What are Lycoming County Area Codes?
Occupying an area measuring 1,244 square miles in the northern half of Pennsylvania, Lycoming County is the largest county in the Commonwealth. The county has an estimated population of 113,299 as of 2019. Its county seat is the City of Williamsport.
There are two area codes serving the communities in Lycoming County. These are area codes 570 and 272. Area codes are numeric designations for numbering plan areas (NPAs). When AT&T created the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) in 1947, it divided the United States into NPAs and assigned corresponding area codes for them. NPAs correspond to real geographic locations. While some cover entire states, others only cover one or multiple counties and cities. The introduction of area codes made call routing more efficient across North American networks and telephone switches. Each phone number assigned in participating countries is assigned an area code. The area code is a typical 10-digit American phone number is represented by the first three digits.
Area Code 570
Created on December 5, 1998 from the split of area code 717, area code 570 covered over 20 counties in Pennsylvania. It was the first area code created in the state outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Area code 570 serves all of Lycoming County including major communities such as Williamsport, Jersey Shore, Muncy, and Montoursville.
Area Code 272
Put into service on March 28, 2013, area code 272 was created as an overlay code for the 570 NPA. It serves part of Lycoming County and is assigned to phone users in Williamsport, Jersey Shore, and Allenwood.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Lycoming County?
According to a 2018 wireless substitution survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, most of the residents of Pennsylvania still used both wireless and landline phones. This trend is likely to apply to those living in Lycoming County. The results of that survey showed that 43.4% of adults in Pennsylvania indicated they were wireless-only phone users while 4.3% of them still used landline phones exclusively for telecommunication. Wireless phone usage among minors in the Commonwealth was recorded as higher. About 52.5% of residents under the age of 18 reported using wireless phone services exclusively while 2.3% of this demographic were landline-only phone users.
National and regional carriers offer cell phone service in Lycoming County and the rest of Pennsylvania. Among these, AT&T has the most extensive phone network in the state with its 95.4% coverage. Verizon’s network is available in 93.1% of Pennsylvania and T-Mobile boasts 92.9% coverage of the Commonwealth. Regional carriers are most often mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) sharing the network infrastructure of major carriers and leasing network services. They are able to offer cheaper cell phone plans by passing on some of the savings from their deals with major carriers to their subscribers. While regional carriers have more affordable cell phone plans, their services are only reliable in the areas they serve.
Besides landline and cell phone services, residents of Lycoming County can also sign up for VoIP phone services. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a communication technology that enables the transmission of voice signals over the internet as data packets. VoIP phone services rely on fast internet access and are most cost-effective for residents that already have broadband internet access at home or work. Compared to traditional alternatives, VoIP phone plans are cheaper for long-distance calls and teleconferencing calls. VoIP phone services are also more flexible and allow subscribers to place and receive calls from their computers and tablets in addition to their phones.
What are Lycoming County Phone Scams?
These are fraudulent schemes committed using phone tools and services and targeting residents and businesses in Lycoming County. Scammers often find new targets for their frauds by reaching out to them through calls and text messages. They can also use robocalls and spam calls to cast wide nets for likely victims. These bad actors may then use caller ID spoofing and voice phishing to impersonate authority figures and their victims’ loved ones in order to gain their trust. All phone scams aim to defraud their targets or use deception to obtain sensitive and confidential information.
To avoid and fight phone scams, residents of Lycoming County can use certain phone tools such as call blocking and phone number lookup. Besides these anti-scam tools, they should also stay informed of prevailing telephone frauds in their communities and learn how these scams work. The Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General publishes consumer advisories that include helpful information for avoiding phone scams. The most common phone scams in Pennsylvania include IRS impersonation scams, family emergency scams, court fine, and computer tech support scams.
What are Lycoming County IRS Impersonation Scams?
These scams start with strangers calling unsuspecting residents and posing as employees of the Internal Revenue Service. During such calls, these fraudsters demand their targets pay owed taxes immediately and threaten to send local law enforcement to arrest them if they fail to comply. Another type of IRS impersonation scam involves the fraudster sounding friendly over the phone as they inform their target that they qualify for tax refund. To process this bogus refund, the scammer demands certain personal information such as Social Security number.
Residents of Lycoming County can avoid IRS scams by learning how this agency works. The IRS never initiates contact with taxpayers over the phone. They send mail correspondences to their address. They also inform taxpayers of owed taxes and tax refunds by mail. When they call, IRS employees do not threaten taxpayers or demand immediate payments. If contacted by a stranger claiming to work for the IRS, hang up immediately and submit their phone number for a free reverse phone lookup. If the caller masks their phone number, ask them to provide their identification number and inform them you would be confirming this with the IRS.
What are Lycoming County Family Emergency Scams?
These are also known as grandparent scams because elderly residents are the most common victims of these fraudulent schemes. Scammers pretending to be family members call their victims to ask for immediate financial help to get out of dire situations. They may claim to need the money to pay for bail to get out of jail, pay for hospital bills after getting in accidents, or need the money to buy tickets to fly home from foreign countries where they are stuck. These impostors usually ask their victims to keep their emergencies a secret from other family members.
The key to avoiding a family emergency scam is telling others about it before sending money to the caller. Call the family member asking for help using their phone number stored on your phone to confirm they are indeed the one who called earlier. Alternatively, inform other family members about the call and ask them to verify the claims of the caller. Lastly, a quick suspicious phone number lookup can help verify the identity and location of the caller.
What are Lycoming County Court Fine Scams?
