What are New York County Area Codes?
Introduced as part of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), area codes streamline the process of making long-distance phone calls. An area code is the sequence of three numbers at the start of a North American telephone number. It specifies a numbering plan area (NPA) that identifies the origin or destination of a phone call. In New York County, the New York State Department of Public Service administers county area codes.
Currently, four area codes cover New York County. These are:
Area code 212
Area code 212 is the telephone area code that exclusively serves New York County and the Borough of Manhattan. It was one of the first area codes established by the NANP and originally covered all of New York City.
Area code 646
Area code 646 is the NANP telephone overlay code assigned to the 212 NPA. It was introduced in 1999.
Area code 332
Area code 332 is the second overlay code in the NANP that covers the 212 NPA. It became active in 2017.
Area code 917
Area code 917 is the NANP telephone overlay code assigned to New York City. It was introduced in 1992, and it covers all five boroughs in NYC including New York County.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in New York County?
A 2018 National Center of Health Statistics Survey estimated that 38.8% of adults in New York households used only wireless telephony services. Adults who used only landlines accounted for 6% of the adult population in the state. For children (under 18 years), users of wireless-only services came to 45.9%, while landline-only users totaled 2.9% of that demographic. These statistics indicate cell phones have overtaken landlines as the dominant means of telecommunication in the state.
New York County is home to all four major phone networks. These carriers offer excellent coverage throughout the county. Also, numerous Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) run on the major carriers’ network and provide excellent alternatives for residents. In NY County, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile all claim 100% service coverage while Verizon claims 94% service coverage. However, service availability can be patchy in the spaces between tall buildings and densely populated areas.
Several companies offer VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services in New York County at very competitive rates. VoIP is a technology that uses the internet to facilitate telephony services for business and residential use. Compared to landlines and wireless telephone services, VoIP services are more flexible and more affordable for long and long-distance calls.
What are New York County Phone Scams?
New York County phone scams are phone calls that target the county’s residents and aim to obtain money, financial, or identity information fraudulently. The Manhattan District Attorney, New York Police Department (NYPD), and other consumer protection agencies provide information and alerts about scams prevalent in the county. Reverse phone number lookup services are also adept at identifying perpetrators of phone scams. County residents who have been scam targets/victims can file reports with the Manhattan DA’s Office or at their local NYPD precinct. Common phone scams in New York County include:
What are Social Security Scams?
In these scams, the scammers contact county residents and advise them that their social security numbers are compromised. The scammers say the social security numbers have been used to open several accounts or are involved in drug trafficking or money laundering operations. To resolve the situation and avoid arrest, the scammers tell the targets they have to make certain payments. The scammers request the money in prepaid gift cards, Bitcoin, and bank wire transfers. They may also ask for the targets’ financial information. Some scammers use phone number spoofing to manipulate the targets’ Caller IDs to display the name or numbers of the Social Security Administration (SSA). Scammers also try to keep their marks on the phone to ensure they comply without having a chance to consult third parties.
The SSA does not initiate calls with citizens to request money or confidential information. If any county resident receives this type of phone call, hang up immediately and report it to the Office of the Inspector General. Reverse phone searches can identify if such calls are actually from the SSA.
What are Law Enforcement Impersonation Scams?
In these scams, scammers pose as law enforcement or police officers and contact residents of the county. They inform their targets of a variety of offenses, such as missed jury duties or unpaid tickets. Then they claim that bench warrants were issued for the targets’ arrest but that these can be cleared if they pay up. They request the payments in specific forms, such as wire transfers and prepaid cards, or ask for credit card information. New York County residents are advised that the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies do not call to inform them about warrants; they visit in person.
Phone number searches will provide information about suspicious phone numbers and look up the registrants’ details. However, scammers can spoof Caller IDs to show up on their targets’ phones as law enforcement agencies. Being able to recognize signs of phone scams is handy in these types of situations. Hang up on callers asking for personal information or making aggressive attempts to coerce payments. Call the NYPD or the law enforcement agency that was referenced to seek verification of the callers’ authenticity.
What are COVID-19 Scams?
New York County residents are warned about scammers contacting them and claiming to be county officials calling about coronavirus contact tracing, testing, and treatments. While legitimate health workers are reaching out to residents, fraudsters have taken advantage of this to run their scams. These scammers call and try to obtain personal information such as names, dates of birth, social security numbers, credit card details, and other financial information. They purport to offer COVID-19 tests, treatments, and medications and require these information to check eligibility. Alternatively, they claim to help obtain stimulus funds and need the information to speed up the process.
If anyone, claiming to be a county worker calling about COVID-19, asks for any of these details, hang up immediately. County workers do not require your confidential details for COVID-19 tracing and already have the required information about you. County officials also do not process stimulus funds and cannot help speed up the process. If you have been a target of such scams, report the information to the Manhattan DA’s Office by email or call (212) 335-8900 or your local NYPD precinct. Phone number search applications are capable of verifying if such callers are legitimate county health officials.
