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What are Linn County Area Codes?

There are four area codes serving the communities in Linn County. These are area codes 541, 458, 503, and 971. Area codes are numeric designations for numbering plan areas (NPAs). The creation of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) in 1947 led to the introduction of three-digit area codes and NPAs in North America. This system replaced the different ones in place before its introduction. The NANP simplified call switching and routing across North American telephone exchanges and networks by eliminating conflicting handover protocols and giving participating countries a unified system. In a typical 10-digit phone number assigned in the US, the area code is represented by the first three digits.

Area Code 503

This is one of the first 86 area codes assigned in the US in 1947 when the NANP was introduced. It covered the entire State of Oregon for 48 years until it was split on November 5, 1995. This split shrank the 503 NPA to the northwestern corner of Oregon, the most densely populated part of the state. Area code 503 serves only a few communities in Linn County, mostly in the far northern part of the county, including Lyons, Scio, and Mill City.

Area Code 971

Put into service on July 1, 1999, area code 971 was created in an overlay plan that expanded phone number availability for the 503 NPA. This overlay code serves the same Oregon counties, and covers the same communities in Linn County, as area code 503.

Area Code 541

Area code 541 was created on November 5, 1995 in a split plan from the 503 NPA. It covers all of Oregon except the northwest corner of the state. Municipalities in Linn County served by area code 541 include Albany, Lebanon, and Sweet Home.

Area Code 458

Introduced on February 10, 2010, area code 458 is an overlay code for the 541 NPA. It serves as a relief code for area code 541 and covers the same communities.

What are Best Cell Phone Plans in Linn County?

Like the rest of Oregon, most people in Linn County have replaced their landline phones with wireless communication devices. A 2018 wireless substitution survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics provided data supporting this trend in wireless substitution in the state. The results of the survey showed that 63.4% of adults in Oregon indicated they solely used wireless phones for their telecommunication needs. In contrast, 5.6% of this demographic were still landline-only phone users. Among minors in the state, 73.6% were wireless-only phone users. On the other hand, 2.1% of Oregon residents under the age of 18 only used landline phones.

Residents of Linn County can sign up for cell phone plans from major carriers as well as smaller carriers operating in the county. Smaller carriers are usually MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) relying on the network infrastructure of national carriers. Among phone service providers in Oregon, Verizon has the most extensive network with 74.4% coverage of the state. AT&T and T-Mobile follow with 69.5% and 47.3% coverage.

MVNOs purchase phone network services in bulk from national carriers. These regional carriers compete with bigger carriers by offering cheaper cell phone plans. They do this by passing on some of the savings from their bulk network purchases to their subscribers.

Besides landlines and cell phones, Linn County residents can also enjoy phone services provided by VoIP operators. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a communication technology that enables voice transmission over the internet as data packets. VoIP phone services provide all of the features of cell and landline phone services as well as unique benefits. It is ideal for video calls and teleconference needs. VoIP phone services also make long-distance calls cheaper and allow subscribers to call from their computers and tablets as well as their phones.

What are Linn County Phone Scams?

These are telephone frauds reported in Linn County or targeting people and organizations in the county. Fraudsters target their victims by calling and texting them. They also use spam calls and robocalls to look for new victims. When contacting their targets, phone scammers may use caller ID spoofing to change their caller identities to ones trusted by their targets. They also impersonate loved ones and authority figures with voice phishing.

Linn County residents can guard against phone scams by being wary of strange callers and learning to use reverse phone lookup and call blocking to unmask and avoid scammers. To stay ahead of phone scammers, residents should also know as much as they can about common telephone frauds in their communities. The Consumer Protection unit of the Oregon Department of Justice provides scam alerts and free fraud prevention training for individuals and organizations in the state. Some of the commonly reported phone scams in Oregon are COVID-19 scams, employment scams, IRS and utility Scams, and grandparent Scams.

What are Linn County COVID-19 Scams?

These take several forms including fraudsters offering test kits, treatments, and vaccines as well as those offering stimulus checks and soliciting donations on behalf of fake charities. Linn County residents should know that not all of these scams are aimed at defrauding their targets. Scammers also use them to steal identity, financial, and medical records.

If contacted by anyone asking that you pay for COVID-19 supplies or provide your personal information to receive stimulus checks or vaccines, hang up immediately. Know that government agencies and healthcare providers do not ask residents for money, Social Security numbers, or Medicare/Medicaid numbers before providing COVID-19 assistance. Confirm the caller’s identity using a free phone number lookup. Call the agency the caller claims to represent to confirm the authenticity of their message.

What are Linn County Employment Scams?

Employment scams target people who are out of work or need work for extra income. Fraudsters calling their targets offer bogus work-at-home jobs and listings of open positions at companies they pretend to represent. They ask their victims to pay for their job placement services before they find work opportunities for them or trick them into divulging sensitive personal information.

Do not send money or release confidential information to a stranger claiming to look for work on your behalf. Do not believe their claims of requiring upfront payment to provide training and other recruitment services. If a stranger hires you for a work-at-home position, be wary of checks received from them as these could be fake. When contacted by a recruiter offering work placements, make sure to confirm that they are legitimate. Find out more about such a caller with a phone number lookup. This search may show that the number has been flagged for a prior scam or that the caller is not who they say they are.

