What are Mercer County Area Codes?
Created in 1800, Mercer County occupies an area measuring 683 square miles along the western border of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A 2019 census estimate puts its population at 109,424. The Borough of Mercer is its county seat.
There are four area codes serving Mercer County. These are area codes 724, 878, 814, and 582. Area codes are numeric designations for numbering plan areas (NPAs). The current area codes used in the US were introduced when AT&T created the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) in 1947. The implementation of area codes and NPAs unified call routing and switching systems across American phone networks. This improved the efficiency of call routing and made long-distance calling more reliable. An area code makes up part of every phone number registered in the US. In the typical 10-digit phone number, the first three digits represent the area code of the location where that number was registered.
Area Code 724
Introduced on February 1, 1998, area code 724 was the result of a split of area code 412. It covers the western and southwestern part of Pennsylvania and serves 14 counties in the state. Communities in Mercer County covered by area code 724 include Mercer, Sharon, Hermitage, and Farrell.
Area Code 878
Area code 878 is an overlay code that covers southwestern Pennsylvania. It is an overlay code for area codes 412 and 724. It came into service on August 17, 2001. Some of the communities in Mercer County served by area code 878 include Mercer and Sheakleyville.
Area Code 814
Area code 814 is one of the original area codes created at the introduction of the NANP in 1947. It currently covers the northwestern and central portions of Pennsylvania. While the 814 NPA is the largest in the state, it only covers a small portion of Mercer County, its northeastern corner. The most populous communities in Mercer County served by area code 814 are Grove City and Sugar Grove.
Area Code 582
Introduced in an overlay plan for the 814 NPA, area code 582 entered into service on October 3, 2020. It serves the same communities as area code 814.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Mercer County?
Like the rest of the state, most of the residents of Mercer County still use landline and wireless phones for telecommunication. The results of a 2018 wireless substitution survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics showed that 43.4% of adults in the state indicated they only used wireless phones while 4.3% of them registered as landline-only phone users. Minors in Pennsylvania were more likely to use wireless phones solely. The survey found that 52.5% of residents of Pennsylvania under the age of 18 were wireless-only phone users. On the other hand, only 2.3% of this demographic solely used landline phones.
Major national carriers and regional carriers offer cell phone services in Mercer County and the rest of the state. AT&T leads the pack with 95.4% coverage of Pennsylvania while Verizon and T-Mobile cover 93.1% and 92.9% of the state respectively. Most regional carriers are MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) that share the network infrastructure of bigger carriers and buy network services from them in bulk. These MVNOs usually offer cheaper cell phone plans by only offering core phone services and passing on some of the savings from their bulk orders to their subscribers.
VoIP phone services are also available in Mercer County. These rely on broadband internet access. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a network communication technology that enables voice transmission over the internet. It carries voice and video signals as data packets. VoIP phone services are more affordable than cell and landline phone services for residents and businesses with existing broadband internet access. They are also cheaper for long-distance calls and teleconferencing sessions. Subscribers can also make and receive VoIP phone calls from their tablets and computers in addition to their phones.
What are Mercer County Phone Scams?
These are telephone frauds targeting the residents and businesses of Mercer County. Scammers target and run their fraudulent schemes by communicating with their victims by phone. They call and send text messages and may also use robocalls and spam calls to find new targets. Other phone services employed by fraudsters include caller ID spoofing and phishing.
To stop and avoid phone scams, Mercer County residents must learn to use call blocking and reverse phone number lookup. These reduce the chances of being a target of phone scams and help targeted individuals identify scammers. Residents also need to learn about commonly reported telephone frauds in the state and how they work. Some of the most common phone scams in Pennsylvania are IRS scams, tech support scams, and emergency scams.
What are Mercer County IRS Scams?
These are impostor scams in which fraudsters pretend to be employees of the Internal Revenue Service when contacting their victims. They may rudely demand their targets to pay outstanding taxes or sound helpful when informing their targets that they qualify for tax refunds. Scammers demanding owed taxes threaten their victims and scare them into sending them money. Those offering bogus tax refunds trick their victims into releasing sensitive personal information such as Social Security numbers.
Residents of Mercer County can avoid IRS scams by remembering how the IRS works. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by phone. It does so by mail correspondence. It also doesn’t not threaten taxpayers and demand immediate payment of owed taxes. It allows them to contest their tax bills. If contacted by a stranger claiming to work for the IRS, do not trust them even if they provide IRS badge numbers that look legitimate. Do not send money or provide confidential information to such strangers. Use phone number lookup to verify the identity of the caller and see if their number has been flagged for phone scams.
What are Mercer County Tech Support Scams?
These are also impostor scams. However, in these fraudulent schemes, scammers impersonate tech support employees of reputable tech companies and offer unsolicited computer repair services. Tech support scammers may claim their victims’ computers are infected by malware or that hackers are likely to exploit them to steal information. They ask for remote access to these machines and charge unsuspecting computer users for repairs and computer security software they do not need.
In diabolical cases, scammers may steal confidential information, such as banking account details and confidential files, from their victims’ computers once granted remote access. They may also install adware, spyware, or ransomware on these machines. Adware will keep generating incomes for the scammers while spyware allows them to keep tabs on their victims and steal confidential information. With ransomware, fraudsters lock their victims out of their own computers and only restore access after paying ransoms.