Impostors running these scams call their targets and pretend to be officers of the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC). These fraudsters often use caller ID spoofing so their calls show up on their victims’ phone as coming from the AOPC. They demand immediate payment of unpaid court fines and other outstanding court administration fees. To ensure their victims are too scared to contest their claims, these scammers threaten to put their names on the state’s sex offender registry if they fail to send payments immediately.
The AOPC advises residents to hang up immediately if contacted by anyone making these claims. They should report such calls to local law enforcement or the Office of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania. Targets can also try to identify these fraudsters with suspicious phone number searches if they can retrieve the numbers used for such calls.
What are Lycoming County Computer Tech Support Scams?
These impostor scams are directed at computer users with fraudsters pretending to work for well-known computer technology companies such as Microsoft and Apple. These scammers claim their victims’ computers are overrun by viruses or that hackers’ exploits have been discovered on their machines. Tech support scammers may simply charge their victims for unneeded repairs and ineffective computer security software. In malicious cases, these fraudsters install malware on their victims’ computers after scaring them into providing remote access to their computer systems.
Tech support scammers with remote access can install viruses on their victims’ computers, steal sensitive information and confidential files from them, or lock them out of their computers and demand ransoms to relinquish control. Residents of Lycoming County are advised not to give strangers remote access to their computers, send them payments for tech support, or give out confidential information. Tech companies do not provide unsolicited tech support and do not scan their customers’ computers for viruses. Use a reverse phone number search to identify the unknown caller and confirm that their number is not registered to the tech company they claim to represent.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated phone calls sent out to lots of phone users to deliver pre-recorded messages. When used legitimately, robocalls are effective at delivering public service announcements, political messages, and telemarketing pitches. These mass-communication tools are cost-effective and require little effort to keep running once set up. Scammers are attracted to robocalls for these very reasons.
Spam calls are also bulk phone calls. However, these may be placed by human agents rather than auto-dialers. As American phone users receive an increasing amount of these unsolicited calls every year, there are efforts to find lasting solutions to curb them. Lycoming County residents can stop or cut down on the number of robocalls and spam calls they receiving by taking the following actions:
- Do not trust your phone’s caller ID to correctly identify unknown callers. Scammers often use caller ID spoofing to impersonate loved ones and authority figures
- Do not answer calls from unknown numbers. Let these go to voicemail where you can review the messages left and return calls from actual contacts
- Hang up a call as soon as you discover it is a robocall or spam call
- Do not follow instructions provided during robocalls and spam calls about steps to take to stop receiving further calls. Such prompts only serve to confirm active lines and then direct more unwanted calls to them
- Set up your phone to block calls from unknown or blacklisted numbers. Smartphones have such call filtering features and carriers offer call blocking services too. You can also install well-reviewed third-party call blocking apps from your phone’s app store
- Identify repeat unknown callers with reverse phone lookup. This can help determine if such callers are scammers, spammers, or stalkers. Reverse lookup searches can also provide useful information to include when reporting these bad actors to law enforcement
- Register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry as well as Pennsylvania’s Do Not Call List. This will stop robocalls from telemarketing companies. If you still receive illegal robocalls and spam calls after the wait periods (31 days for the national registry and at the end of the current quarter for the state list), report these to the appropriate authorities
How to Spot and Report Lycoming County Phone Scams
While fraudsters tweak their scams every now and then to throw off wary targets, they retain certain aspects needed to defraud their victims. Therefore, spotting phone scams only demands knowing what to look out for. To avoid telephone frauds, residents of Lycoming County should be watch out for these signs of phone scams:
- Threats - scammers are quick to threaten their targets while pretending to be authority figures. Common threats include immediate arrest, prosecution, tax audits, deportation, loss of homes, and withdrawal of driver’s, professional, and business licenses
- Request for payment sent directly to them - scammers suggest unofficial payment channels to receive money from their victims. Some may demand cash or ask to be paid by wire transfer, prepaid debit cards, gift cards, mobile app money transfers, or cryptocurrencies
- Aggressive sales tactics - scammers peddling bogus business and investment offers will often pressure their targets into signing up and sending money immediately. They do so by making them afraid of missing out on deals that are too good to be true. These scammers may also offer deep discounts for those signing up immediately
- Refusal to provide written documents to support their claims - fraudsters are reluctant to establish a paper trail and will refuse to provide documents backing their claims or establishing their real identities
If an unknown caller shows any of these signs, try to dig deeper by investigating them with a quick suspicious phone number lookup. If the search returns incomplete information or confirms your suspicions, report the caller to the right authorities. This will help law enforcement find and prosecute the fraudster and also help the public learn about prevailing phone scams in their communities. Lycoming County residents can report telephone fraud attempts to the following authorities:
- The Bureau of Consumer Protection (BCP) of the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General - this is the state’s consumer protection agency. Its duties include investigating consumer frauds and deceitful trade practices. Residents can file their consumer scam complaints with the BCP online
- The Treasury Inspector General Administration (TIGTA) - this is the agency responsible for investigating and prosecuting all IRS scams including those involving impersonation of the agency’s staff. Residents of Lycoming County can submit IRS impostor scam complaints to the TIGTA online
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - the responsibilities of the federal consumer protection agency include protecting Americans from unfair and deceitful business practices. Therefore, the FTC accepts reports of consumer scams and telephone frauds involving consumer transactions. Lycoming County residents can report consumer scams to the FTC online or by calling (877) 382-4357
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - this is the federal agency responsible for regulating all forms of communication in the US. Its duties include providing oversight of the telecommunication industry and regulating carriers and the use of phone tools and services. The FCC maintains the National Do Not Call Registry and investigates reports of illegal robocalls, spam calls, caller ID spoofing, and phishing. Lycoming County residents can report these violations as well as all telephone frauds to the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center