What are Cameron County Area Codes?
Area codes in Texas differentiate the Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs) in the state as designated by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). An area code is the three-digit code at the beginning of any 10-digit North American telephone number. It identifies the origin of a phone call. There is only one active area code (956) serving Cameron County.
Area Code 956
Created as a split of the 210 NPA in 1997, area code 956 covers Cameron County and six others in Texas. Cameron County cities within the 956 NPA include Brownsville, San Benito, Harlingen, Port Isabel, and Rio Hondo.
The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) manages the Cameron County area code alongside others in the State of Texas.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Cameron County?
Cameron County enjoys wireless network services from the nation's four major phone carriers with coverage varying by location. Numerous Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) also serve residents in some parts of Cameron County. For instance, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile do not have a presence in Brownsville. AT&T, however, has the best coverage of 84% while Movistar has a network spread of 82% and Telcel covers 82% of the city.
Cell phones are the preferred means of telephony in Texas with an estimated 67.9% of adult Texans relying on wireless-only telephony services while only 2.5% still used landline-only services. These figures are contained in the findings of a 2018 CDC survey. The data obtained from the survey suggests that telephony service preference is fast shifting towards wireless services in Texas.
Voice over Internet Protocol Service (VoIP) is an alternative telephony service with rapidly growing appeal. It offers phone services over broadband internet connections. VoIP phone services are a lot cheaper than traditional alternatives for businesses and residential users in Cameron County.
What are Cameron County Phone Scams?
Cameron County phone scams are the deceptive practices that use phone services to cheat residents out of money and steal valuable information. Phone scammers typically pose as trustworthy parties to achieve their aims. Reverse phone lookup applications can help you uncover unknown callers' identities and help avoid phone scams. Cameron County residents can send reports on phone scams to the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) via its online complaint form. The Cameron County Sheriff's Department works jointly with other consumer protection agencies to rid the county of phone scams. Prevalent phone scams in Cameron County include:
What are COVID-19 Scams?
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic created avenues for scammers to extort naive Cameron County residents. These scammers do so using various schemes to obtain their targets' sensitive information. Some variations of coronavirus-related phone scams include:
- The callers pretend to be contact tracers and inform their targets that they have been in contact with persons who tested positive for COVID-19. The callers will request social security numbers, among other personal information, and then advise targets to self-isolate. Know that real contact tracers will never ask you for any information unrelated to your health and physical interactions.
- The scammers offer COVID-19 home test kits and vaccination for a fee. They will request that you wire money or purchase gift cards for payment. These are attempts to cheat you out of your money as there is no approved vaccination for the coronavirus yet. Many of the test kits being promoted are not authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Do not send money to anyone who contacts you with such offers.
Never be in a rush to share your personal information over the phone, especially if you did not initiate the call, to avoid identity thefts and financial losses. If you fall victim to a coronavirus-related scam, file your complaints online with the FTC or call the OAG on 1 (800) 621-0508.
What are Arrest Warrant Scams?
If you receive a phone call from someone with the Cameron County Sheriff Department (CCSD) regarding an active warrant, hang up. You can do a reverse number lookup to retrieve the caller's name and address for further verification. Phone scammers are impersonating the Sheriff's Department to extort county residents. They request their targets' credit card information for immediate payment to avoid arrest, deportation, and prosecution during the call.
The CCSD urges residents never to give in to such intimidatory tactics as its employees will never request payments over the phone. End the call and contact the Sheriff's Department direct inquiries if you receive this type of phone call. Do not share your credit card information with anyone over the phone or send money to unknown persons. Residents who have lost money or identities to warrant scams can report to the CCSD by calling (956) 554-6700 or file complaints with the FTC.
What are Credit Repair Scams?
These scams are targeted at Cameron County residents with poor credit records. The scammers pretend to be with some credit repair companies and promise to stamp out their targets' bad credit histories for a fee. They typically prefer taking those fees by wire transfer or inform targets to purchase gift cards and share card details with them. The scammers will request social security numbers and promise to give their targets new ones. They may be selling stolen security numbers to you and claim that you are all set for a fresh start.
