What are Washington County Area Codes?
Washington County is located in the U.S. State of Pennsylvania. It has its county seat in Washington City and is part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Both the county and its county seat were named after George Washington, the revolutionary war leader and first president of the United States. It has a population estimate of over 206,865.
Area codes are the three-digit numbers that begin every telephone number in the United States. They were introduced as part of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) to identify the numbering plan areas. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PA PUC) is charged with administering and implementing Washington area codes.
Currently, three area codes cover Washington County. These are:
Area Code 412
Area code 412 was one of the earliest 86 area codes introduced by AT&T and Bell Systems. It was officially put into service in 1947 and was originally intended to serve western Pennsylvania, from Butler County down to West Virginia.
Area Code 724
Area code 724, one of the six pairs of ‘doughnut area codes’ in the NANP, was created in February 1998 as a split-off from area code 412. Overlays were still a new concept as at the time area code 724 was implemented, hence the split. Area code 724 serves southwestern and western Pennsylvania and most suburbs of Pittsburgh, except the Pittsburgh metro area.
Area Code 878
Area code 878 was introduced on August 17, 2001, as the NANP overlay code for area codes 412 and 724. However, it was only until April 2013 when area code 724 got exhausted, that the NANP began assigning 878 area codes.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Washington County?
A 2018 National Center of Health Statistics survey estimated that 43.4% of adults in Pennsylvania relied solely on wireless telephone services. In contrast, only about 4.3% of the adult population in the state exclusively used landlines as their preferred telephone service. The disparity was even more obvious amongst minors, with about 52.5% relying solely on wireless-only service. In contrast, landline-only users amounted to just 2.3%. These figures point out that cell phones have indeed topped the charts in preference against landlines.
Washington County utilizes four primary phone networks, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. So far, they all offer stellar service when it comes to network coverage in the county. Quite a number of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) also run on the major phone networks in the county and serve as excellent alternatives for residents. Sprint offers the best service with about 90% coverage, with AT&T following closely at 82%. Verizon offers 70% coverage, while T-Mobile offers 64% coverage. However, certain places may impede service quality, including rural areas, overly populated areas, interstate, and spaces between very tall buildings.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that allows calls to run using internet connections. VoIP services are fast dominating Washington county, and the reasons are not far-fetched. VoIP offers flexibility and convenience that landlines and wireless telephone services do not readily offer. Currently, several companies offer VoIP telephone services for both residential and business purposes. The influx of companies in this industry has resulted in various offerings and highly competitive rates.
What are Washington County County Phone Scams?
Washington County phone scams are fraudulent acts committed by individuals who call and target Washington County residents in a bid to defraud them of their money or other sensitive information. Victims may employ reverse phone number lookup services to identify the perpetrators and bring them to book.
Common Washington County phone scams include:
What are Washington County COVID-19 Scams?
Washington County residents are warned to beware of scammers who contact them claiming to be county officials, calling about COVID-19 testing, vaccine, and treatments. These scammers capitalize on their false identity and try to obtain their targets’ personal and financial information. They claim that this information is necessary to help them check eligibility and offer the required test and medications.
Residents are advised to hang up on any caller that does this. Legitimate health workers will never request your sensitive personal details over the phone. Phone number search applications help verify whether or not such callers are truly legitimate county health officials. Victims of these scams should report the phone numbers that contacted them to their local law enforcement agency.
What are Washington County Law Enforcement Impersonation Scams?
Here, scammers call their targets and identify themselves as employees of the Washington County Sheriff's Office of Pennsylvania or officials from Pennsylvania’s Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC). They even go as far as cooking up fake names and identities to deceive and extort money and other sensitive personal and financial information from their targets.
The scammers tell their targets to pay up their outstanding court fines to prevent being listed on the Pennsylvania sex offender registry. Scammers claiming to be from the WCSO threaten their targets by informing them that they missed jury duties and will be penalized. Some go as far as threatening to arrest their targets if they refuse to pay up.
Washington County residents are warned to ignore such calls. The Washington County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) will never call any residents to inform them of outstanding warrants over the phone. They also do not collect fines associated with any civil or criminal dispute over the phone. Residents should always reject calls from people requesting money or other personal information. A free reverse phone lookup service can help answer the question “who called me?” and identify whether the call is from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Scammers sometimes spoof the Caller IDs of the Sheriff’s office, thereby making it more difficult to determine the actual caller. In such cases, residents are advised to contact the Sheriff’s Office on the non-emergency number 724-228-6840. Residents may also contact the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Bureau of Consumer Protection at (800) 441-2555 or visit [email protected] to file their reports or seek verification.
What are Washington County Bondsman Phone Scams?
