Providence County area codes are the first three digits of phone numbers allocated in the county. They represent the Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs) in the county designated by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (RPUC) is responsible for maintaining area codes in the state.
The only area code servicing Providence County currently is 401:
Area Code 401
Created in 1947, area code 401 services the entire State of Rhode Island. It is currently the only Rhode Island telephone area code in the NANP. The locations covered by the 401 NPA in Providence County include Providence, East Providence, Lincoln, Pawtucket, and Cranston.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Providence County?
Providence County enjoys quality network services from the major phone carriers and various Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MNVOs). In the City of Providence, Verizon provides the most comprehensive coverage at 92%. While AT&T and T-Mobile both offer 88% cover and Sprint has the least network coverage at 78%.
The number of Rhode Islanders who use wireless telephony services is increasing by the year. Figures from a 2018 CDC survey show that landline phone usage was rapidly declining in the state. The survey reported that a small 5.6% of the total adult population still used landline-only telephony services. On the other hand, an estimated 45.6% of them had exclusively adopted cell phones for telecommunication.
The widespread adoption of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in Providence County for telephony service is a result of the increasing number of residents using wireless devices. VoIP routes communication over internet connections. It supports voice and video conferencing at more affordable rates compared to traditional telephony services.
What are Providence County Phone Scams?
Providence County phone scams are scams perpetrated over the phone in the county. Scammers exploit phone services to steal money and personal information from unsuspecting county residents. Phone scammers are always changing tricks to fool and defraud their targets. If you suspect that an unknown caller is a scammer, do a reverse phone lookup to fetch the caller's identity.
The Rhode Island Department of the Attorney General (RIAG) educates residents on how to avoid commonly perpetrated scams in the county. Providence County residents who may have fallen victim to phone scams can file complaints online with the RIAG or call (401) 2744-4400. Commonly reported phone scams in Providence County include:
What are Utility Scams?
Providence County residents should be wary of individuals posing as bill collectors for National Grid, the local utility company. They target both business premises and residential buildings on gas and electricity bills. The scammers usually spoof Caller IDs and inform targets that they have unpaid balances on their utility bills that require prompt payment to avoid arrest. They often instruct the unsuspecting targets to make payment via wire transfer. In some instances, they request payment by credit card and ask the targets for their credit card details.
National Grid urges residents never to disclose personal or financial information to persons claiming to be their employees. Ask anyone who calls you with this type of claim to confirm your National Grid account number’s last five digits. It is a simple way to verify if you are speaking with a real National Grid representative. Do not make payment over the phone, even if the caller passes verification. Residents who have fallen victim to utility scams in Providence County can file reports with the RIAG online or call (401) 2744-4400. They can also file complaints online with the FTC.
What are Grandparent Scams?
If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be your grandchild or relative, requesting money for an emergency, be cautious with such a caller. Do not send money or your personal information to an unknown caller or a known one calling with an unfamiliar number. A phone number lookup on the caller's number can retrieve available information on who called.
Scammers target elderly residents of Providence County because of their good credit and the fact they would go all out to protect their loved ones. There are many variations of this scam. Scammers posing as grandchildren will call targets and say they urgently need money to get out of some trouble involving the police. Sometimes, they will pretend to be attorneys or police officers that can help the loved ones in trouble. They will request that money be sent immediately for bail via prepaid cards, cryptocurrencies, and wire transfers.
If you receive this type of call, ask the caller questions that only your grandchild can answer to validate their claims. You can also hang up and call your grandchild directly or other relatives to verify the caller’s story. The Rhode Island State Police (RISP) warns elderly residents never to share personal information or send money to unknown persons over the phone. If you think you have been a victim of this scam, file reports with the Rhode Island State Police by calling (401) 764-5179. Victims can also file complaints with the Rhode Island AG’s Consumer Protection Unit on (401) 271-4400.
What are Police Impersonation Scams?
Scammers impersonate the Rhode Island State Police (RISP) officers to cheat residents out of their money. They usually claim that their targets have failed to answer orders to appear in court. They even use the names of real officers of the RISP when they call. The callers will inform their targets that warrants were issued for these infractions, and they must pay fines immediately to avoid arrests. These scammers ask to receive payments by gift cards. They usually ask the victims to provide gift card numbers and PINs over the phone.
