An area code is a three-digit number at the beginning of all North American phone numbers. It identifies a particular telephone service area as a Numbering Plan Area in a state. It is prefixed to each phone number issued in its area and is used for routing calls to their destination. As a part of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), an area code can be used to track the origin and destination of a phone call. The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) implements and maintains Oregon, including Lane County.
Two area codes currently cover Lane County:
Area code 541
Area code 541 is a NANP area code that was created as a split from the503 NPA in 1995. Communities under the area code 541 in Lake County include Eugene, Junction, Coburg, Cottage Grove, Creswell, Dunes City, Florence, Lowell, Oakridge, Springfield, Veneta, Westfir.
Area Code 458
Area code 458 is an overlay of 541. It was officially put into service on February 10, 2010. Area code 458 covers the same communities served by the 541 NPA.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Lane County?
A survey on household telephone status was conducted in Oregon by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2018. Data from the survey showed that 63.4% of adult telephone users preferred wireless-only telephone services, and only 5.6% still use landline telephony service solely. Most younger telephone users (under 18) in Oregon have migrated towards wireless-only telephony service with a total of 73.6% subscription, while landline-only users made up a paltry 2.1% of the children population. This indicates an increased preference for cell phones in Oregon.
The four major national carriers all cover Lane County. Verizon has the best network coverage at 74.4%, followed by AT&T with a 69.5% spread. T-mobile serves less than half of the county's cell phone subscribers with 47.3% coverage, while Sprint covers 19.3% of the county. Besides the major phone carriers, Lane County also has a variety of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) providing network services at more affordable rates.
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has gained wide acceptance among Lane County residents and businesses. The technology uses high-speed internet connections to transmit telephone services between users via devices such as tablets, smartphones, other internet-enabled devices, and even landlines. VoIP offers Lane County residents better call quality, more flexibility, and it is scalable.
What are Lane County Phone Scams?
Lane County phone scams are fraudulent schemes by scammers through live phone calls, robocalls, or text messages to defraud county residents. Phone scammers aim to steal their targets' money and coerce them into disclosing confidential information such as their personal identification number, checking account numbers, and credit card information. The Oregon Attorney General's Office encourages residents to sign up for scam alerts in order to keep abreast of current scams. Good reverse phone number lookup services can help residents identify who called them with suspicious phone numbers.
Lane County residents who are victims of phone scams can report to the Consumer Protection Unit of the Oregon Department of Justice(DOJ). The following agencies protect Lane County residents against phone scams:
- Eugene Police Department/local police departments
- Lane County Sheriff's Office
- The Federal Trade Commission
- Federal Communications Commission
Some phone scams are common in Lane County. These include:
What are Grandparents Phone Scams?
Also known as emergency scams, grandparent phone scams are prevalent in Lane County. The give-away signs include the involvement of a family member, need for secrecy, and urgent request for money. The usual targets are the elderly. The scammer calls, and pretending to be the grandchild or long-lost nephew of the target, narrates a distressing ordeal and the request for urgent financial help. Their usual scripts include the need to pay a medical bill, bond out of jail, urgent need to leave a foreign country, or the need to pay an overdue student loan or rent. These scammers usually request payment by wire transfer or gift cards.
Some scammers even make the extra effort in investigating the identity of the grandchildren of their potential targets. Occasionally, grandparent scammers can have accomplices who pose as government officials or bail bondsmen to make their schemes more real. A sure way to avoid falling victim to a grandparent scam is to call another family member to verify the caller’s claim. Performing a free reverse phone lookup or area code lookup may return information about the caller’s identity and location.
What are Bank Fraud Examiners Scams?
In this scam, the caller pretends to be a bank fraud examiner or a law enforcement officer. They usually claim to be investigating a fraudulent employee of the bank and require the target’s cooperation. The caller may mention the name of an employee in the target's bank to fool and convince them. The target is required to withdraw some money and transfer it to the examiner for tracking purposes with a promise to return their money after investigation. Such money is usually never returned. Calling the bank immediately or doing a reverse phone look up may reveal the identity of the caller.
What are Law Enforcement Impersonation Scams?
In this scam, the caller impersonates an employee from the Lane County Sheriff's Office to defraud unsuspecting residents. Under this guise, they request confidential financial and personal information from their target. They may also solicit money for various purposes. The County Sheriff's Office cautions residents to be wary of such calls as its officers do not solicit funds or request personal information over the phone. Recipients are advised to always end such calls and report them immediately.
Scammers sometimes spoof their targets’ Caller ID to display the phone numbers of the Lane County Sheriff's Office in a bid to deceive their marks. In such cases, performing a reverse phone lookup may not necessarily answer the question "who is this number registered to?" but will identify such calls as spoofed.
What are Lane County COVID-19 Scams?
Scammers pretend to be contact tracers and call Lane County residents to inform them they have been in contact with persons who tested positive for COVID-19. Under the guise of collecting data to determine the extent of infection, they will request their targets’ confidential information such as social security number, immigration status, and bank details. Residents’ fear of coronavirus makes them vulnerable to these scams.
