What are Charles County Area Codes?
Located in the southern part of Maryland, Charles County occupies an area measuring 643 square miles and is Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metropolitan area. Its county seat is the Town of La Plata and a 2019 estimate puts the population of the county at 163,257.
There are two area codes covering the communities that make up Charles County. These are area codes 240 and 301. Area codes are numeric designations for numbering plan areas (NPAs). Area codes and NPAs were introduced when AT&T created the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) in 1947. The NANP made call routing and switching more efficient across North American phone networks and exchanges. The Plan divided the United States into NPAs and assigned area codes to these. Phone numbers issued within an NPA bear the same area code. In a typical 10-digit US phone number, the first three digits represent the area code.
Area Code 301
Area code 301 is one of the original 86 area codes created in the country when the NANP was introduced in 1947. It covered the entirety of Maryland for 44 years until area code 401 was split off in 1991. Communities in Charles County served by area code 301 include Indian Head, La Plata, Waldorf, and Port Tobacco.
Area Code 240
Introduced on June 1, 1997, area code 240 was created in an overlay plan to unlock more phone numbers for the 301 NPA. This is the first overlay area code for the State of Maryland and it covers most of the same communities as area code 301. Municipalities in Charles County served by area code 240 include Charlotte Hall, Faulkner, Hughesville, Indiana Head, La Plata, Waldorf, and Port Tobacco.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Charles County?
Like the rest of the state, most of the residents of Charles County still used their landline phones along with wireless phones. A 2018 survey investigating wireless substitution among American phone users was conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. The results of the survey showed that only 39.4% of adults in Maryland exclusively use wireless phones for telecommunication. Three percent of this demographic still relied solely on their landline phones. The percentage of wireless-only phone users was recorded as higher among minors in the state. About 49.1% of Maryland residents under the age of 18 indicated that they only use wireless phones. This is in contrast with a paltry 0.8% of this age group that still used landline phones only.
Residents of Charles County can sign up for phone services from national carriers as well as smaller, regional operators. The Big Three carriers offer extensive coverage of Maryland. AT&T leads the pack with 98.4% coverage of the state while T-Mobile and Verizon cover 94.2% and 91.3% of Maryland respectively. Regional carriers operating in the state are Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). These smaller operators rely on the network services of the national carriers and buy network services in bulk from them. They can offer cheaper cell phone plans because they pass on some of the savings to their subscribers.
Besides landline and cell phone service providers, VoIP operators also offer phone services in Maryland and Charles County. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) enables voice transmission over the internet by sending these signals as data packets. VoIP phone services require broadband internet access. For Charles County residents and businesses with fast internet access, VoIP can help reduce their phone bills. VoIP phone services cost less for long-distance and teleconferencing calls and users can make calls from the computers and tablets alongside their phones.
What are Charles County Phone Scams?
These are telephone frauds committed in Charles County or targeting people and organizations in the county. Fraudsters running phone scams use calls and text messages to contact their victims and trick them into sending money or releasing their confidential information. These scammers use robocalls and spam calls to find new targets for their cons and then use caller ID spoofing and voice phishing to impersonate the people they know or respect.
Residents of Charles County are not without phone tools to help them combat telephone frauds. They can avoid scammers with call blocking and unmask these fraudsters with reverse phone number lookup. Along with using these tools, those living in Charles County need to know about the scams commonly reported in their communities in order to avoid phone scams. The Consumer Protection Division of the Maryland Office of the Attorney General publishes consumer alerts and identifies the following as the most common phone scams in the state: credit repair scams, foreign lottery scams, overpayment scams, and investment scams.
What are Charles County Credit Repair Scams?
Fraudsters running credit repair scams target those who have trouble repaying the debts and denied loans because of their poor credit scores. They promise victims that they can help repair their credits for amounts ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. It is important for Charles County residents targeted by such scammers to know that there are no shortcuts to repairing their credits. It will take time and timely repayment of their debts to fix their poor credit ratings.
Only scammers promise to repair bad credits in a short amount of time. They may abscond with their victims’ money or suggest ineffective and illegal steps such as changing their identities and getting new Social Security numbers. If contacted by a stranger claiming to be able to fix a bad credit, ask them how they hope to do so and discuss these solutions with your financial advisor and lawyer. If the caller claims they are employees of a credit card company, a law enforcement officer, or a government official, run a reverse phone lookup to verify their identity. This search is likely to show that the caller is not affiliated with the legitimate organization they claim to represent and may reveal that their number has been flagged for previous scams.
What are Charles County Foreign Lottery Scams?
In a foreign lottery scam, the fraudster gets the victim excited about winning a huge amount in a lottery. Such scammers choose foreign lotteries because these are harder to investigate and verify. After congratulating the victim on winning a lottery they have never heard of and did not enter, the scammer then asks them to pay a certain amount to claim their prize. This amount is supposedly to cover tax and processing fees.
Charles County residents targeted by foreign lottery scams should know that it is illegal to collect money from lottery winners before giving them their prizes. They should also know that there is no chance of winning a lottery they did not enter. If contacted by strange callers claiming they won such lotteries, they search the callers’ numbers using suspicious phone number lookup websites.
