What are Washington County Area Codes?
Also nicknamed South County, Washington County is located in the southwestern part of the State of Rhode Island. The county borders Kent County to the north, New London County in Connecticut to the west, Suffolk County in New York to the southwest, the Atlantic Ocean to the south, and Newport County to the east.
Washington County was initially formed as King's County in 1729 from the southern region of Providence County but had its name changed in 1781. It is the largest county in Rhode Island, and the smallest county in the United States that is a state's largest county. Per statistics obtained from the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 563 square miles and an estimated population of 125,577 as of July 1, 2019. Washington County's largest town is South Kingstown, while the traditional county seat was West Kingston, a South Kingstown village. However, the Washington County courthouse has been in Wakefield since 1991, while the sheriff’s office which handles corrections is also situated in Wakefield. Rhode Island counties have no governmental functions other than as sheriff correction and court administrative boundaries, which are part of the state government.
An area code is a three-digit number that is assigned to a geographical area in the United States and used before the seven-digit telephone number when placing calls to and within that area. You can find the area code for a community or region in the United States by using area code lookup tools online.
Currently, only one area code serves Washington County – Area code 401.
Area Code 401
Area code 401 is one of the original 86 area codes created by AT&T and the Bell System in 1947. It is the only area code covering Washington County and the entire state of Rhode Island. Top locations within the area code include Providence, Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, Newport, and Central Falls.
What Are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Washington County?
In Washington County, many residents have now migrated from using wired telephony service to wireless communications as their primary means of telephony communications. As evidenced in a survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2018, 45.6% of Rhode Island residents aged 18 and above used wireless-only telephony service, while only 5.6% used landline telephony service exclusively. The estimates also revealed that 60.1% of Rhode Island residents below the age of 18 used wireless telephony service exclusively, while only 1.3% used landline-only telephony service.
Deciding whether data, minutes, or text messages are most important to you, will help in choosing the right plan for you. However, finding out which wireless provider offers the best coverage in your local area is a more important decision factor. In West Kingston, T-Mobile has the best overall coverage with a 99% coverage score. AT&T's coverage is rated 80%, Verizon's at 76%, while Sprint has a coverage score of 50%. In Wakefield, Verizon has the best overall coverage with a coverage score of 99%. Typically, the majority of wireless providers offer postpaid family and individual plans, and prepaid no-commitment plans which enforce limits on the use of minutes, data, and texts.
Smaller prepaid carriers also operate in Washington County offering plans to no-commitment customers. These plans cover the majority of the cities and towns in Washington County. The network infrastructure used by the smaller carriers is purchased from the major carriers, hence, coverage is quite decent from them.
Washington County residents looking to avoid overly expensive cell phone bills are also choosing plans that offer bigger data usage. Using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service, users can make calls to one another without being charged for minutes. Charges are only billed for data. VoIP passes transformed voice signals as discrete digitized data packets through the Internet for transmission. VoIP users are also not restricted to making calls only to other users of VoIP service. You can make calls to regular landlines or cell phone lines by subscribing to VoIP phone plans. These plans are cheap and represent significant savings on phone bills.
What Are Washington County Phone Scams?
Washington County phone scams include all fraudulent activities engaged in by fraudsters through phone calls, text messages, and robocalls to lure Washington County residents into releasing money or obtaining sensitive information from them. Scammers impersonate authorities and conjure up different schemes to fool people into giving them money or releasing personal information. They also make the schemes sound convincing using techniques such as caller ID spoofing which allows users to alter their caller ID information to mimic any number or name. Phone scammers target all categories of people including the old and the young. Common phone scams in Washington County include jury duty scams, social security scams, bondsman scams, and IRS scams.
Washington County residents can use free reverse phone lookup tools to ascertain the true origins of suspicious phone numbers.
What are Washington County Jury Duty Scams?
In the jury duty scam, callers pretend to be sheriffs or law enforcement officers and say targets are wanted for failing to appear for jury hearings. Usually, these persons say that call recipients will spend 30 days in jail if they do not pay fines which can be as much as $1,000. The callers speak in authoritative tones and try to convince call recipients by using the real names of law enforcement officers. Typically, the calls show up with the 401-area code to make it look like the calls are coming from local areas.
In the jury duty scam, targets may be instructed to visit the Consumer Value Stores (CVS) to send money electronically. The scammers may also request targets to meet at the courthouse with the supposed fines. Note that neither sheriffs nor jury commissioners call people to threaten arrest or demand money. Jurors are also summoned by mail. If a juror fails to appear for service, the jury commissioner will try to reschedule. To avoid falling victim to jury duty scams, you can use good reverse phone lookup tools online to quickly do a number lookup or reverse number lookup for incoming calls.
What are Washington County Social Security Scams?
The social security scam is widely reported in Washington County. It involves callers informing county residents that their Social Security numbers have been suspended or that their Social Security cards have been compromised. The calls are only intended to obtain social security information from the call recipients or extort money from them. Social security scammers ask targets to purchase some gift cards and give them the card numbers over the phone. As soon as they do, the money is taken from the cards.
In a variation of the social security scam, con artists contact people and tell them they are being charged in federal courts with social security fraud. The fraud scam calls often show up on targets' caller IDs as numbers within Washington County locations. In some cases, this scam tries to get targets to "pay fines" to avoid further legal action, while other times, it is used in gathering personal information that will be later used in perpetrating fraudulent acts. You can then use a reverse phone lookup tool to verify the identity of the person behind the suspicious phone number.
What are Washington County Bondsman Scams?