What are Linn County IRS and Utility Scams?

Fraudsters running these scams impersonate employees of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or local utility companies. IRS impersonators may claim their victims need to pay owed taxes or risk getting arrested, jailed, deported, or evicted from their homes. They may also call to offer tax refunds but claim to require their victims’ Social Security numbers, credit card details, or bank account details to verify their identities and process the refunds. Utility scammers call to threaten suspending electricity, gas, or water supply to their victims’ homes and businesses if they do not pay outstanding utility bills.

To avoid these scams, make sure to confirm the identities of the callers before you take another step. Use a suspicious phone number lookup to identify these strangers. If the scammers use caller ID spoofing, their calls may look to be coming from official IRS or utility companies lines. Do not be fooled. Hang up and call the IRS or local utility company by the number listed on their official websites, your last tax returns, or utility bill. Linn County residents should also know that the IRS does not initiate contact by phone, but rather inform taxpayers about outstanding taxes and refunds by mail.

What are Linn County Grandparent Scams?

These scams usually target elderly residents with scammers claiming to be their family members. When they call their victims, these fraudsters pretend to be loved ones, such as grandkids. They tell sob stories of being in emergencies and requiring immediate financial help. While impersonating family members, these fraudsters claim they need the money to pay hospital bills or legal bills or buy flight tickets to come home from foreign countries where they are stuck. They ask that their conversations and the help be kept a secret from other family members.

Linn County residents contacted by loved ones asking for financial help should confirm the callers’ identities and claims before providing such help. Disregard the plea for secrecy and call the loved one directly from the number you have or call other family members to confirm what you heard. You can also use a phone number search to find out if the caller is indeed where they claim they are or if the number used has been flagged for previous scams.

What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?

Robocalls are automated phone calls sent out to deliver pre-recorded messages. These calls are placed by auto-dialers set up to ring long lists of phone numbers. The ease and convenience of robocalls made them popular with telemarketers, political campaigns, and organizations sending out public service announcements. These qualities also make them popular with scammers who, along with dishonest telemarketers, are responsible for the bulk of robocalls received by American phone users.

Spam calls are also bulk phone calls. However, these are usually placed by human agents reading from prepared telemarketing scripts. Like robocalls, spam calls are unwanted and unsolicited. With the large number of robocalls and spam calls received by most residents, it is no wonder that many people are wary of picking their calls. While lawmakers and carriers wrestle with finding lasting solutions to these unwanted calls, Linn County residents can cut down the number of robocalls and spam calls they receive by follow these steps:

  • Do not trust your phone’s caller ID to correctly identify unknown callers. Until carriers implement the STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication system, approach each call with caution
  • Do not pick calls from unknown numbers. Let these go to voicemail where you can listen to the messages left and decide which ones to return
  • Do not continue to listen to a robocall or spam call after you realized you took one
  • Do not follow instructions given during a robocall or spam call on steps to take to stop receiving further calls. Following these prompts will only send more of such unwanted calls your way
  • Set up your phone to block calls from blacklisted numbers or all unknown numbers. In addition to using the call filtering option on your phone, ask your carrier for call blocking tools or install a well-reviewed call blocking app from your phone’s app store
  • Use reverse phone number lookup to identify unknown callers. Such searches can help you unmask scammers, stalkers, and spammers and provide essential information to use in police reports submitted when complaining about these calls
  • Register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry to stop receiving unwanted calls from telemarketers. Know that scammers and dubious telemarketers will keep calling you even after joining this registry. You can report such calls to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

How to Spot and Report Linn County Phone Scams

To spot a phone scam, you need to know what to look for. While scammers often tweak their fraudulent schemes to throw off wary targets, most new scams retain most of the features of old cons. As long as fraudsters aim to defraud their targets or obtain their confidential information by deception, Linn County residents can spot them by looking out for the following signs:

  • Threats of arrest, imprisonment, lawsuits, audits, deportation, and revocation of business, professional, and driver’s license. Scammers impersonating authority figures get desperate when their targets are reluctant to send money or release confidential information. They resort to threats to force compliance
  • Request for payment by cash, prepaid debit cards, gift cards, wire transfer, cryptocurrencies, and mobile app transfers. Government agencies, utility companies, and private enterprises do not ask for payment via these channels and do not ask that residents/customers pay to employees’ personal accounts
  • Request for information they do not need or already have. Fraudsters impersonating government agencies, banks, credit card companies, and even charities will often ask for sensitive information the organizations they claim to represent do not need or already have on file
  • Aggressive sales tactics to force immediate commitment. Fraudsters selling bogus timeshares, vacation deals, and business and investment offers pressure their targets to sign up immediately and send money. They may claim their low-risk high-yield offers will expire very soon or offer even lower prices on already heavily-discounted prices
  • Inability to provide written documentation backing their claims. When asked to provide documents to support their claims or verify their identities, scammers get loud, get angry, or try steer their victims away from such topics

If any of these signs make you suspect an unknown caller, find a good reverse phone lookup service and run the caller’s number to find out more about them. Report this caller if the search results confirms your suspicions or deepens them. Scam reports are important because they help law enforcement agencies apprehend scammers and get justice for victims. These reports also help the public learn more about how scammers operate. Residents of Linn County can submit scam complaints to the following authorities: