What are El Paso County Area Codes?
Area codes are the strings of three-digit numeric codes that start North American telephone numbers. Established by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), they identify numbering plan areas (NPAs). The NANP was instituted to ease the process of long-distance calling, and area codes identify the origins and destinations of telephone calls. In Texas, the Public Utilities Commission is responsible for the administration of area codes.
There is only one area code that serves the County of El Paso.
Area Code 915
Area code 915 is the telephone area code in the NANP that covers El Paso County in Texas. It also serves most of the neighboring counties in the state. One of the original area codes established in 1947, it originally covered all of northwestern Texas. Cities and towns in El Paso County served by this area code include Anthony, Clint, El Paso, Fort Bliss, Horizon City, San Elizario, Socorro, and Vinton.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in El Paso County?
A 2018 National Health Interview Survey estimated that 67.9% of Texan adults (over 18) used wireless-only telephony services while 2.5% exclusively used landlines. Among children (under 18), only 1.4% lived in households that still exclusively used landlines, while 76.6% relied on wireless-only telephony services. This trend suggests that cell phones have surpassed landlines as El Paso County residents’ preferred telecommunication choice.
Telephone network services are very good in El Paso County, with all four major phone networks offering services, particularly in El Paso city. Verizon boasts the best service with about 98.5% coverage followed closely by T-Mobile with about 98.4%. AT&T provides reliable service with about 91% coverage, but Sprint lags behind and covers only about 63% of the city. Similarly, several Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) are present in El Paso County running on the major operators’ infrastructure. The MVNOs offer excellent telephony services at a fraction of the costs of the major carriers.
VoIP services are available to El Paso County residents from several businesses. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that delivers telephony services via IP networks, particularly the internet, rather than copper wires and radio waves. It offers telephone services for business and residential uses that are more efficient and flexible than traditional phone services at cheaper rates.
What are El Paso County Phone Scams?
These are acts committed with telephone services that aim to deceptively obtain money and confidential information from El Paso County residents. If you receive calls from suspicious phone numbers, lookup services can determine the origins of the phone calls and answer the question, “who called me?”
The El Paso County Attorney prosecutes deceptive business practices and obtains restitution for consumers where possible. Victims of phone scams can contact the County Attorney on (915) 546-2050 or by email. Alternatively, visit the County Attorney’s Office at 500 E.San Antonio, Suite 503, El Paso, TX 79901. Victims of phone scams can file reports with the El Paso County Sheriff or their local police departments. Common scams in El Paso County include:
What are Law Enforcement Impersonation Scams?
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office warns county residents about callers impersonating law enforcement officers. The callers pose as employees of the Sheriff’s Office and claim the targets have ignored jury duty, court summons, or unpaid tickets and have outstanding warrants. The targets are informed they must make payments or report to the Sheriff’s Office to resolve the issues. The callers request payments via Money Trax cards or gift cards, asking the victims to buy the cards and send the serial numbers to take care of the warrants.
The Sheriff’s Office advises residents that it never contacts residents for payments for outstanding warrants and will never ask for payment by gift cards. If you receive these types of calls, hang up immediately and report them to the Sheriff’s Office on (915) 832-4408 or your local police department. Residents can make inquiries with the Sheriff’s Office about outstanding warrants by calling (915) 546-2214 and jury duty by calling (915) 546-8102. Reverse phone number lookups can verify if calls are from legitimate law enforcement offices.
What are Credit Card Scams?
In these scams, the callers contact credit card owners impersonating employees of their credit card companies. They notify the card owners that they observed what they suspect are fraudulent charges on their cards during routine audits. They inform the targets of bogus charges on their cards, which the targets deny making. They then tell the victims that the charges will be reversed and their cards credited, but they need to confirm the cards are in their possession. To prove they are the card owners, they should provide the Card Verification Value (CVV) numbers. These are the three (or four) digit security codes on the credit cards’ reverse side. These codes are required for online transactions, and providing them to the scammers enables them to make charges on the cards without the owners’ knowledge.
Your credit card company already has these codes and will not request them from you. Residents are advised not to provide any information to callers who make these requests. Hang up and call your financial institution directly to make inquiries. A reverse phone number search can ascertain if a call is legitimately from your financial institution.
What are Work-at-Home Scams?
Scammers put out adverts for paid work-from-home jobs and when the targets respond, they conduct phone interviews and offer them these jobs. The scammers send the victims checks as payments and instruct the targets to keep part of the money and return the balance to them. The returned balances are supposedly for materials and other resources the targets will require.
Victims who comply with these instructions find out later that the checks did not clear because they are fake and any money sent is lost. Also, they are now liable for criminal charges as a result of depositing counterfeit checks. Residents can obtain information to verify the legitimacy of companies offering work at home opportunities from the Better Business Bureau. Reverse phone lookups can also identify if these calls are from fraudsters.
