An area code is the block of three digits at the beginning of a local telephone number. Area codes are used to distinguish the different Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs) in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) oversees area codes management in Pierce County.
Only one area code serves Pierce County and sections of other counties in Washington.
Area code 253
A split from area code 206, area code 253 is the Washington telephone area code in the NANP that serves the City of Tacoma. Other nearby communities covered by this code include Roy, Bonney Lake, DuPont, and Fife. It was introduced for service in April 1997.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Pierce County?
Wireless telephony services are more prominently used than landlines in Washington State. A 2018 NCHS survey indicated that those above 18 years who used only cell phones accounted for 58.2% of the total adult population. In contrast, 5% of the adult population made up the proportion who used landlines alone. A similar pattern occurred among children (below 18 years), wherein 66.6% were exclusive cell-phone users. Comparatively, landline-only phone users constituted only 2.3% of that demographic. These results imply that more residents use wireless telephony services than landline telephones in Pierce County.
The State of Washington is well-served by the four major network carriers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. However, their coverage is generally better in urban regions, like the county seat, than in the rural areas. The best coverage is provided by AT&T, which covers 79.3% of the state. Verizon offers the second-best coverage at 69.2%, while T-Mobile covers 62.9%. Sprint offers the least coverage with signals spanning 30.1% of the state.
The adoption of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) within Tacoma and other large cities has been very impressive. However, VoIP penetration has not been as robust in low-population towns and many rural communities like Gig Harbour and Key Peninsula. A 2019 broadband fiber study identified inadequate broadband infrastructure within Pierce County as a limitation to VoIP penetration. It, however, proposed a comprehensive broadband infrastructure expansion since VoIP thrives where high-speed internet is readily accessible.
What are Pierce County Phone Scams?
Phone scams are frauds perpetrated using telecommunication products and services. They are attempts targeted at county residents and aiming to obtain sensitive information and funds falsely. The Washington State Office of the Attorney General issues consumer safety information and alerts on widespread scams. Residents affected by scams can lodge online complaints with the Attorney General’s Office or file reports with the FTC.
The following phone scams are widespread in Pierce County:
What are COVID-19 Charity Scams?
The Washington Attorney General warns residents to be wary of COVID-19 charity scammers who use the current crisis to solicit donations. Scammers, claiming to represent reputable charities, exploit residents’ generosity and willingness to help. County locals who have been targets of fraudulent solicitations should file complaints with the Washington Attorney General’s Office or call the Charities Program at 1 (800) 332-4483
If you are contacted for donations by charitable organizations, you can also verify the charity’s authenticity from the Secretary of State. You can also retrieve information on these scammers with reverse phone lookup services.
What are Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams?
These scams are initiated when scammers contact their targets with news of huge winnings or prizes. They often identify themselves as representatives of reputable lottery or sweepstakes companies like the Publisher’s Clearing House or Reader’s Digest. The scammers then request that residents pay taxes and processing fees for prizes or lottery winnings before they can receive them.
Running scammers’ phone numbers through phone number lookup free services can yield valuable information connected to the scammers. Legitimate sweepstakes will never ask you to pay “service fees” or buy products to claim a prize. If you have been solicited for these types of advance payments, call the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department on (253) 798-7530.
What are Jury Duty and Traffic Ticket Scams?
Pierce County law enforcement agencies have drawn residents’ attention to these scams. Scammers impersonate law enforcement officers and call residents using spoofed phone numbers of local law enforcement agencies. They threaten their marks with arrests for missing jury duty, court dates, or unpaid traffic tickets. To avoid arrest, victims are instructed to make payment using prepaid debit cards.
The Sheriff’s Department reminds locals that its officers will never demand payment on unsolicited calls. A resident who receives this call should call the Sheriff’s Department on (253) 798-7530 to verify the caller’s authenticity and claims. They can also perform reverse cell phone lookups to ascertain the origins of suspicious calls.
What are Grandparent Scams?
Elderly residents are the typical marks of these scams where fraudsters impersonate their grandchildren in distress to trick them into sending money. Putting up compelling acts, these scammers request for money to be sent immediately by wire transfer. A hallmark of this scam is the call for secrecy by the “ grandchildren” to prevent their targets from contacting other family members. The scammers usually possess information about the grandchildren that they obtained from social media accounts. In typical reports of these scams, the grandchildren claim to have been arrested in foreign countries and need bail and lawyers fees.
