What are Queens County Area Codes?
Located in Southeastern New York, Queens County is coterminous with Queens Borough. Queens Borough is the largest of the five boroughs in New York City.
Area codes or dialing codes are the series of three numbers at the beginning of North American phone numbers. They are controlled by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and are assigned by the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA). At the state level, the New York Department of Public Service (DPS) administers Queens County area codes.
There are five area codes serving the various neighborhoods of Queens County. They include:
Area Code 718
Area Code 347
Officially put in service in 1999, North American area code 347 serves Queens and other boroughs in New York City. It is an overlay of area code 718.
Area Code 516
Area Code 917
Area code 917 serves the neighborhoods of Queens as well as other boroughs in New York City.
Area Code 929
Created in 2011, area code 929 serves as an overlay of area codes 347, 718, and part of 917.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Queens County?
Among Queens County residents, telephone service preferences have changed from traditional landlines to wireless telephony services. Recent statistics from a 2018 CDC Survey shows that approximately 39% of New Yorkers aged 18 years and above use wireless cell phones exclusively. Only about 6% used landlines only while approximately 23% of the adult population use both landlines and wireless phones.
Queens County enjoys excellent network coverage from the top four phone carriers. Verizon and T-Mobile offer 100% coverage along with AT&T. Sprint, the fourth carrier, has a network that covers 98% of the state.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a form of telephony service enjoying growing patronage among Queens County residents. Using a high-speed internet connection, VoIP is a more affordable communication alternative to landline and mobile phones, especially for long-distance calls. This option, available for both business and residential customers, is provided by several VoIP operators in Queens County.
What are Queens County phone scams?
Scams targeted at individuals through phone calls and other telephone services are rampant in Queens County. Phone scammers employ various tactics to steal money and personal information from unsuspecting residents. These unscrupulous individuals are known to use various technologies and tricks to conceal their identities in a bid to deceive their targets. They use phone spoofing tools and burner phones and claim to be representatives of known government agencies and private organizations.
Reverse phone services allow users to identify phone scammers and the suspicious numbers they use. The New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) also helps fight phone scams by offering tips and scam alerts on how to recognize and avoid them. Victims of phone scammers should direct their complaints to the DCP by using its online complaint form or by dialling (518) 474-8583. Some of the most common phone scams in Queens County are explained below.
What are IRS Scams?
Prosperity or IRS scams are variants of tax scams where scammers pose as employees of the Internal Revenue Services. These scammers trick their targets into sending them money to pay for back taxes they owe. Fraudsters using running IRS scams usually use threats of arrests, tax lawsuits, and deportation to snare their victims. Some of these scammers spoof their caller IDs, steal IRS badge numbers, provide the last four digits of their victims’ social security numbers, mail official looking bills to victims, and know some other key information in order to look legit.
County locals are advised to avoid answering unknown calls from those claiming to be IRS officials. Running suspicious phone numbers through reverse phone search engines can answer the question “who called me?”. The IRS issued an advisory on how to spot and avoid tax scams. Residents can contact the IRS on 1 (800) 829-1040 to confirm that they are tax-delinquent or not. Report tax-related fraud and identity thefts to the New York Department of Taxation and Finance. Also, file a complaint with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) or with the FTC Complaint Assistant.
What are Grandparent Scams?
Grandparent scams are primarily targeted at elderly Queens County residents and aimed to convince them that their grandchildren are in trouble and in desperate need of money. Grandparent scammers are professional sob-storytellers because the success of their claims lies in their ability to get emotional responses from their targets. Common signs of this kind of scam include the claimed grandkid asking to keep the conversation and help secret, demanding immediate funds, and requesting to be paid via irreversible payment methods like wire transfers, cryptocurrencies, green dot cards, gift cards, etc.
When contacted in this manner, do not submit to pressure. Verify the story provided by all means — contact relatives and run the caller’s phone number through the search engines provided by reverse phone lookup services. Queens County residents defrauded by grandparent scammers should report these scams to their local law enforcement. They should also contact MoneyGram or the financial channel that mediated funds transfer to determine if refunds are possible.
What are Advance Fee Loan Scams?
Advance fee loan scam or credit card scam is explored by fraudulent individuals to bait their targets into paying in advance to get loans or credit repairs. This scam usually begins with a call from a toll-free number promising easy access to loans, notwithstanding the target’s credit history. When asked to pay an upfront fee by a lender who has no interest in your credit history, you can be certain that you are dealing with a scammer.
Looking up the phone numbers used by such callers via free phone lookup services can help determine whether you are dealing with a scammer or not. New Yorkers are advised to reject unsought loan offers via phone, regardless of how legitimate they sound. Also, be reminded that no legitimate lending institution charges loan processing fees, solicits clients by phone, or forgives a person’s credit history when approving a loan. Victims of advance fee loan scam should report and notify the FTC online or by phoning 1 (877) 382-4357.
