What are McLennan County Area Codes?
Area codes are the first three digits of American phone numbers. They are assigned by the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) to divide telephone service territories Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs). NPAs identify particular geographic areas from which calls originate and their destinations. The NANPA provides area code lookup resources on its website. Currently, only one area code covers McLennan County.
Area Code 254
Area code 254 is a Texas area code serving all of McLennan County and some neighboring counties in the state. It was created from a split of the 817 NPA in 1997. Cities and towns in McLennan County within the area code 254 include Waco, Bruceville-Eddy, Moody, Hewitt, Lorena, Mc Gregor, Mart, Riesel, West, and Woodway.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in McLennan County?
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint offer network services in McLennan County. Verizon provides the widest spread at about 94%, while AT&T has a coverage of 88%. T-Mobile covers 74% of the county, while Sprint extends the least coverage at 60%. Several Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) also provide affordable network services in the county and are suitable alternatives to the major networks.
A 2018 National Centre For Health Statistics survey showed that the percentage of Texas residents using cell phones far exceeds those using landlines. The data revealed that 67.9% of Texas adults were wireless-only users, while 2.5% used only landline phones. Most children under 18 years (76.6%) lived in wireless-only homes, while 1.4% still used landlines solely for telephony services.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provides affordable means of telephony services for businesses and individuals in McLennan County. VoIP is a telecommunication technology that allows users to conveniently initiate and receive calls anywhere, at any time over broadband internet connections. Its adoption in McLennan County is continuously increasing because it is easily accessible and completely portable.
What are McLennan County Phone Scams?
McLennan County phone scams use telephony services to steal money or personal information from county residents. Scammers use different tactics and progressively adapt new means of defrauding unsuspecting targets. Reverse phone number lookup services can help residents retrieve the identities of unknown callers who try to rip them off.
Common phone scams in McLennan County include:
What are Banking Scams?
In these scams, fraudsters typically try to gain access into naive McLennan County residents’ bank accounts. They often claim to be employees of their marks’ banks and notify them of potential fraud on their accounts in an attempt to obtain financial information deceptively. Scammers eventually use such information for financial theft. In other instances, fraudsters may intentionally overpay their marks using fake checks (mailed) for purchases and then ask them to return the balances. Victims who return such money end up losing money.
McLennan County residents should never provide financial information to anyone over the phone, especially if they did not initiate such calls. They can promptly notify their banks to stop all unauthorized bank withdrawals if they suspect they have received fake checks. If you believe you are being targeted for this scam, contact the US Postal Inspection Service and report any fake checks mailed to you. The FTC also provides a means of reporting counterfeit checks online.
What are Health Insurance Scams?
Con artists pretend to be health insurance employees to extort McLennan County residents. They often try to confirm health insurance information from their targets or volunteer to help them search for alternative health insurance packages for a fee. Legally, genuine health insurance assistants are prohibited from charging residents. The scammers may inform their marks that they risk losing their health coverage if they fail to make immediate payment for the renewal of their health insurance cards. During the conversation, the fraudsters will ask for targets’ credit card numbers to make payments and their social security numbers for supposed verifications.
Typically, health insurance scammers aim to access their victim’s money and glean personal information for identity theft. Anyone who gets such calls should hang up immediately and contact their health insurance company on the phone number provided on their insurance card. The FTC warns residents never to divulge financial information to callers who offer health insurance assistance over the phone.
What are Emergency Scams?
Fraudsters call county residents and pose as family members or friends in immediate need of money to resolve some emergencies. They usually take advantage of their targets’ emotions. Common emergency claims include the need to pay hospital bills, money to post bail, or the need to exit a foreign country. Do not act immediately if you receive this type of call. You can ask the caller questions that only a genuine family member or friend can answer. Alternatively, conduct a phone number search to answer the question “who is this number registered to?”. End such a call and contact your supposed caller on their familiar phone number to confirm the claims. Typically, these fraudsters receive payment via odd channels such as gift cards or wire transfers. Phone number lookup services can help reveal their identities and prevent county residents from falling victim to scams.
What are Impersonation Scams?
Scammers impersonate federal agents or employees of state and county agencies, including the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, to cheat county residents out of their money. They may threaten their marks with arrests and lawsuits for owing taxes and instruct them to pay on short notice. These scammers often sound official and sometimes present fake badge numbers. Legitimate employees of government bodies do not threaten residents or solicit payments, especially not via wire transfers or gift cards. Free reverse phone lookup applications can help residents who receive these types of calls know who called them.