Residents of Mercer County should not accept unsolicited tech support from strangers. If contacted by an unknown caller claiming to work for Microsoft, Apple, or Google, hang up immediately and try to identify the caller by their number with reverse phone lookup. Tech companies do not call users of their products to ask for remote access or provide unsolicited support.
What are Mercer County Emergency Scams?
Another type of impostor scams, emergency scams are also sometimes referred to as grandparent scams because they mostly target elderly residents. In these scams, fraudsters pretend to be loved ones. When targeting grandparents, they pretend to be their grandkids and may even glean relevant information to use from the social media accounts of the persons they impersonate. These fraudsters ask their victims for urgent financial help and claim to be in some embarrassing emergencies they wish to be kept secret. They may claim to need the money to pay for bail bonds, hospital bills, or flight tickets.
Residents of Mercer County contacted by loved ones in need of emergency help should be wary. Rather than hastening to provide the requested help, they should refuse to keep the pleas a secret from other family members. If contacted in this way, call the loved one concerned directly with the number saved on your phone to confirm that they indeed called for help. Alternatively, call other family members to corroborate the caller’s claims. It is also possible to unmask an impostor running this scam by submitting their number for a suspicious phone number lookup.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated phone calls directed at large numbers of users and relaying pre-recorded messages. Once mostly used by telemarketers, political groups, and organizations delivering public service announcements, scammers account for most robocalls received these days. Fraudsters use auto-dialers delivering pre-recorded pitches to cast wide nets for more targets for their fraudulent schemes.
Spam calls are also bulk calls. However, they are mostly used by telemarketers with dedicated pools of human agents making unsolicited calls to deliver scripted marketing messages. Spam calls and robocalls account for most of the calls received by most American phone users. To stop these unwanted calls, or at least reduce their frequency, residents of Mercer County should consider the following steps:
- Stop answering calls from unknown numbers. Let these go to voicemail and review the messages left to determine which ones are from real contacts
- Hang up as soon as you discover a call is a robocall or spam call
- Do not follow instructions provided during robocalls and spam calls on what to do to stop receiving further calls. Scammers and spammers use such prompts to determine which numbers to target with more unwanted calls
- Use the call filtering feature on your smartphone to block calls from unknown numbers or blacklisted ones. Ask your carrier for such call blocking features. Alternatively, install a reputable third-party call blocking app from your phone’s app store
- Identify repeat unknown callers with reverse phone number lookup. This will help determine whether they are scammers, spammers, or stalkers. These searches will also provide useful information to include in police reports if you do decide to report such callers to law enforcement
- Stop robocalls from legitimate telemarketers by adding your number to the National Do Not Call Registry and Pennsylvania’s Do Not Call List. Subsequent illegal robocalls and spam calls received after joining these registries can be reported to the right authorities
How to Spot and Report Mercer County Phone Scams
In addition to learning about common telephone frauds reported in their communities, Mercer County residents should also know what to look for to spot phone scams. As long as scammers intend to defraud their victims and/or steal confidential information, they will use one or more of these tricks:
- Threats - while impersonating authority figures, scammers often resort to threats to force them to comply with the demands. They may claim law enforcement officers are on their way to arrest their targets or threaten them with prosecution, deportation, loss of homes, and loss of driver’s license
- Request for money sent directly to them - a genuine representative of a public or private organization will not ask for payment made directly to them. While pretending to be law enforcement officers, government officials, IRS agents, debt collectors, charity fundraisers, and other authority figures, scammers will request payments in cash or by wire transfer, mobile app transfer, prepaid debit cards, gift cards, or cryptocurrencies
- Aggressive sales tactics - fraudsters running business and investment scams pressure their targets into signing up and sending payments immediately. To push their targets into quick commitment, they inspire the fear of missing out on once-in-a-lifetime, no-risk, high-yield deals. They may also offer steep discounts, when running consumer scams, anyone paying immediately for their bogus products and services
- Lack of supporting documents - scammers make big claims but cannot provide backing documentation for these. They refuse to provide written documentation supporting their claims and establishing their identities
Residents tipped off by any of these red flags can try to identify the individuals trying to scam them with free phone number lookup services. Information gathered from such searches should be provided to law enforcement when reporting these scams. It is important to report phone scams as this helps law enforcement to find and prosecute fraudsters. Scam reports also increase public awareness of telephone fraud trends. Mercer County residents can report phone scams to the following agencies:
- The Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Office of Attorney General, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - this is the state’s consumer protection agency. Its responsibilities include maintaining the state’s Do Not Call lists, publishing consumer advisories, and investigating consumer complaints. Report a consumer scam to the Bureau by filing a complaint online, emailing [email protected] or calling (717) 787-9707 or (800) 441-2555 (Toll-Free Helpline)
- The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) - this is the federal agency responsible for investigating IRS scams. Residents of Mercer County targeted by IRS impostors can report IRS impersonation scams to the TIGTA online
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - the FTC is the federal consumer protection agency with responsibilities including protecting American consumers from unfair and fraudulent business practices. Residents of Mercer County can also report consumer scams to the FTC by submitting their fraud complaints online or by calling (877) 382-4357
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - the FCC is the federal agency tasked with regulating the communications industry. Its responsibilities include overseeing the telecommunication sector. Therefore, the FTC administers the National Do Not Call Registry and investigates violations of its rules. This means that Mercer County residents can report illegal robocalls, spam calls, phishing, and caller ID spoofing to the FCC. They can also report telephone frauds using those tools to the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center