Lane County Public Health Division Manager cautions that legitimate contact tracers will never request any confidential information. Individuals who receive such calls should hang up immediately and call the Lane County Public Health Office on (541) 682-4041 to verify such claims.
What are IRS Impersonation Scams?
IRS impersonation scams are frequent during tax filing seasons. In these scams, the callers claim to be with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or law enforcement and may even provide fake IRS badge numbers. Typically, they demand their targets to pay up their back taxes or risk arrest, deportation, or suspension of driver's licenses or social security numbers. Their usual targets are immigrants and elderly residents. IRS impersonators usually insist on immediate payment from targeted taxpayers through specific methods. Some of these include prepaid debit cards, gift cards, or wire transfers.
Some of the tell-tale signs of IRS phone scams include:
- Request for confidential information - The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers through phone calls. The typical method is via regular mail
- Threats to bring in local law enforcement
- Leaving urgent messages asking for a return call
Phone number search services will help certify if such calls are really from the IRS.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are phone calls made through automated dialers to deliver pre-recorded messages. The original purpose of robocalls is to disseminate information to a large number of people in the shortest possible time. Many businesses, political organizations, and telemarketers use auto-dialers to put calls across to a large number of people daily at very minimal costs. Robocalls made from charity organizations to solicit funds and political campaign calls are mostly considered legal. However, telemarketers are required to get the consent of recipients before calling them. As such, any unwanted and unsolicited telemarketing call is illegal and regarded as a spam call in Lane County.
Scammers now use robocalls as a cheaper and more effective way to execute their deceptive schemes. Using a phone lookup service may help to determine if an incoming call is a robocall. To opt-out of illegal robocalls and telemarketing calls, county residents are advised to enlist their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.
Additional precautions county residents can take to reduce inundation by robocalls include:
- Allow calls from unknown numbers to go to voicemail. Do not answer them.
- End robocalls. If you answer a call and discover it is a recorded message, hang up immediately.
- Do not follow any instructions/suggestions by a robocall message to press any buttons. It leads to more unwanted calls.
- Activate your phone's default setting for blocking unsolicited calls. All Android and iOS phones/devices have inbuilt settings that enable users to block unwanted phone numbers and flag them as spam.
- Install third-party call-blocking apps on your phone. Common ones include Truecaller, YouMail, and Nomorobo.
- Report robocalls to the FTC online or call 1 (888) 382-1222.
- File robocall complaints online with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
How to Spot and Report Lane County Phone Scams
Fraudsters are constantly crafting new scams to trick residents into disclosing their confidential information. They use scare tactics, impersonation, and deception to get their targets to divulge bank information, passwords, Social Security Numbers and grant remote access to their devices.
In 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received 2.2 million fraud complaints from consumers, with imposter scams topping the list. A whopping $1.2 billion was also lost to the scam in the same year. Reverse phone searches may help reveal the identity of these scammers, but having first-hand knowledge of their tricks better equips residents to protect themselves.
The tell-tale signs of phone scams include:
- The caller persuades you to divulge personal information such as credit card details, social security number, date of birth, or bank information. No legitimate organization will request confidential information over the phone.
- The caller pressures you into making on-the-spot payment decisions. Such decisions often cause loss of funds or disclosure of confidential information.
- The caller pretends to be a long-lost relative, usually in a foreign nation, in need of urgent financial assistance for an emergency. Such funds must be sent immediately through a specific payment method, and the call must be kept a secret from other members of the family.
- The caller spoofs the phone number of the local police or County Sheriff's Office to intimidate residents into giving up confidential information that can be used for identity theft. At times, they demand payment for various reasons and threaten to file an action against their targets or arrest them.
To further guard against chances of being scammed, residents should regularly perform reverse phone number lookups on incoming calls.
County residents who believe they may have been scammed, or are being targeted for scams can report or file complaints with the following agencies to seek redress:
- Lane County Sheriff's Office: An individual who has been contacted by a suspected phone scammer can report the incident to the County Sheriff. It is best to record the conversation and note the suspicious phone number. Lane County Sheriff's Office can be reached at (541) 682-4150.
- Lane County District Attorney: The District Attorney is the chief law enforcement officer in Lane County. Scams victims may contact the DA's office at (541) 682-4261 to file reports. They may also file their complaints via email.
- The Oregon Attorney General's Office: The Attorney General's Office is the chief law enforcement agency in Oregon. The Consumer Protection Unit handles all complaints and reports about scams and frauds. Contact the office via their Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Also, a scam victim can file a complaint with the DOJ by completing a consumer complaint form online.
- The Federal Communications Commission: The FCC encourages victims of illegal robocalls to file complaints with them online.
- The Federal Trade Commission: By registering their phone numbers on the FTC's National Do Not Call Registry, residents can reduce robocalls inundation. Any unsolicited call received 31 days after enlisting a phone number on the registry is a potential scam call. Victims of Do Not Call violations can report to the FTC. Also, residents who are phone scam victims or who have been contacted by suspected scammers can report the incidents online.