes were assigned to different regions when the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) was introduced. Area codes are the block of three digits that begin American phone numbers. The area codes in Washington are regulated by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Committee (UTC), as authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The area codes serving King County are 206, 253, 360, 425, and 564.
Area code 206 formerly served the whole of Washington State but now only covers King and Kitsap counties. Major cities that fall under this area code include Seattle, Shoreline, Burien, SeaTac, Mercer Island, Des Moines, Bainbridge Island, Tukwila, White Center, Vashon, Riverton, and Normandy Park.
Area code 425 was activated in 1997 and serves parts of King County and Snohomish County. Major cities in King County under this area code include Bellevue, Bothell, Duvall, Issaquah, Kent, Maple Valley, Medina, North Bend, Preston, Snoqualmie, Skykomish, and parts of Seattle.
Area code 564 is an overlay of area code 360 and serves the same communities.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in King County?
A 2018 CDC report indicated that 58.2% of adults in Washington used wireless phones exclusively. On the other hand, 5% of the state’s adults used landline phones exclusively. The shift towards wireless phone usage was more obvious among residents younger than 18. In this demographic, 66.6% relied solely on wireless phones for telecommunication while only 2.3% used landline phones exclusively.
None of the four major network operators offer total cellular coverage in Washington. AT&T leads the pack with a coverage strength of 79%. Verizon and T-Mobile follow with 69% and 63% coverage strengths respectively. Sprint only offers a coverage strength of about 30%.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is another telephony service that has gained popularity and already outpaces traditional landlines. VoIP connects calls via the internet and offers benefits like lower cost, increased flexibility, and improved convenience. VoIP services providers are available in King County and offer telephone services to homes and businesses.
What are King County Phone Scams?
These are phone scams executed over the telephone to defraud King County residents and steal personal information for identity theft. The King County Sheriff’s Office identified some of these scams and issued alerts to make residents aware and help them avoid falling victims. The Sheriff’s Office also has an online complaint platform for victims of phone scams. Alternatively, residents can use the Federal Trade Commission’s complaints assistance page to report phone scams.
The following phone scams are commonly reported in King county:
What are Grandparent Scams?
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) asked residents to be wary of calls allegedly from grandchildren seeking funds for emergencies. Scammers target older women via telephone calls and assume the identities of distant grandsons. A scammer will claim to have been in an accident and need funds wired to him for hospital bills. Verify the authenticity of the identity of any relation in an emergency before sending money to them. A phone number lookup on the number used in making that call can reveal the scammer’s identity.
What are Bogus Charities Scams?
Residents are called and asked to donate to charities that sound legitimate. Scammers impersonating representatives of legitimate charities or using fake charities divert donations sent to their accounts. Research a charity seeking contributions before sending your donation. A phone number search will be useful in this regard. The Attorney General’s office warned residents to be wary of this scam and always check if the charity is registered with the Secretary of State before donating.
What are Bank Investigator Scams?
These scammers call and pose as law enforcement officers and claim to need the targets’ help in apprehending dishonest bank employees. They make their targets withdraw large sums of money supposedly for sting operations to apprehend bank tellers. However, they disappear with the money and leave their targets hanging. Using reverse phone lookup, the target can easily determine that a caller claiming to be an investigator is not an officer of the law.
What are Sweepstakes Scams?
Scammers trick victims into sending money orders to redeem sweepstakes they have purportedly won. The fraudsters reach out to targets and inform them they have won huge sums of money in sweepstakes, usually in Canada or other states. The catch is that victims are made to send money orders upfront before prizes are redeemed. A phone number lookup by address can reveal the origins of such a call and help you avoid becoming a victim of this scam. Recently, a criminal was convicted for executing this scam in King County. Security experts pointed out some red flags to look for. These include being notified of winning lotteries you do not remember entering and being instructed to wire some cash upfront to claim your winning.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated messages delivered by phone calls placed by automated dialers. Some robocalls are legitimate and used by businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies to contact residents. However, scammers have found ways to use robocalls to defraud residents.
Phone manufacturers and network operators offer tools for blocking robocalls and suspected spam calls. Phone manufacturers offer these tools as built-in features in their devices. Network operators also offer spam detection and call blocking tools to subscribers as free and paid services.
To cut down on the number of spam calls and robocalls reaching your phone, try the following:
- Hang up as soon as you recognize a call as a robocall.
- Do not push any button as instructed by the automated message of the robocall. Following provided prompts will only lead to more robocalls.
- Block the number used for the robocall or spam call.
- List your number on the National Do Not Registry. It will alert legitimate telemarketers that you do not want to receive robocalls and keep them away.
- Report any robocall abuse to the Sheriff’s office or the FTC.
The FTC also provides helpful resources to avoid robocalls on its website.
How to Spot and Report King County Phone Scams?
King County residents have to stay informed of current scams and read the information put out by government agencies on ways to avoid these scams. Some of the identified phone scam red flags that every resident should know include:
- Scammers will request upfront payments to redeem prizes, process lottery winnings, or provide business and work opportunities.
- Scammers make aggressive calls and threaten residents with arrest over taxes and levies owed. Government agencies do not call residents and threaten them over unpaid debts.
- Scammers want payments via channels that are hard to trace to make funds difficult to recover. These include gift cards, cash reload cards, and wire transfers.
- Callers that try to obtain personal information using subtle threats and outright coercion are scammers. Representatives of government agencies will not coerce sensitive information out of residents.
- If that investment offer looks too good to be true, it is most likely a scam. Scammers claim such offers are fleeting and want their targets to make immediate commitments to avoid taking a closer look at the terms of the offers.
- Robocalls received after a month of adding your number to the National Do Not Call Registry are from scammers.
With scammers coming out with new strategies to commit frauds, King County residents have to be on the lookout for information on avoiding them. Conducting reverse phone searches on unknown numbers will also help prevent phone scams as this can help reveal scammers’ identities.
King County residents can obtain helpful information and report phone scams to the following government agencies:
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) protects the interests of consumers. Their regular scam alerts are comprehensive and get updated periodically. The commission also maintains the National Do Not Call Registry, where victims of robocalls can add their number. The FTC also provides a complaints page for reporting phone scams.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversees the telecommunications industry. As the regulator, the FCC has urged the telephone carriers to improve the technology behind caller authentication to end robocalls and phone spoofing. They also provide resources on identifying phone spoofing, stopping robocalls, and using call blocking to the public. Victims of phone scams can file their complaints with the FCC.
Scam alerts are also provided by the Office of the Attorney General of Washington. King County residents can also register here to get updated scam alerts as newsletters regularly. The Attorney General’s office has a complaints platform for reporting phone scams. The King’s County Sheriff’s Office provides regular information on phone scams. Residents can report any fraudulent activities online or call (206) 296-3311 to file their reports. The Sheriff’s office can conduct a reverse phone number lookup on the number used to commit a phone scam to answer the question: “who is this number registered to?” and arrest the scammer behind the number.