What are Lottery Scams?
In these scams, McLennan County residents are told that they have been randomly selected for foreign lotteries, which they can only access after paying specific fees. County residents must know that they cannot win in a lottery without buying tickets and entering competitions. The scammers often emphasize that call recipients keep their wins private. They do this to dissuade them from making independent verifications. Their preferred means of receiving payments (gift cards or wire transfers) are odd, and transactions on them are usually unrecoverable. County residents must be cautious when presented with lottery offers and may report suspicious calls to the FTC.
What are Charity Scams?
Scammers engage in fake charity appeals over the phone to extort McLennan County residents. The callers usually claim to be with reputable charity organizations and sometimes may present fake charity names similar to those of familiar and legitimate charities. Charity scams are often rampant after tragedies such as natural disasters. County residents should properly research charity organizations online before making donations. They should never feel pressured to make instant contributions to unknown charities. Charity organizations that request donations through hardly irregular payment channels are potential scammers. It is safer to donate through credit cards and checks. If the fraud is exploiting a natural disaster, you may file a report with the National Centre for Disaster Fraud.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated phone calls that relay pre-recorded messages. They are commonly used in telemarketing. Robocalls may be legal or illegal, depending on whether or not phone number users gave written permissions for such calls. Unsolicited robocalls from telemarketing companies are illegitimate, whereas purely informative robocalls, which are not intended to sell products, are legal.
Spam calls are inappropriate and irrelevant calls usually distributed en-mass to phone numbers without prior requests by users. When a spam call delivers a pre-recorded message, it is an illegal robocall. Scammers use spoofed robocalls to steal money or obtain confidential information from their targets for identity theft.
If you get an unsolicited robocall, the best options are to:
- Hang up immediately without responding to any prompt and do a suspicious phone number lookup to determine the call’s origin.
- Report the robocall number to the FTC by filing a complaint online. Doing this helps law enforcement to identify the illegal callers based on complaint trends.
- Enroll your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry and Texas No-Call List to be exempt from receiving unsolicited robocalls.
- Use call the blocking application on your phone to block an identified robocall number from contacting you in the future. The FTC provides consumer information on how to block unwanted calls. The Federal Communications Commission also educates consumers on how to stop unwanted robocalls.
The Federal Trade Commission provides consumer information on how to respond to robocalls.
How Can You Spot and Report McLennan County Phone Scams?
To spot phone scams in McLennan County, residents must be vigilant and well informed as phone scammers’ tricks are constantly evolving. The primary aim of phone scammers is to get their targets to give out personal information or part with their money. Websites that offer suspicious phone number lookup services can help county residents identify phone scams and avoid them. Common signs of McLennan phone scams include:
- The caller is aggressive and attempts to coerce victims into parting with money or releasing personal information. Anyone who employs scare tactics to get you to send money or share confidential information are potential scammers.
- The caller offers a purported once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and tries to leverage people's urge to get rich quickly without hard work.
- The caller insists on receiving payments via specific payment methods.
- The caller offers an investment opportunity and claims there are only limited slots and then persuades the called party to make instant payment. Such a business offer is a potential scam.
McLennan County residents can file complaints of phone scams with any of the following public agencies:
- McLennan County Sheriff’s Office: McLennan County residents can report phone scam incidents to the County Sheriff’s Office by calling (254) 757-5095.
- Texas Attorney General’s Office: County residents can file complaints of phone scams and robocalls online with the Attorney General’s Office. Alternatively, a phone scam victim may send a completed printable complaint form via mail to:
Office of The Attorney General
Consumer Protection Division
P. O. Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548.
- Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC): The PUC allows residents to report phone scams online. They manage the Texas No-Call List for residents who wish to reduce the frequency of unsolicited calls. You can report any violation of the Texas No-Call List online to the PUC.
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC): McLennan County residents can report phone scams to the FTC online or by calling 1 (877) 382-4357. They can also enroll their phone numbers in the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce unwanted robocalls. Any unsolicited robocall that comes in after registration on the DNC registry is a potential scam.
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC): The FCC receives reports of scam calls online and by phone at (888) 225-5322.