What are Ellis County Area Codes?
There are five area codes currently serving Ellis County. These are area codes 214, 469, 945, 972, and 254. Area codes are three-digit codes assigned to numbering plan areas (NPAs). The creation of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) in 1947 led to the introduction of area codes and NPAs. NPAs are geographic divisions corresponding to separate units of telephone exchanges in North American phone networks. The NANP unified North America call switching systems and made routing long-distance calls more efficient. In a typical 10-digit phone number registered in the US, the area code is the first three digits.
Area Code 214
One of the original area codes created in 1947, area code code 214 covered the entire northeastern part of Texas until it was split in 1990 to make area code 903. Another split-off in 1995 created area code 972. However, in 1999, area code 972 was reabsorbed into 214 and converted into an overlay code. Ellis County communities covered by area code 214 include Ennis, Red Oak, Midlothian, and Waxahachie.
Area Code 972
First created in a split plan that shrunk the 214 NPA in 1995, area code 972 was subsumed back into the 214 NPA. It currently serves as an overlay code for the entire region covered by area code 214. Therefore, it covers the same communities in Ellis County as area code 214.
Area Code 469
Introduced on July 1, 1999, area code 469 was created in an overlay plan for the 214 NPA. However, it only serves the easternmost parts of the 214 NPA including most of Ellis County. Communities in Ellis County covered by area code 469 include Ennis, Ferris, Cedar Hill, Maypearl, Midlothian, and Waxahachie.
Area Code 945
The most recent overlay code for the 214 NPA, area code 945 was introduced in 2021 and expected to come into service in the middle of the year. Communities in Ellis County that will be covered by area code 945 include those served by area codes 214 and 972.
Area Code 254
Created on May 25, 1997 from a split from area code 817, area code 254 serves counties in the east-central part of Texas. It only covers a small portion of Ellis County including Milford.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Ellis County?
Most of the residents of Ellis County and Texas have replaced their landline phones with wireless phones. In a 2018 survey studying wireless substitution among American phone users, the National Center for Health Statistics found that 67.9% of adult Texans reported using only wireless phones for telecommunication. In contrast, 2.5% of the demographic still reported solely using landline phones. Among minors in the state, 76.6% were wireless-only phone users while only 1.4% of Texans under the age of 18 used landline phones exclusively.
Residents of Ellis County can sign up for cell phone plans from major carriers as well as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). Among national carriers operating in the state, AT&T has the most extensive network with its signals covering 96.6% of the state. Verizon and T-Mobile cover 91% and 86% of the state respectively.
MVNOs are small, regional carriers that offer phone services by leasing the networks of bigger, national carriers. These regional operators purchase network services in bulk from major carriers and pass on some of the savings to their subscribers. While MVNOs offer cheaper cell phone plans, their phone services get spotty outside of the regions they serve.
Ellis County residents can also enjoy phone services provided by VoIP operators. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a networking technology that enables communication over the internet and transmits voice signals as data packets. To enjoy VoIP phone services, residents and businesses in Ellis County need broadband internet access. VoIP phone plans are usually cheaper than landline and cell phone plans. VoIP phone services are also more flexible and better suited for long and long-distance calls.
What are Ellis County Phone Scams?
Ellis County phone scams are telephone frauds committed in the county or targeting residents and businesses in the county. Scammers call and text their victims when running these scams. They may also use robocalls, robocalls, spam calls, and voice phishing to find new targets and trick them into parting with their money and confidential personal information.
To avoid phone scammers and foil scams, residents of Ellis County should learn to use call blocking and reverse phone lookup. Such tools are useful for spotting and stopping phone scams and for gathering information when reporting these frauds. Along with these anti-scam tools, Ellis County residents should also learn the most common phone scams in their communities and how scammers find and trick their victims. The Attorney General of Texas provides a handy list of common phone scams in the state including the following: advance fee scams, tech support scams, IRS scams, and emergency scams.
What are Ellis County Advance Fee Scams?
In these scams, fraudsters contacting unsuspecting residents promise them huge benefits for small upfront payments. Promised benefits include inheritance, lottery winnings, loans, government grants, and job opportunities. If contacted by a stranger promising a windfall or a lucrative opportunity, think twice about the offer before jumping at it. Investigate the caller by confirming their identity with a free reverse phone number lookup. If your search result indicates the caller is not who they claim they are, they are likely scammers.
What are Ellis County Tech Support Scams?
These scams start with fraudsters calling their victims and claiming they represent reputable tech companies. As most people use Windows machines, these callers often claim to be Microsoft tech support. They may also impersonate antivirus companies. They alarm their targets by claiming their computers are infected with viruses and they will lose all of their data if the machines are not fixed immediately. Usually, these scammers request remote access to their victims’ computers.
Tech support scammers may charge their victims considerable fees for bogus repairs. They may also install malware on their machines to steal personal and financial data. In some cases, scammers install ransomware on their victims’ computers to lock owners out of their machines until they pay demanded ransoms. The Texas Attorney General warns residents never to grant strangers remote access to their computers. Tech companies do not request to scan customers’ computers for viruses nor call to offer unrequested customer support. Use a suspicious phone number lookup to verify the identity of a caller making these claims and to check whether that number has been flagged for previous scams.
What are Ellis County IRS Scams?
These are also impostor scams. In these cases, fraudsters claim to be employees of the Internal Revenue Service and demand owed taxes from their victims. They threaten their victims with dire consequences if they do not pay those back taxes immediately. One way to tell a real IRS agent from an impostor is that the latter demands payment by wire transfer, gift card, or prepaid debit card and insists on staying on the phone until you complete the payment. Also, the IRS does not contact taxpayers by phone but by mail correspondences.