What are Sweepstake Scams?
Sweepstake or lottery scams fall under the category of prize scams where scammers lure intending targets into paying to claim lottery winnings, game prizes, and free vacations. The first contact is usually a call offering congratulations for winning a contest you don't remember entering. These scammers will then proceed to request tax fees, custom duty fees, or delivery fees to get the winning across to you.
According to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, winners are not required to pay a single cent to claim their prizes. Hang up on cold callers claiming to be from popular sweepstakes like Publishers Clearing House and Mega Millions Lottery. Also helpful is performing a reverse phone number lookup to find out the origin of the call and identity of the sweepstake callers. Victims of sweepstake scammers can officially file reports through the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant. If the scam originated outside the U.S, report to the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are telephone calls programmed to deliver pre-recorded messages to multiple phone numbers. Robocalls are legally allowed for conveying informational messages such as appointment schedules, emergency alerts, and health information. However, scammers have now appropriated them as a major tool in defrauding New Yorkers because they are convenient and cheap to deploy.
Queens County residents are advised to leave unsolicited calls from strangers unanswered. Reverse phone searches can help sieve malicious callers from those with genuine intent. The following recommendations are also helpful when dealing with a robocall:
- Hang up as soon as you recognize robocalls for what they are. Do not hit any button to get your number unlisted. Doing that will confirm your number for more robocalls.
- Do not wholly rely on caller ID to identify callers. Scammers are known to spoof their numbers and change them into legitimate-looking numbers. Consider using a public internet site that offers free reverse phone search to determine whether or not a call is from a known robocall operator or spam caller.
- Add your cell phone and landline phone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry provided by the FTC. Signing up to this registry will legally prevent telemarketers and sales callers from ringing your phone. Subsequent robocalls received are illegal and most likely from scammers.
- Explore available call-blocking features by contacting your phone network provider. Most call-blocking features from the big-four providers are free and convenient.
Residents of Queens County can also find detailed information and instructions on how to prevent unwanted calls on the FTC’s website. Report illegal robocalls to the FTC online or by dialing 1 (888) 382-1222.
How Can You Spot and Report Queens County Phone Scams?
The success of all scam tactics lies in the scammer’s ability to hide their identity, lend credibility to their claims, and vanish without a trace. Therefore, unmasking the true identities of scammers and knowing what to look out for weakens and sabotages their malicious efforts. You can use reverse phone lookup services to reduce the chances of being scammed. However, fraudsters keep finding new ways to trick their targets. As such, the surest defense against phone scams remains education, alertness, and caution. Tip-off signals that a phone call is a scam include:
- Scam artists always apply pressure on their targets to act quickly. Residents are reminded that no government agency or renowned institution will pressure them into sending immediate payment or divulging personal information over the phone.
- Scammers request payments via non-traditional channels such as wire transfers, bitcoins, gift cards, and prepaid cards. Payments made via these channels are irreversible and/or untraceable.
- Look out for callers requesting upfront payments or asking you to send “small fees” to get prizes across to you.
- Scammers often use threats of arrests, law suits, and deportation to get their victims into sending them money or releasing personal information. Know your rights. No agency, affiliated with the government or not, is lawfully allowed to threaten and badger citizens for this purpose.
- Scammers use various forms of emotional blackmail to swear their victims to secrecy. Any unverified caller asking you to promise not to inform someone else about your conversations with them is most likely a scammer.
- Scammers are generally unwilling to answer questions thrown at them about the offers they bring.
Various government agencies have taken the lead in curbing phone and online scams. These agencies implement policies and also protect consumers through education and vigilance. Some of these agencies include:
Federal Communications Commission - The FCC regulates communication in the US and provides consumers with information on how to curb unsolicited calls and avoid scams. Victims of robocall scams can file their complaints with the FCC online or report the details by calling 1 (888) 225-5322.
Federal Trade Commission - The primary role of the FTC is to protect consumers from deceptive trade practices in the labor market. The National Do Not Call Registry is a measure put in place by the FTC to insulate consumers from unsolicited and unauthorized sales calls. Report details of illegal robocalls to the FTC online or by dialing 1 (888) 382-1222.
New York State Division of Consumer Protection - The DCP provides timely alerts of emerging phone scams reported by resident New Yorkers. This public service tool is aimed at educating citizens about various tactics employed by scam artists. If you are a victim of a phone scam, you should file a complaint with the DCP.
Internal Revenue Service - Among its many duties, the IRS educates taxpayers by publishing consumer alerts on tax-related frauds. The federal agency also dedicates a Dirty Dozen Page which features yearly worst-of-the-worst tax scams. If you believe you have been swindled by a tax scammer, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by calling 1 (800) 366-4484.