What are Charles County Overpayment Scams?
Overpayment scams are closely linked with check frauds. In these scams, fraudulent individuals and businesses send checks in amounts in excess of what was promised to their victims. These checks can be payment for goods or services rendered, salaries for online employment, or lottery/sweepstakes winnings. The scammers then ask their victims to wire back the overpaid amounts while they deposit the checks. Only after said the overpayment do victims know they were paid with fake checks.
Residents of Charles County should be suspicious of anyone paying them with checks for amounts in excess to what they are due. If such payers request refunding the overpaid amounts, wary residents should wait until their checks clear before sending back the overpayments. In the meantime, they can investigate such contacts by searching their numbers with free reverse phone lookup services.
What are Charles County Investment Scams?
Investment scammers are great salespeople and fast talkers. They will try to convince their targets to put down money for some great investments they claim will deliver huge returns and have no downsides. Investment scams sold range from health products and energy deals to precious metal and cryptocurrencies.
While selling their bogus investments aggressively, these scammers provide testimonials you cannot confirm. Do not be hurried to invest in a stranger’s offer no matter how attractive they make it look. Take the time to think about such deals, consult an investment advisor, search online for real testimonials from people who have worked with the caller, and use phone number search to verify the identity of the person pitching the investment.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated phone calls that deliver pre-recorded messages to large numbers of phone users. These calls are placed by auto-dialers and the messages delivered are usually recorded with voice synthesizers. Public organizations use robocalls to deliver public service announcements because they are easy and cheap ways of contacting lots of people. Political groups and telemarketers also use them as cost-effective and fast mass communication tools. Unfortunately, these qualities have also made them popular with scammers.
Spam calls are also unwanted phone calls placed in bulk to lots of phone users. However, these are usually placed by humans reading from prepared scripts. With so many robocalls and spam calls sent to American phone users every day, there are urgent calls to find lasting solutions to the scourge of these unsolicited calls. Residents of Charles County looking for ways to stop or curb robocalls and spam calls should consider the following steps:
- Hang up on a robocall or spam call as soon as you discover you are on one
- Do not answer calls from unknown numbers. Let these go to voicemail where you can review the messages left
- Do not follow instructions given during robocalls and spam calls on how to stop receiving these calls. Following such prompts only leads to more unwanted calls
- Set up your phone to block calls from unknown numbers or blacklisted ones. Call blocking is also provided by carriers and third-party app developers. When install a call blocking app, choose one with good reviews
- Use reverse phone number search to identify unknown callers. This can help you unmask scammers, spammers, and stalkers and provide useful information to include in police reports
- Register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. Numbers on this registry do not receive telemarketing calls. If you still receive telemarketing calls after 31 days of joining this registry, they are likely from scammers and dubious telemarketers. Report such illegal robocalls
How to Spot and Report Charles County Phone Scams
Spotting phone scams demands learning how telephone frauds progress and how scammers operate. While fraudsters tweak their scams every now and then, they still aim to defraud their targets and steal confidential information. Therefore, new scams still retain certain signs that give them away. To avoid phone scams, residents of Charles County should look out for the following red flags:
- Threats - scammers impersonating authority figures, such as law enforcement and IRS employees, often threaten their targets to scare them into compliance. They threaten consequences such as arrest, prosecution, tax audits, deportation, and license revocation
- Odd payment requests - while impersonating trusted organizations, scammers ask their victims to send money to their personal accounts. They may request to be paid with cash, prepaid debit cards, gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrencies. Payments via such channels are difficult to trace and reverse
- Odd information requests - government agencies and private organizations do not request information they already have on file from residents and customers
- Aggressive sales tactics - fraudsters pitching bogus business and investment opportunities pressure their targets into making quick decisions and sending money immediately
- Refusal to provide written documentation - scammers are usually unable to provide documents to support their claims or prove their identities
Residents who find these signs while talking to strangers on the phone can confirm their suspicion with quick reverse phone lookups. After identifying scammers, they should report them to the right authorities. Reports of phone scams help law enforcement agencies find and prosecute fraudsters. They also help consumer protection agencies warn the public about how scammers operate. Charles County residents can report phone scams to the following authorities:
- The Consumer Protection Division of the Maryland Office of the Attorney General - the state’s consumer protection unit mediates complaints about unfair business practices and can prosecute consumer scams. Report a telephone fraud involve a consumer transaction to this Division by calling (410) 528-8662 or 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free or following instructions for filing a consumer complaint
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - this is the nation’s consumer protection agency and it is responsible for safeguarding American consumers from unfair and deceptive business practices. To fulfil this role, the FTC investigates consumer scams. Residents of Charles County can report such fraudulent activities to the FTC by calling (877) 382-4357 or filing their fraud complaints online
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - this federal agency regulates all communication in the US and oversees the telecommunications industry. In addition to regulating phone companies and the use of phone services and tools, it also enforces the National Do Not Call Registry. Therefore, you can report illegal robocalls, spam calls, phishing, and caller ID spoofing to the FCC. Residents of Charles County can also visit the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center to report phone scams