What are Blair County Area Codes?
Blair County is located in the central region of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It was founded on February 26, 1846, from parts of Bedford and Huntingdon Counties. The county is situated midway between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg cities. According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 527 square miles and an estimated population of 121,829 as of July 1, 2019. The largest city in the county is Altoona, while the county seat is Hollidaysburg.
Area codes were established as part of the North American Numbering Plan in the 1940s. Before that period, telephony communications relied on human operators to connect long-distance calls. With the creation of area codes, regions were separated into geographical areas and assigned area codes. Area codes are three-digit prefixes that identify one of the telephone areas into which the United States is divided and that precedes the local telephone number when dialing a call between areas. You can find the area code of any geographical area in the United States by using an area code lookup tool online.
Only one area code currently serves Blair County – Area code 814.
Area Code 814
Area code 814 is one of the original 86 area codes created by AT&T and the Bell Systems in 1947. It initially served northwestern and central Pennsylvania. Currently, it serves locations such as Erie, Altoona, State College, Johnstown, Meadville, St. Marys, Oil City, Warren, and Bradford. In preparation for the exhaustion of possible numbers within this area code, area code 582 was activated to serve as an overlay starting from May 1, 2021.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Blair County?
Estimates from a survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2018 revealed that among Pennsylvania residents aged 18 and above, 43.4% used wireless-only telephony service, while only 4.3% used wired telephony service exclusively. Among individuals below the age of 18 in the state, 52.5% used wireless-only telephony service while 2.3% used wired telephony service exclusively.
Many factors relate to making a decision on what the best cell phone plan is. However, a common denominator is the coverage quality in the subscriber's local area. No one wants to be on a call that drops at a moment's notice. The number of text and call minutes in a cheap plan does not matter if messages and phone calls do not complete. Fortunately, most national wireless carriers have decent coverage in Blair County. In the county seat of Hollidaysburg, the overall best coverage belongs to Verizon with a 98% score. Sprint has a coverage score of 68%, while AT&T and T-Mobile have coverage scores of 55% and 50% respectively.
You can also purchase cell phone plans from smaller carriers in Blair County. Commonly called Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), these smaller carriers tend to offer more affordable phone plans than those offered by the major carriers. MVNOs purchase data, minutes, and messages in bulk from the major carriers and resell to their customers at marked-down prices.
Many business owners and individuals are also using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone systems for their primary communication to cut down on phone bills. As part of the name suggests, VoIP telephony uses Internet Protocol to make calls. Instead of using telephone lines, communication data is transformed into packets and sent over IP networks. Hence, calls made through VoIP are much cheaper compared to the alternatives.
What are Blair County Phone Scams?
Blair County phone scams are fraudulent tricks of crooked individuals perpetrated using text messages, phone calls, and robocalls to steal money or obtaining sensitive information from Blair County residents. Many scams now involve the use of personal information to appear legitimate to targets. Con artists often use publicly available phone directories and social media sites to obtain personal information such as names, home addresses, and workplaces of their targets. By using obtained information to gain people's trust, they proceed to ask for sensitive personal information or demand money to be paid for phony products and services.
Blair County residents may use free reverse phone lookup tools to ascertain the true origins of suspicious phone numbers.
What are Blair County Law Enforcement Impersonation Scams?
The law enforcement impersonation scam is one of the most perpetrated cons in Blair County. Many residents have reported receiving phone calls from persons identifying themselves as sheriff deputies or other local law enforcement officers. The con artists reportedly claim that jury duty or witness appearances have been missed or that federal paperwork was misrepresented by targets, resulting in arrest warrants being issued for them.
A number is then provided for a target to call back for more information on "fixing" the problem. Once a target makes contact with the "law enforcement representative", the target is provided with instructions on how to handle the warrant. To make the information seem legitimate, the con artist gives a case number and the target's personal information over the phone. Instructions typically include paying certain amounts of money by wire transfers to unverified accounts or sending money by gift cards, or prepaid cards. Phone lookup applications can help unmask the real identities of phone scammers.
What are Blair County Tech Support Scams?
A growing number of Blair County residents are being victimized by networks of con artists purporting themselves as skilled computer technicians. These persons operate from the shadows, using cold calls and intrusive advertisements to scare consumers into buying phony fixes for their computers. The tech support scam depends on the ability of scammers to convince people that their computers have viruses, malware, or have "crashed" when in fact there is nothing wrong with their devices.
These scammers ask for remote access in order to fix supposed problems on targets' devices. They use the access to install spyware, malware, or ransomware on the devices to monitor targets and steal their private information. "Services" rendered are also charged at exorbitant prices. Phone lookup applications can help unmask the real identities of phone scammers. You can use them to verify the true identity of the person behind the numbers in the pop-up ads.
What are Blair County Charity Scams?
Charity scams involve the use of deception to obtain money from people who believe they are making donations to charity organizations. Fraudsters manipulate people's goodwill and eagerness to donate money by diverting donations away from the people who truly need it, to gain a profit for themselves. There are various methods used by scammers in perpetrating charity scams.