What are Permit Renewal Scams?
Permit scams target residents of the county who possess licenses or permits from the state or county. The scammers pose as employees of government agencies and offer the targets massive discounts on permit renewals, provided the targets pay immediately. The scammers then attempt to collect financial information over the phone or request that the targets send copies of insurance or banking documents. If the targets do this, the scammers use this information to steal their money and identities.
Employees of government agencies will not ask for personal or financial information, and all financial transactions are conducted on the agencies’ official websites. If you receive such calls, phone number lookups can verify if they are from real government agencies. However, phone scammers can spoof Caller ID to display government agencies’ numbers. Consequently, it is advisable to call the agencies in question for clarification.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Typically the mainstay of marketers, politicians, and non-profit organizations, robocalls are automated call services that deliver recorded messages on behalf of these entities. Robocalls allow them to reach multiple residents in short periods with minimal efforts. These same abilities have endeared robocalls to phone scammers. Also, because no actual persons are on the lines and the numbers are easily changeable, robocalls help phone scammers remain anonymous.
Scammers use robocalls to impersonate legitimate organizations in attempts to steal financial and identity information from residents. Due to the prevalence of robocalls from legitimate entities, residents are less alert when answering them, making them easy scam targets. A reverse phone number lookup free service can identify an incoming robocall.
Some options to deal with illegal robocalls are:
- End the call once you realize it is a robocall. Do not follow the messages asking you to do something else. These lead to more recorded messages and set you up for a deluge of future robocalls.
- Register on the National Do Not Call database. Phone numbers listed on the registry for 31 days or more are exempted from receiving robocalls. Any robocalls received after this period are most likely scam calls.
- Inquire about the procedures for blocking numbers from phone service providers, and if the services are free, use them.
- Reverse phone search free services are capable of identifying robocalls. Once you have these numbers, block them.
- Submit complaints with the FTC online or by calling 1-(888)-382-1222.
The FTC also provides consumer tips on blocking unwanted calls on any platform on its website.
How to Spot and Report New York County Phone Scams?
Scammers are continuously coming up with surreptitious means to steal identity information and money from residents. Applications that perform reverse phone searches assist with suspicious phone number lookups to reveal who called or who a number is registered to. However, education and awareness remain the most efficacious tools against scammers. If you receive a call from an unknown person and suspect it is a scam call, look out for the following red flags:
- The caller will persistently ask for confidential information. The caller might even get belligerent if you fail to comply. Representatives of legitimate organizations do not request personal information on unsolicited calls and will not coerce you to reveal it.
- The caller will avoid answering questions you ask and always dissuade you from seeking independent verifications of their claims.
- The caller will claim to represent a reputable business or government agency but will request payments through irregular channels. These channels include prepaid debit cards, cryptocurrencies, gift cards, and wire transfers.
- The caller will use intimidation and threats to get you to comply with their requests. These threats can include fines, audits, lawsuits, license or permit revocations, and even arrests.
- The caller will offer very attractive business or investment opportunities with little or no risk. The offers will be overly generous to appeal to the recipients and distract them from serious considerations. They will also insist on time limits to force the recipients to take action without proper verification.
It is impossible to absolutely remove yourself as a target of phone scams. Being alert to the possibility and keeping up with scam trends are still the most effective means of dealing with fraudsters. Also, tools that perform reverse phone number lookups by name, number, and address help identify and defeat the efforts of phone scammers.
Public institutions that assist New York County residents in dealing with scammers include:
Manhattan District Attorney’s Office - The Manhattan District Attorney is the Attorney for New York County. The D.A’s Office is committed to helping New York County residents deal with phone scams through consumer education. The Office also provides avenues for residents to file reports on scams and frauds perpetrated against them. Residents of the county can file reports by email or by calling (212) 335-8900.
New York Police Department (NYPD) - The NYPD is the primary law enforcement agency for New York County and the Borough of Manhattan. Residents can file reports of scams and frauds at their local NYPD precinct.
New York State Attorney General’s Office - The New York State AG’s Office’s Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection prosecutes individuals engaged in fraudulent practices and mediates individual consumers’ complaints. Residents can file complaints with the NYAG’s Office online or by calling 1 (800) 771-7755.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - The FTC protects consumers from deceptive and fraudulent practices. The National Do Not Call Registry is part of the efforts to combat unwanted calls. Registering on the DNCR exempts your phone number from receiving robocalls. Unsolicited calls received after 31 days of registering with the DNCR are most likely scam calls.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - The FCC regulates interstate and international communications in the U.S. and protects consumers from illegal robocalls and phone spoofing scams. Directives on avoiding unwanted robocalls and phone scams are also available on the FCC website. Victims of any of these offenses can file complaints with the FCC.