What are Ulster County Area Codes?
Area codes were established as part of the North American Numbering Plan in the 1940s. Before that period, telephony communications relied on human operators to connect long-distance calls. With the creation of area codes, regions were separated into geographical areas and assigned area codes. Area codes are three-digit prefixes that identify one of the telephone areas into which the United States is divided and that precedes the local telephone number when dialing a call between areas. You can find the area code of any geographical area in the United States by using an area code lookup tool online.
Currently, three area codes serve Ulster County - Area code 518, 914, and 845.
Area Code 518
Area code 518 serves the northeast part of New York and is one of the original area codes created in 1947. Following the exhaustion of area code 518’s capacity, area code 838 was created to serve as an overlay in 2017. Cities served by this area code include Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga Springs, Scotia, Westmere, Hudson Falls, and Amsterdam.
Area Code 914
Area code 914 is also one of the original 86 area codes created by AT&T and the Bell System in 1947. It originally served southern New York including Long Island but not New York City. It was split in 2000 to create area code 845. Area code 914 serves Yonkers, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, White Plains, Port Chester, Harrison, and Ossining.
Area Code 845
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Ulster County?
The majority of phone users in New York are primary users of wireless-only telephone service. As revealed in a study carried out by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2018, 38.8% of New York residents aged 18 and above used wireless-only telephony service, while 21.8% mostly used wireless telephony service. 6% used landline-only telephony service, while 7.7% mostly used landline telephony. The survey also revealed that among residents under the age of 18, 45.9% were exclusive users of wireless telephony service, while 24.9% mostly used wireless telephony. Only 2.9% used landline telephone service exclusively, while 2.8% mostly used landline telephony service.
A large number of wireless-telephony users has seen wireless service providers flood the market with cell phone plans at varying price points and features. However, there are a few things more annoying than being on a call that keeps breaking up or dropping. Hence, before making a final decision on a cell phone plan, ensure that the wireless provider has strong coverage in your local area.
All four major Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) offer decent coverage in Ulster County. In the county seat of Kingston, AT&T has the best overall coverage at 98%. Verizon has a coverage score of 78%, Sprint has a 76% score, while T-Mobile's coverage is rated 55%.
You can also purchase a cell phone plan from any of the Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in Ulster County. MVNOs are smaller carriers, less known in comparison to the MNOs, offering typically cheaper and niche-based plans. They operate using the networks of the larger carriers and usually have decent coverage.
Ulster County residents also use VoIP to make and receive phone calls as another wireless telephony option. VoIP is short for Voice over Internet Protocol, a technology that allows telephony communications through IP networks by transforming voice signals into discrete data packets. VoIP service enables users to choose their desired phone addresses and area codes. While some residents may not find this feature especially important, business owners may find it appealing, especially those who operate from home.
What are Ulster County Phone Scams?
Ulster County phone scams are deceptive practices and fraudulent actions of con artists perpetrated using telephones. These acts and practices are designed to obtain personal and financial information or defraud Ulster County residents.
The rise of telephone scams is a significant and growing problem. According to the 2018 reports from the Federal Trades Commission, phone scams have grown in recent years. The national Do-Not-Call Registry received more than 5.78 million unwanted call complaints, with nearly 70% of these reported frauds attempted over the phone. Phone scams include all illicit actions conducted through live phone calls, robocalls, and text messages. Common phone scams in Ulster County include law enforcement impersonation scams, IRS scams, emergency scams, and utility scams.
Ulster County residents may use free reverse phone lookup tools to ascertain the true origins of suspicious phone numbers.
What are Ulster County Law Enforcement Impersonation Scams?
Ulster County residents have reported receiving calls from individuals claiming to be members of local police departments in Ulster County and the Ulster County Sheriff's Department. These callers refer to residents by name, inform them that the calls will be recorded, and tell them that they missed court appearances or jury duties. The callers state that residents need to send money or warrants will be issued for their arrests or worse still, will be imprisoned.
Sometimes the law enforcement impersonation scam involves spoofing legitimate law enforcement agency numbers and using real names of law enforcement officers in attempts to gain the trust of the targets. Note that no government agency takes gift cards or wire transfers to unverified accounts as payments. Ulster County residents may use free reverse phone lookup tools to verify the identity of callers.
What are Ulster County IRS Scams?