The Sheriff’s Department urges residents to exercise caution if they receive these types of calls. Most people will be in haste to assist their loved ones, which the scammers are counting on. Always verify the callers’ identities thoroughly before acceding to their requests. Residents, who suspect fraudsters impersonated their grandchildren, can conduct phone number searches to answer the question: “who called me?”
What are Robocall Scams and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated telephone calls that convey pre-recorded messages. Although they are often unsolicited, robocalls serve legitimate purposes for debt collectors, charities, and politicians. Their recent notoriety arises from their appropriation by scammers. Scammers use robocalls to anonymously direct large volumes of calls to residents at little cost. Furthermore, scammers can mask their identities and impersonate whoever best serves their fraudulent intentions. However, reverse phone lookup free services can be used to identify incoming robocalls and check these scammers’ actions.
Residents who receive robocalls can take the following actions:
- End the call immediately. Decline any automated suggestion to connect to a live agent or remove your number from the robocall’s list. Doing any of this will mark you down for more spam calls.
- Check with your wireless carrier for free spam identification and call-blocking solutions. Most carriers offer anti-spam apps that are either pre-installed or can be freely downloaded by their consumers.
- Locate public websites that render free reverse phone lookups to confirm robocall numbers and block them.
- Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry. Once your number is listed on this registry, legitimate businesses and telemarketers are barred from contacting you. This will help you effectively identify future robocalls as potential scam calls.
- File complaints with the FTC by calling 1 (888) 382-1222 or by submitting online reports.
Also accessible on the FTC’s website are instructions on how to block unwanted calls on different platforms.
How To Spot and Report Pierce County Phone Scams?
The best tools for spotting phone scams are consumer education and awareness. This is because scammers ceaselessly evolve novel tricks to hide their identities and steal their targets’ personal information. Keeping informed on scammers’ tactics and remaining aware of the possibility helps residents avoid falling victim to scams. Using reverse phone number lookup tools to query unknown phone numbers can help uncover phone scams. The following are actions that characterize phone scams:
- Scammers use attention-grabbing offers to lure unsuspecting victims. Examples of these offers include being awarded grants you never applied for and winning lotteries you did not enter.
- Fraudsters often request advance payments, claiming these are processing fees or taxes, before promised offers or gifts can be received. They may even attempt to gain your trust by saying that they are only looking out for your best interest.
- Scammers employ high-pressure tactics to compel their marks to pay immediately or give up financial information like passwords, credit card details, and PINs. They use threats of arrest, lawsuit, and utility service disconnection to get their victims to send payment without delay.
- Scammers love to use untraceable payment methods to avoid leaving trails for law enforcement to follow. Payments made via channels like wire transfers, reloadable debit cards, gift cards, and even cash are rarely recovered.
- Scammers try to obtain victims’ sensitive information to commit identity theft. They feign affiliation to legitimate companies to request for this information from unsuspecting residents. Legitimate organizations do not ask for consumer personal information on unsolicited phone calls.
Understanding that scammers can target anybody and learning what to look out for remains one of the best ways to tackle scams. Various phone lookup tools can also identify the persons behind suspicious phone calls and successfully avoid scams. Public organizations that have devoted resources in combating the scourge of scams include:
Federal Trade Commission - The FTC ensures that consumers are safe from fraudulent and unfair trade practices. They set up the National Do Not Call Registry to halt widespread and unregulated sales calls from telemarketers and commercial firms. Although this platform does not block all unwanted calls, it makes spotting scam calls easier. The FTC issues call-blocking instructions to defend against spam calls. Complaints about illegal robocalls and fraudulent acts can be forwarded to the FTC online or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222.
Federal Communications Commission - The FCC regulates domestic and foreign communications in America. They equip residents with consumer safety information and enforce protection policies against telephone scams and unlawful robocalls. Instructions on how to stop unwanted robocalls and avoid phone scams are available to consumers from the FCC. Victims of robocalls and phone imposter scams can file complaints with the FCC.
Pierce County Sheriff’s Department - The Sheriff’s Department fights crime and guarantees residents’ safety in Pierce County. They also provide residents with updates on common scams and identity theft. County locals who suspect scam activities against them or others can file online reports with the Sheriff’s Department. Also, residents can forward crime tips anonymously to Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers online or call 1 (800) 222-TIPS.
Through its Consumer Protection Division, Washington State Office of the Attorney General - The Attorney General’s Office educates state residents and businesses about consumer issues. They also enforce consumer safety laws to protect residents from unfair and fraudulent trade practices. Victims can file reports with the Attorney General’s Office by completing the consumer complaints form.