What are Albany County Area Codes?
Albany County is found on the west coast of the United States (US) in the east-central part of New York State. According to the United States Census Bureau, Albany County has a population of 305,506 as of July 1st, 2019. Albany County area codes are three-digit numbers of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) which are used to classify the area Albany County is found. This area is called the numbering plan area (NPA). There are two area codes operational in Albany County. These codes are 518 and 838.
Area code 518 is a New York State telephone area code in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). It was established in 1947 as one of the original area codes serving the county. It covers the north-eastern part of the State of New York where Albany County is located. Cities and towns covered by these area codes in Albany County include Albany, Alcove, Altamont, Berne, Clarksville, Coeymans, Coeymans Hollow, Cohoes, Delmar, East Berne, Feura Bush, Glenmont, Guilderland, Guilderland Center, Knox, Latham, Medusa, Newtonville, Preston Hollow, Ravena, Rensselaerville, Selkirk, Slingerlands, South Bethlehem, Troy, Voorheesville, Watervliet, and Westerlo.
Area code 838 serves as an overlay of the primary area code 518 serving Albany County. . It is a New York State telephone overlay area code in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). It covers the north-eastern part of the State of New York. Cities in Albany County covered by the 838 area code are the same as those covered by area code 518. Area code 838 was officially added in 2017.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Albany County?
The mobile phone providers available in Albany County all have a varying range for their coverage of the county. The mobile network coverage includes T-mobile with 86%, Verizon with 82%, AT&T with 78%, and Sprint with 68%. The landline to cell phone percentage usage in Albany County should match those of New York State based on data from the 2018 National Health Interview Early Release Program survey on wireless substitution, carried out by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Results from this survey show that 38.8.7% of adults from age 18 and over are wireless-only phone users compared to 6% for landline-only phone users in the same demographic. 45.9% of children under 18 were wireless-only phone users compared to 2.9% for landline-only children, showing a greater disparity in the use of wireless-only phones for the children than for adults. This data shows a marked preference for mobile phones compared to landlines in Albany County.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that allows the conversion of voice to data thus allowing phone-style communication through broadband internet connections. VoIP's main advantage is that it is cheaper than conventional telephone services and this affordability is driving its adoption. Over the course of about 10 years from 1995 to 2015, more than four million residential and business consumers in New York State have adopted VoIP technology for their phone service as is reported in the Telecommunications Assessment of the New York Department of Public Service.
What are Albany County phone scams?
Albany County phone scams are schemes carried out by scammers to cheat unsuspecting victims of their money or sensitive information using phone-mediated tactics. They carry out these unscrupulous acts by pretending to be friendly, helpful, or sometimes by threatening, or by scaring their targets. The ultimate plan is to deceive you; do not fall for it.
Common phone scams in Albany County include:
- Travel scams and timeshare scams: Scammers promise unsuspecting victims vacation which should be free or low cost. There might be no vacation at all or victims end up paying more than they were promised. Scammers can also claim to have timeshare for sale but only if they are paid upfront.
- Prize and lottery scams: Scammers call the victims to announce their win but then request payment to claim the prize or for shipment. After payment victims will find out there was no prize.
- Imposter scams: Scammers can call and claim they are representatives of government agencies such as the IRS, Social Security Administration, or that they are tech support for your computer, a family member, or a romantic interest.
- Business and investment scams: Scammers calling to offer assistance in starting a business can also offer business coaching and guarantee quick profits from certain investments.
- Debt relief and credit repair scams: Scammers call the victims offering to cancel student loans, help with credit score, and lower their credit card interest rates. The victims can end up losing their money or worsening their credit.
- Charity scams: These scams involve requesting donations to assist people for disasters by scammers claiming to be charities. Checking the authenticity of a charity before making donations is advised.
- Free trials: A scammer calls and offers products for free that are not. Victims who fall for this end up paying for these products sometimes for months before they cancel the payments.
- Extended car warranties: Scammers offer overpriced or worthless service contracts after they find out the type of car their targeted victims use.
- Loan scams: Scammers offering loan guarantees to people with poor credit and asking for a fee upfront is another phone scam.
Identity theft scams were filed at the rate of 186 per 100,000 people in the State of New York in 2019 for a total of 36,337 complaints ranking 12th in the country.
The Attorney General of The State of New York has taken proactive steps to ensure Albanians and other members of the public are protected from these phone scams. Complaints can be filed using the General Consumer Complaint Form available on the New York Attorney General’s website. Complaints must be done in writing and submitted along with the General Complaint Form at:
Albany, NY 12224-0341
Phone: (518) 776-2307
Robocalls are recorded audio messages configured to play when you answer a phone call or to act as an interactive voice system allowing entry from the person on the phone using their voice or key presses on the phone to either pass required information or to submit data. Most unsolicited robocalls trying to sell you something are illegal unless the company making the call has your permission. Robocalls are cheap to set up and have become a major tool being used by scammers to practice their deceptive practices. Originally, politicians, hospitals, local police departments, and telemarketers use robocalls as a means of relaying information. However, the government has limited telemarketers from calling consumers registered on the National Do Not Call Registry. Note that this does not stop your cell from receiving unwanted robocalls. However, it serves as a scam alert as defaulters are usually scammers and illegitimate telemarketers.
Here are effective ways to possibly prevent robocalls in Albany County:
- Do not answer unknown callers. Let it go to voicemail. Sometimes, answering these robocalls predispose you to receive even more robocalls.
- Even if you answer, hang up immediately you discover robocalls for what it is.
- Report the unwanted call to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using the Do Not Call Registry.
- Add your mobile or landline number to the National Do Not Call Registry. This ensures that you will not receive robocalls from most legal marketers.
- Reverse phone number lookup services can help to identify the source of incoming phone calls.
- Use the call blocking features of your phone or your phone service provider or network. This might be the most effective solution to robocalls.
The FTC provides additional info on how to block unwanted calls on their website. Please note that the FTC allows that some robocalls do not require your permission. These include:
- Informational messages
- Debt collection calls
- Calls from health care providers
- Political calls
- Messages from Charities.
How Can You Spot and Report Albany County Phone Scams?
Spotting and identifying phone scams in Albany County will involve knowing the common, modified, and evolving tricks employed by scammers to defraud their targets. Phone scammers are always coming up with new tricks based on their knowledge of technology, and current happenings in the society. Having an idea of the various phone scam tactics will help to prevent you from falling victim. Also helpful is registering your number on the state and national Do Not Call Registry.
The following are signs of a phone call scam attempt from unknown callers:
- Calls promising a prize or an offer that you have won a prize but you have to pay to get the prize.
- Calls from persons claiming to be law enforcement officers threatening arrest, deportation, or fine unless taxes or other debts are paid immediately.
- “Banks” or “government agencies” claiming to be calling to confirm private or sensitive information.
- Calls asking for untraceable payment options that make it hard to get a refund such as gift cards, wire transfers, money gram, and prepaid or preloaded cards.
- Calls from companies new to you offering to sell you something after you have added your number to the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Pressure calls asking for an immediate decision to commit to a business transaction on the phone without providing paperwork that can be studied and time to come to a decision
For more information on what to do if you have been a victim of a phone scam, contact the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, the New York Attorney General’s Office, as well as the FTC at the following addresses:
Office of the Albany County Sheriff
16 Eagle Street, Albany NY 12207
Phone: (518) 487-5400
Fax: (518) 487-5037
The New York Attorney General
Albany, NY 12224-0341
Phone: (518) 776-2307
Federal Trade Commission
Phone(Toll-free): 877-FTC-HELP (382-4357)