Con artists call Washington County residents claiming to be bondsmen in attempts to obtain large amounts of money from them in the bondsman scam. Several victims in Washington County have reported receiving calls from persons claiming their loved ones were arrested or in some other legal troubles. These criminals may say that targets' relatives were involved in accidents and will be jailed if certain amounts of money are not paid immediately to satisfy bonds or other legal requirements. Some of these scammers sometimes send people to the victims' homes to obtain the payment. However, payment requests through wire transfers and gift cards are the more common means through which bondsman scammers request payment.
After funds are received, several follow-up phone calls are made indicating that even more funds are needed to satisfy other requirements and they attempt to steal more money from victims. If you are in doubt about the true identity of the person behind a call, you can use free reverse phone lookup tools online to identify who a number is registered to.
What are Washington County IRS Scams?
IRS scammers commonly pose as employees or representatives of the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Department of the Treasury. Although you have not been contacted by the IRS by mail with any notices, the caller claims that you owe back or unpaid taxes to the government and must pay up within a short period of time. Typically, the caller threatens you with arrest or lawsuit if you do not pay immediately or provide personal information such as birth date, bank account information, and Social Security number. The caller demands that you wire money, purchase prepaid debit cards, or otherwise arrange to transfer funds in ways that cannot be traced. IRS callers often sound authoritative and demanding. They may even spoof the caller ID information of the actual IRS to appear legitimate.
Using the phone number under the supposed IRS caller ID, you can find out who called by using reverse phone number tools online. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by telephone calls; they send letters. Taxpayers are informed ahead by letters or emails before receiving calls from the IRS.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated telephone calls that deliver prerecorded messages to landlines and cell phones. Except where explicit consent to the calls has been obtained, robocalls are generally prohibited under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), especially on cell phones. Certain types of robocalls such as charitable and political pitches are mostly legal.
Scammers and illegitimate organizations often disregard the provisions of the TCPA by contacting people having not obtained their express permission. Through the auto-dialers used in making robocalls, users can place an unlimited number of calls to other people in what is regarded as spam calls. Many such calls are aimed at defrauding targets.
Robocalls are bombarding Washington County and Rhode Island residents at an alarming rate. In 2020, more than 100 million robocalls were placed to Rhode Island residents. Between January and April 2021, these residents received more than 38 million robocalls, an average of 37 robocalls per person. A phone lookup service can help determine if an incoming call is a robocall. You can also limit your exposure to robocalls and their effects by:
- Check the National Do Not Call Registry: Verify that your number has been added to the registry maintained by the Federal Trade Commission. You can do so by visiting the registry's website or calling (888) 382-1222 from the phone you want to register
- Contact your telephone provider: Some telephone companies offer call blocking or screening products. Verify if such a product is included in your monthly fee or is available for an additional fee.
- Add an app: Third-party applications are available on mobile application stores for phone users to reduce the number of robocalls received. Examples include Truecaller, Hiya, and Nomorobo. There are free options as well as more extensive plans with a monthly subscription fee.
- Report unwanted calls: Robocall and scam call complaints may be filed with several agencies:
- Federal Communications Commission - (888) 225-5322
- Federal Trade Commission - (877) 382-4357
How to Spot and Report Washington County Phone Scams?
Every year, more and more stories of different phone scams and fraudulent practices that take advantage of Washington County residents are reported. It is easy to get upset about phone scams. However, being prepared to spot phone scams and avoid them is a much better attitude to have. You can stay alert and ward off scam attacks by performing free phone number lookups for incoming calls. These tools also allow users to perform phone number lookup by address or name.
Also, you can identify certain telltale signs when contacted by scammers. These include:
- An offer too good to be true: Scammers will say you won prizes worth thousands of dollars and can obtain the winnings if you pay an upfront fee. They can also offer investment opportunities with “no-risk” provided you transfer funds immediately. Do not take the bait. Every worthwhile investment has a measure of risk.
- Aggressive tactics: These include threats of arrests, imprisonment, deportation, and revocation of licenses if targets do not cooperate. Legitimate organizations do not intimidate call recipients with threats.
- Unsolicited requests for sensitive information: Never give out personal information over the phone. You should follow the rule of "when in doubt, do not give it out." Fraudsters can commit identity thefts when they obtain your private information.
- Requests for payment through insecure money transfer services: Using money transfer services such as MoneyGram and Western Union or receiving money through gift cards and other reloadable cards are not methods used by reputable companies. Be wary when an unsolicited caller insists on receiving payments using these methods.
Services that conduct reverse phone number lookups by address, name, and phone number are helpful against phone scams. Both state and federal institutions are committed to fighting the scourge of phone scammers and provide information and assistance to residents. These include:
- Washington County Sheriff's Office: If you have been contacted by a scammer by phone, contact the Washington County Sheriff's Office at (401) 782-4100.
- Local Police Departments: You can report contacts with scammers to local police departments in Washington County. In South Kingstown, contact the South Kingstown Police Department at (401) 783-3321.
- Rhode Island Public Defender: You can file scam complaints with the Rhode Island Public Defender by calling (401) 222-3492.
- Federal Communications Commission: If you receive unwanted robocalls and text messages, you can file a report online with the FCC.
- Federal Trade Commission - The FTC protects consumers from deceptive and fraudulent practices. You can file a phone scam report with the FTC by completing the online complaint form.
- The United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TITGA): If you have been contacted by an IRS scammer, contact TITGA by calling the office at (800) 366-4484.
- Social Security Administration: If you receive a scam call or you suspect you have been a victim of a scam from the Social Security Administration, report such calls by calling the Office of the Inspector General at (800) 269-0271 or make a report online.