Washington County residents are advised to take caution when dealing with callers identifying themselves as bondsmen. They tell the callers that a loved one has been involved in legal trouble or has been arrested and will only be released after paying the bond owed. They may even go as far as sending a person to their targets’ homes to get the money. After they have successfully collected the first sum, several follow-up calls are then made to the targets, asking them to send more funds to satisfy the full requirements.
The Sheriff’s office has warned residents never to give money, personal details, gift cards, or other sensitive information to anyone they do not know over the phone. Reverse phone number lookup searches can be useful in determining the Caller ID and answering the question ‘who is this number registered to?’ Residents should also block phone numbers from such callers to prevent further calls.
What are Washington County Social Security Scams?
Here, scammers contact residents, posing as workers from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Their claim is usually that their targets’ social security numbers are being used in opening several bank accounts. The storyline may vary, but they all revolve around the target’s social security number being compromised. The scammers tell them to pay a certain sum to resolve the situation and avoid further complications with the law. This could be via wire transfers, gift cards, or crypto. Sometimes, they request that their targets send other sensitive information. In most cases, scammers will spoof the phone number of the Social Security Administration to make it seem believable. They also try to ensure that their targets complete all their prompts while still on call to prevent them from verifying from third-party sources.
The SSA has warned that they never call residents to demand money or any other sensitive information. County residents who receive this type of call should not follow through with any instruction and instead hang up and report to the Inspector General’s Office. A free reverse cell phone lookup service can identify if such calls are actually from the SSA.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Often associated with political campaigns, telemarketers, and non-profit organizations, robocalls are automated phone calls that use auto-dialing software to deliver pre-recorded messages to recipients. Robocalls are popular amongst scammers for several reasons, particularly because it allows them to act anonymously.
Oftentimes, scammers use robocalls to impersonate reputable licensed businesses and even government officials as part of their tactics of defrauding unknowing residents. Through robocalls, scammers can gain the trust of their victims, thereby allowing them to steal such persons’ money and consumer information. Here’s how to deal with spam calls and robocalls:
- Do not answer the call but if you happen to, end the call once you notice it is a robocall. Most importantly, refrain from following any command prompt that may be given over the phone as they could lead to more robocalls.
- Use online services that offer phone number lookup free of charge to identify robocalls and block the phone numbers once confirmed.
- A good reverse phone lookup can also help in identifying the actual caller of a robocall.
- Register your number on the National Do Not Call Registry. Registering on the list prevents legitimate telemarketers from being able to contact you using robocalls. The implication is that any other robocall that comes in may likely be a possible phone scammer.
- Report the call to the Federal Trade Commission website or call 1-888-382-1222.
Other useful consumer tips on how to block unwanted calls on any platform are available online on the FTC website.
How Can You Spot and Report Washington County Phone Scams?
There has been a rising prevalence of phone scams in Washington County, with scammers daily coming up with new ways to perpetrate their fraudulent schemes. Tools that carry out reverse phone lookup free of charge have become even more necessary in identifying potential phone scams. Here is how to tell identify scam calls:
- Scammers will always try to get targets to divulge personal or financial information. Legitimate businesses and organizations, on the other hand, will never do that.
- Scammers always use threats and intimidation to coerce their targets to agree to their bidding. Usually, they try to put fear in the hearts of their victims by threatening to sue, arrest, or fine them.
- Scammers opt for payment methods that are outside the regularly stipulated channels. This may include telling their targets to make payments to foreign accounts via wire transfers, gift cards, prepaid debit cards, or bitcoins. The reason for this is that these channels offer scammers the opportunity to receive money without being traced.
- The caller tries to manipulate their target into taking certain actions without first consulting or confirming from 3rd parties.
- The caller proposes attractive investment opportunities with equally attractive interest and return rates. This tactic is carried out to get their targets to commit without giving it too much thought.
Tools that conduct reverse phone number lookups by name, address, and phone number are useful in helping to curb phone scams. Washington County residents may report scams to the following agencies:
Washington County Sheriff's Office of Pennsylvania - The WCSO provides information and updates on prevalent scams in the county. Washington County residents who have been victims of phone scams can report them to the Sheriff’s Office or call the non-emergency number (724) 228-6840.
Federal Trade Commission- The FTC protects consumers against deceptive and unlawful practices carried out by businesses. One of their many efforts to combat the menace of unwanted robocalls is the National Do Not Call Registry. Residents can easily identify an incoming robocall as a scam call if their phone numbers are registered on the DNC register.
Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Bureau of Consumer Protection- The Office of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania, Bureau of Consumer Protection is dedicated to protecting and defending the residents of Pennsylvania from fraudulent organizations and persons. Residents can file reports to them by email or by calling the numbers 717-787-9707 or 800-441-2555. They can also submit their complaints online.