Another variation of IRS scams involve a fraudster calling to offer their victim a tax refund but requiring their personal information to confirm their identity. Do not provide strangers with identifying and financial information and never call out your Social Security number to anyone claiming to represent the IRS, the Social Security Administration, or law enforcement. Check the caller’s identity and location with a phone number lookup search and call the government agency referenced directly to confirm the caller’s claims.
What are Ellis County Emergency Scams?
Also known as grandparent scams, these involve fraudsters calling their victims and claiming to be a dear friend or family member in dire need. While these scams usually target elderly residents, anyone can be a victim. They prey on their victims’ willingness to help loved ones in trouble. Impostors running these scams may claim they are stuck in foreign countries, in jail, or in the hospital and need money to get out and get back home. They beg for secrecy claiming they are embarrassed of their emergency.
Residents of Ellis County should definitely confirm the identities of such callers with reverse phone lookup searches. However, fraudsters routinely use caller ID spoofing to hide their true identities and impersonate loved ones. This is why it is important to call the loved one claiming to need financial help directly to confirm that they are truly the ones who called. Targets of these scams should also contact other family members and acquaintances to confirm the stories they heard.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated phone calls that deliver pre-recorded messages. Usually placed by auto-dialers, robocalls require very little effort to run once set up. Telemarketers, political groups, and organizations sending public service announcements use robocalls to quickly reach large audiences. However, most robocalls received by Ellis County residents are from scammers trying to defraud them.
Spam calls are also bulk calls placed to large groups of phone users. However, spam calls are likely placed by actual humans and deliver similar messages according to prepared scripts. Both robocalls and spam calls are unwanted and unsolicited. To stop or reduce the number of these calls, consider the following steps:
- Do not trust your phone’s caller ID function to accurately identify who is calling. Scammers use caller ID spoofing to make their calls appear to come from friends and family members of their targets as well as from authority figures
- Do not answer calls from unknown numbers. Let these go to voicemail where you can review them to see which ones to return
- Do not answer robocalls and spam calls. If you did, hang up as soon as you discover you are on a robocall or spam call
- Do not follow instructions given during robocalls on how to stop receiving such calls. Such prompts only confirm active numbers and then target them with more robocalls and spam calls
- Ask your carrier for call blocking solutions. Most carriers offer such features. Call blocking and filtering are also available on most smartphones. You can also find call blocking apps on your phone’s app store. Choose a well-known and well-reviewed one
- Identify repeat callers with strange numbers with reverse phone lookup. This can help determine whether they are phone scammers, spammers, or stalkers. Use the information gathered in your report to law enforcement
- Add your phone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry as well as Texas’ No Call Lists. This will stop robocalls from legitimate telemarketers. Robocalls and spam calls received 31 days after joining these registries are likely from scammers and can be safely disregarded and reported
How to Spot and Report Ellis County Phone Scams
Avoiding phone scams requires vigilance and a good knowledge of how scammers operate. In addition to learning about the different scams prevalent in their communities, residents of Ellis County should also be able to recognize tell-tale signs of phone scams. They should look out for the following signs of telephone fraud:
- Request for payment via unofficial channels - scammers impersonating law enforcement, government officials, credit card companies, utility companies, charities, and tech support ask for fines, debts, donations, overdue bills, and payments for goods and services by cash, gift cards, wire transfer, prepaid debit cards, mobile app payments, and cryptocurrencies
- Use of threat - a caller claiming to be a government official or law enforcement agent and issuing threats over the phone is likely a scammer. Such fraudsters threaten their victims with immediate arrest, jail, deportation, and revocation of their business, driver’s, or professional licenses
- Aggressive sales tactics - fraudsters selling bogus no-risk, high-reward investment and business offers are keen to close their deals immediately. They will claim those jaw-dropping offers are only available for a limited time or offer even steeper discounts if their targets will send money immediately
- Inability to provide supporting documents - scammers usually lack written documentation backing their claims and identities. When asked, they are unable to provide such documents
In addition to looking out for these signs of phone scams, residents of Ellis County must also be able to use reverse phone number lookup tools to investigate suspected strangers calling them. Reporting phone scams is important for two reasons: to help apprehend and prosecute fraudsters and also increase public awareness about their tricks. Texans living in Ellis County can report telephone frauds to these authorities:
- The Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General - this Unit protects Texans against dishonest individuals and businesses and prosecutes consumer scams. Ellis County residents can file complaints with the Division using the instructions provided on the Attorney General’s website
- The Public Utility Commission of Texas - this agency is responsible for maintaining Texas’s No Call Lists. Residents can report telemarketers violating the rules of these lists to the Commission
- The Treasury Inspector General Administration (TIGTA) - the agency is responsible for prosecuting IRS scams. Texans can report fraudsters claiming to be IRS agents to the TIGTA by filing complaints of IRS impersonation scams online
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - this is the federal agency responsible for consumer protection and fighting unfair and deceptive business practices. Report a consumer scams to the FTC by calling (877) 382-4357 or submitting a fraud complaint online
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - this is the federal communication regulatory agency. It monitors the use and prosecutes the misuse of telecommunication tools and services. Residents of Ellis County can report illegal robocalls, spam calls, caller ID spoofing, and phishing to the FCC. They can also file complaints of scams perpetrated using these tools to the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center