Using your "brand new" social security number will implicate you in identity fraud and land you in legal trouble. It is important to know that only you can repair your credit history. Pay your debts regularly, and you will have a clean credit report over time. Be wary of these scammers to avoid putting yourself in a fix. You can report credit repair phone scams to the FTC by calling 1 (888) 382-1222. Cameron County residents who are victims of this type of fraud can file complaints online with the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG).
What are IRS Scams?
IRS scams target individuals and businesses in Cameron County. The scammers often impersonate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees to coerce taxpayers into divulging personal information and sending money. It is possible to discover their real identities using reverse phone number lookup applications. The callers will most often claim that their targets have unpaid taxes that must be settled immediately to avoid arrest by law enforcement. They favor payment by gift cards and wire transfer. These scammers may also request to take their targets' social security numbers for supposed verification purposes.
Residents should know that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by phone to ask for payment or sensitive information. Do not provide personal or financial data if you receive such communication from anyone claiming to be from the IRS. County residents can report incidents of IRS phone scams online to the TIGTA or file online complaints with the FTC.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are pre-recorded messages delivered by phone calls placed using auto-dialers. They are useful in communicating with selected phone users with minimal human effort. Robocalls can sometimes be annoying and invasive. Phone scammers have taken advantage of its wide-reaching capacity to perpetrate frauds in Cameron County. To stop robocalls inundation and avoid scams, your best choices are to:
- Block robocalls by turning on the built-in call-blocking feature on your cell phone. Doing this identifies robocalls and screens them from interrupting you. Some third-party applications also offer call-blocking services.
- End a phone call once you hear a recorded message instead of a live person.
- Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry and the Texas No-Call List. Doing these will significantly reduce the number of robocalls coming to you. Any unsolicited call you get after registering on these lists is a potential scam.
- File the reports of robocalls online with the FTC or call 1 (888) 382-1222.
- Do not share any sensitive personal or financial information even when speaking with a live operator on a robocall,.
How Can You Spot and Report Cameron County Phone Scams?
Scammers are using the telephone in many ways to prey on Cameron County residents. They often try to gain their marks' trust in a bid to steal from them. Fraudsters will do and say anything to achieve their aims. Below are some red flags to help you spot phone scams:
- Scammers want you to make up your mind about their offers right away. Anyone with legitimate deals will not pressure you to make an on-the-spot decision on something you had no plan to buy.
- Fraudsters usually use free bonuses as baits on bogus products to get their targets to send money quickly.
- If an unknown person approaches you with a low-risk investment that provides a very high return, it is a potential scam.
- If someone asks you to share personal information such as the social security number, it is a scam especially if you did not initiate the call.
- If the caller asks you a question like, "do you trust me?", chances are it is a scam call. This is particularly true for someone you do not know.
Resist the pressure of making irrational decisions when you receive suspicious phone calls. Perform reverse phone number lookups to confirm that unknown callers are who they claim to be. Some government agencies are making efforts to combat the menace of phone scams in Cameron County. They provide consumer education to keep residents abreast of current phone scams and guides on avoiding them. These agencies include:
Federal Trade Commission - The FTC works to prevent deceptive business practices. They also provide information on how to identify phone scams. You can report robocall scams and other phone scams to the FTC online or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222.
Texas Office of the Attorney General - The Office of the Attorney General educates residents on how to avoid phone scams. Cameron County residents who are phone scam victims can report their encounters to the OAG online or by calling 1 (800) 621-0508.
Cameron County Sheriff Department - The CCSD investigates all reported incidents of phone scams in Cameron County. They periodically publish scam alerts to intimate residents with how phone scammers operate. You can file complaints of phone scams with the CCSD by calling (956) 554-6700.
Internal Revenue Service - The IRS provides information on how to avoid tax-related phone scams on its websites. Cameron County residents who believe they may be victims of tax-related scams can file complaints online with the TIGTA.