What are Lottery Scams?
Residents receive unsolicited calls from persons claiming to be representatives of lottery organizations. The callers claim that the targets won substantial prizes in a national lottery that the targets did not enter. However, to collect their winnings, the marks are to send money to pay for administration fees and taxes. The callers ask for payment by wire transfers, typically Western Union. The callers may also ask for the targets’ personal information for identity verifications. Residents who comply with these requests end up losing money and granting the scammers access to their accounts.
Authorities advise residents that legitimate lottery companies do not require payments for taxes and administrative fees as these are taken from the lottery winnings. You cannot win a lottery you did not buy a ticket for, so any phone call claiming you have is a scam. Phone number searches can confirm if the phone numbers that called you are from legitimate lottery organizations. Victims of these scams should file reports with the El Paso County Sheriff or their local police department.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
A robocall is an automated telephone service that delivers pre-recorded messages to a target audience. Once the mainstay of telemarketing and political campaigns, robocalls are increasingly being used by fraudsters to scam unsuspecting residents. County residents are used to receiving robocalls from authentic sources, and scammers take advantage of this to catch their targets off-guard. In addition, robocall numbers are easily manipulated, making it very difficult to trace the callers. Phone number lookup free services can identify robocall and spam numbers, allowing recipients to screen such calls.
When dealing with illegal spam and robocalls, your best courses of action include:
- Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry and the Texas No-Call List. These are databases of telephone numbers exempted from receiving robocalls unless allowed by law. While this does not guarantee an end to spam calls, it makes it easier to identify potential scam calls.
- Report illegal robocalls to the FTC by filing an online consumer complaint or calling 1 (888) 382-1222.
- Discontinue a robocall once you identify a phone call as such. Disregard any messages or prompts as these lead to more automated messages and mark your number for more robocalls.
- Use call-blocking features provided by phone manufacturers and carriers. These features and services are also useful for blocking spam call and robocall numbers.
- Use phone number lookup free services to identify robocall numbers and block them.
The FTC also makes available consumer tips on blocking unwanted calls on any platform on its website.
How to Spot and Report El Paso County Phone Scams?
Scammers consistently modify their schemes to steal money and information from targets, especially uninformed ones. Most scams are usually variations of old cons, so having information about scammers’ antics can help spot them before any damage is done. Knowledge and awareness remain the best means of avoiding scammers. Typical hallmarks of phone scams include:
- The callers claim to be representatives of legitimate organizations and make unsolicited requests for personal and financial information. Legitimate organizations will not solicit customer information on random phone calls.
- The callers try and coerce information or payments from you by threatening audits, deportations, arrests, and prosecutions. Legitimate authorities do not threaten residents to obtain compliance.
- Free prizes and winnings get offered, but you must pay fees to redeem them. Any prize or winning that is supposed to be free but requires an upfront payment to collect is a scam.
- You receive notifications of bogus debts that you were unaware of, and the callers insist on payments through unconventional channels. These channels are typically wire transfers, reloadable debit cards, and gift cards. Scammers use these payment channels because of the anonymity and difficulty in tracing the payments once collected.
- The callers make claims but are unable (or unwilling) to answer any questions you have about the claims. They also dissuade you from seeking confirmation or opinions from third-parties, usually claiming the matters are time-sensitive.
Anyone can be targeted by a scammer, so residents need to remain vigilant. Online services that perform suspicious phone number lookups by name, number, and address are available in free and paid versions. Using these services can provide answers to questions like “who called?” and “who is this number registered to?”
Public institutions that assist residents in dealing with phone scams include:
El Paso County Attorney- The Criminal Unit of the County Attorney’s Office receives referrals from local law enforcement agencies about scams and frauds perpetrated in the county. Residents can contact the County Attorney on (915) 546-2050 or by email.
El Paso County Sheriff- The El Paso County Sheriff is the primary law enforcement agency in El Paso County. Victims of phone scams should report them at the Sheriff’s Office. Alternatively, victims can file reports with their local police departments.
Texas Attorney General- The Consumer Protection Unit of the Texas AG’s Office provides information and resources for dealing with scams and other fraudulent acts. Victims of phone scams can file complaints online or call the consumer protection hotline on 1 (800) 621-0508.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)- This is the federal authority that protects consumers from deceptive and unfair practices. The National Do Not Call Registry is an FTC initiative that protects consumers from unwanted spam calls. The FTC also provides tips on call-blocking, a useful tool against phone scammers. Report cases of illegal spam calls and other fraudulent acts to the FTC online or by calling 1 (888) 382-1222.