Charity scammers may pose as representatives of genuine charities asking for donations and claim that they are raising money for specific causes, or they may pose as individuals needing money for health expenses or other reasons. The majority of charity scams are carried out through phone calls or text messages. You can use a reverse cell phone lookup tool to verify if a caller’s identity matches the name given.
What are Blair County IRS Scams?
The IRS scam is often an aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers in Blair County. Callers claim to be employees of the Internal Revenue Service and attempt to sound convincing by using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID information to make it look like the IRS is calling. These crooked persons say targets owe back taxes to the IRS or the Department of Treasury.
IRS scammers intimidate targets with threats of arrests, deportation, suspension of business or driver's licenses, and imprisonment if they do not pay up immediately. They insist users must pay supposed debts by sending money through gift cards, prepaid cards, or wire transfers. Reverse phone number lookup applications can help identify scammers and prevent residents from falling victim to this type of scam.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
An automated call made from a predictive or automated dialer to deliver a prerecorded message is a robocall. Most people view robocalls as annoying and intrusive phone calls made from unsolicited callers. However, some robocalls are helpful and do not require your permission before reaching you. Robocalls are useful tools for telemarketers and political campaigners and can also be used by public institutions in disseminating public-service announcements.
However, since the auto-dialers used in making robocalls allow users to send out automated calls to thousands of call recipients at once, crooked individuals now leverage that to target people with spam calls. Spam calls may be used by legitimate organizations in contacting residents but may also be used by scammers in targeting hordes of residents.
In 2020, more than 1.6 billion calls were placed to Pennsylvania residents. Between January and April 2021, more than 620 million robocalls have been received by these residents.
To limit the chances of being fleeced by robocalls placed by scammers, you may use reverse phone lookup tools to verify the identity of incoming calls. Other steps to take to stop robocalls include:
- Do not answer calls from unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail.
- If you answer and the caller asks you to hit a button to stop receiving calls, just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify and then target live respondents.
- Ask your phone service provider if it offers a robocall blocking service. Some phone service providers offer that service already in existing cell phone plans, while others offer the service for an additional fee.
- Install a free call-blocking application from any of the major mobile application stores. Examples include Hiya, Nomorobo, and Truecaller.
- Consider registering all of your telephone numbers in the National Do Not Call Registry. Telemarketers are required to consult the registry before placing calls to telephone subscribers. If you still receive unsolicited calls 31 days after registering, they are likely to originate from scammers.
How to Spot and Report Blair County Phone Scams?
Criminals have refined their approach to scamming targets, pretending to be businesses or institutions of high authority, and scaring targets with significant consequences. With this in mind, the best thing to do is to be prepared by being aware of scam telltale signs. You should also use reverse lookup tools to spot incoming scam calls.
Be aware of the following common scam tricks to avert falling victim to phone scams:
- The caller cannot communicate: Many scams originate from foreign countries where the perpetrators are not native English speakers. If you are contacted by an unsolicited caller who cannot speak fluently but wants you to pay money or release private information, hang up immediately.
- The caller uses pressure tactics to get you to act immediately: Scammers are often in a hurry to get their acts done without targets having second thoughts or seeking other opinions. To make this happen, they may use various tricks such as threats of arrests or informing you that a relative is in an emergency.
- The caller offers you an opportunity that seems too good to be true: It is unlikely for a worthwhile investment to be risk-free. Investment scammers may promise you “guaranteed” huge returns on your investments. Be wary. You may also be lured into believing that you have won big prizes or grants which require upfront fees.
- The caller asks for sensitive personal information: Do not give out sensitive information such as Social Security number, home address, bank account information, date of birth, and credit card information to unsolicited callers.
- The caller claims to represent a reputable organization but wants to receive payment through non-traditional methods: Non-traditional payment methods such as cryptocurrencies, prepaid debit cards, gift cards, and wire transfers are the preferred means of receiving payments for con artists. Be wary when a caller insists on receiving payment only through these means.
You can file complaints with any of the following public bodies if you have been contacted by a scammer:
- The Blair County Sheriff’s Department and local police departments: If you have received a call from a scammer, you can contact your local police department or the Blair County Sheriff's Department at (814) 693-3100. In the county seat of Hollidaysburg, you can contact the Hollidaysburg Police Department at (814) 695-3711.
- The Pennsylvania County Attorney General's Office: If you have a complaint about an unsolicited call, contact the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) consumer protection line at (800) 441-2555 or file a complaint online.
- The Federal Trade Commission: Through the FTC's National Do Not Call Registry, phone users can reduce unwanted calls by adding their numbers to the list. If you receive unsolicited calls 31 days after adding your number to the registry, they are most likely scam calls
- The Federal Communications Commission: The FCC allows you to file a complaint with the Commission online if you believe you have received an illegal call, or if you think you are the victim of a phone scam.
- 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.