The Rhode Island State Police warns that it does not call to request fines for missed court dates over the phone. They advise that no resident send money to anyone who claims to be with the RISP and makes such demands. Recipients of such calls can report to the RISP by calling (401) 764-5179. Persons who have fallen victim to these scams can report to the Federal Trade Commission online or call 1 (888) 382-1222. Running reverse phone lookups on these callers’ phone numbers can help to uncover the registrants’ identities.
What are 911 Scams?
Providence County residents are receiving calls from 9-1-1 in what appears as legitimate calls. The callers attempt to fool targets into disclosing personal and financial information by spoofing Caller ID and posing as representatives of the E-911 agency. The scammers request information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, PINs, and birth dates. They pretend to need the targets’ information for verification and to ensure that their identities, safety, and credit ratings are not compromised.
Providence County residents should know that Rhode Island's E-911 agency will never call anyone unless there has been an initial call from that person. If the agency does have to return a call, the Caller ID will never display 9-1-1. A phone call that shows 911 is fraudulent. The Rhode Island State Police (RISP) advises residents to be wary of such calls and never reveal their personal information. Call the RISP on (401) 764-5179 to report 911 scams or register such complaints online with the FTC.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls disseminate pre-recorded information to a mass audience. They are automated messages delivered via phone calls placed by auto-dialers to selected phone numbers. Robocalls are used legitimately by telemarketers, government agencies, and political organizations. However, scammers are ripping off Providence County residents with illegal robocalls. In most instances, scammers use spoofed robocalls to deceive their victims by taking on familiar organizations' Caller IDs. County residents can report spoofed robocalls to the FCC online. To avoid robocall scams, here are your best options:
- Avoid answering telephone calls from numbers you do not recognize. The callers will leave messages for you if urgent.
- If you answer a phone call and find out it is a robocall, do not listen further. Hang up immediately to avoid being directed to press buttons that will lead to more robocalls.
- Report unwanted calls to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1 (888) 382-1222 or online.
- Contact your phone company to bar the number used in robocalling you. Alternatively, block robocall numbers by using the call-blocking features on your cell phone.
- Stop unsolicited calls from coming through your phone by joining the DNC Registry managed by the FTC. Call 1 (888) 382-1222 from the phone number you intend to enroll on the list. If you receive unsolicited calls after 31 days of registration, the chances are that they are spam calls.
How Can You Spot and Report Providence County Phone Scams?
Phone scammers are getting more sophisticated in their attempts to steal money and personal information from Providence County residents. The best way to avoid falling prey is to acquire the necessary education to avoid phone scams. There are government agencies tasked with sensitizing residents on how to recognize and avoid phone scams. The warning signs of Providence County phone scams include:
- Unknown callers who request payment by unusual channels such as gift cards, cash, or wire transfer. Do not pay anyone who insists on payments via these channels. Transactions completed through these channels are hard to trace and recover.
- Scammers will say that you were specially selected to receive gifts or prizes. However, to obtain your winnings, they will request that you pay a fee.
- Scammers will pretend to be your loved ones and call to request money to get themselves out of emergencies. Do not rush to send money if you receive these types of calls. Instead, call the persons on the phone numbers on your contact list to confirm such claims.
- Persons who pretend to be government agencies’ employees but threaten arrest if you do not send money or disclose sensitive information are scammers. Government agencies will never threaten residents with arrest over the phone to get them to follow their demands.
- Scammers typically demand immediate payment. If you are engaged in a telephone call with someone you do not know who wants you to make immediate payments, hang up.
Checking suspicious phone numbers on applications that offer reverse phone number lookup services can help you avoid phone scams. Providence County residents can report phone scams to the following agencies:
Rhode Island Department of the Attorney - The RIAG is the primary consumer protection agency in Rhode Island. It mediates residents' complaints regarding deceptive and misleading practices. Persons who fall victim to phone scam can report to the RIAG by calling (401) 2744-4400 or online.
Federal Trade Commission - Reports of phone scams in Providence County can be filed with the FTC online or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222. Residents can avoid robocall scams by joining the DNC Registry developed by the FTC.
Rhode Island State Police - The RISP investigates reports of phone scams registered with it by Providence County residents. If you have been a victim of a Providence County phone scam, report such an incident to the RISP at:
311 Danielson Pike
North Scituate, RI 02857
Phone: (401) 764-5179
Federal Communications Commission - The FCC provides information to residents on how to avoid phone scams. They also make policies to protect residents against deceptive and unfair business practices. Providence County residents can register reports of phone spoofing scams and robocall scams online with the FCC.