The IRS scam is usually targeted at taxpayers and immigrants. Callers claim to be from the Internal Revenue Service and tell their targets they owe taxes to the IRS. The scammers may be able to say the first four digits of targets' Social Security numbers to appear real. They may also reel off fake IRS badge numbers. These criminals insist targets must pay using prepaid debit cards or wire transfers. They often threaten targets who refuse to pay with arrests, deportation, or loss of business or driver's licenses.
However, the truth is that the IRS first contacts taxpayers by mail and not by telephone, about unpaid taxes and does not ask for payment using wire transfers, credit cards, or debit cards. Phone lookup applications can help unmask the real identities of phone scammers.
What are Ulster County Emergency Scams?
The Ulster County emergency scam is commonly targeted at senior citizens in Ulster County. Here, a scammer purporting to be the target's grandchild claims to be in jail, involved in an accident, or stranded in a faraway country in need of urgent financial help. Sometimes, the emergency scammers mention personal information about the targets and other family members to gain the trust of their targets. The information may have been gleaned from public sites online or other sources.
Emergency scammers ask for money to be transferred to pay bond fees or offset hospital bills. Payment is usually requested through wire transfers, gift cards, or prepaid cards. They plead with the victims not to inform other family members for fear of embarrassment. You can use free reverse phone number lookup tools online to help uncover who called and find who a number is registered to.
What are Ulster County Utility Scams?
Utility scammers often vary their tricks in order to obtain sensitive personal information or money from Ulster County residents. They pretend to be representatives of utility companies such as water, gas, and energy companies and claim that residents are overdue on their bills or have overpaid on previous bills. Utility scammers commonly use pressure tactics by threatening to shut down or disconnect utilities if payments are not made within a short time frame.
Utility scammers who claim targets have overpaid on their bills offer refunds but request that targets provide their bank account information for direct deposits. Once they obtain this information, they use it to steal money from victims' accounts. Scammers asking for immediate payments require residents to pay using wire transfers, prepaid cards, and gift cards. You can use a reverse cell phone lookup tool to verify if a caller’s identity matches the name given.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are pre recorded messages delivered through automated phone calls. Although robocalls are perceived as inconvenient and annoying, some are useful tools for disseminating useful information. Robocalls are helpful in issuing public service announcements and can be used by schools to contact parents, teachers, and students. Election periods are times when robocalls are also useful for political campaigners. Politicians send recorded messages to large audiences using robocalls. These kinds of robocalls do not require obtaining recipients’ permission before contacting them.
However, according to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991, telemarketers and many other users of robocalls are required to obtain the express permission of call recipients before contacting them with automated calls.
Spam calls are all kinds of unwanted incoming calls that sometimes market products or services. While these telemarketers may not have obtained your permission, their goal is to sell some goods that may be unsolicited, but still genuine. Scammers also inundate residents with spam calls pitching products or services that do not exist or are substandard to defraud them.
A reverse phone number lookup application can identify whether an incoming call is a robocall or not. Other steps you can take to avoid robocall scams and limit robocall intrusions include:
- Add your number to the National Do-Not-Call-List: Although the Do Not Call List maintained by the Federal Trade Commission does not stop all robocalls, it is a valuable tool for removing your number from the call lists of companies that do not want to violate the law. You can add your number to the registry by calling (888) 382-1222 from the number you want to register or by visiting the Registry online.
- Revoke your consent: If you keep receiving robocalls from a business or organization you do business with, such an agency likely has your consent to robocall you. Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, you are permitted to revoke your consent. You can contact customer service to inform them to stop contacting you through robocalls.
- Do not engage with the caller: Many robocalls include prompts to press some keys to give a voice command. Do not hit any button, even if the recording says it is to remove your number from the list.
- Block or refuse to answer calls from unknown numbers: Do not answer calls from persons with numbers unknown to you. If the message to be delivered is urgent or important, the caller will leave a message in the voicemail. Many smartphones also have features to block calls from unknown numbers and unsolicited callers within their operating system. You can use this feature to block an unwanted call.
- Install call-blocking apps: You can download various call-blocking apps such as Nomorobo, YouMail, Truecaller, and Hiya from most mobile application stores. Many of such applications provide free or low-cost service to mobile smartphone users that filter out identified scam robocalls and allow users to block specific numbers and report the calls.
- File a complaint with the FCC: The Federal Communications Commission is tasked with upholding and strengthening the TCPA's rules and regulations. While filing a complaint may not prompt immediate response, complaint data may prompt the FCC to take action. You can file a complaint on the FCC website.
How to Spot and Report Ulster County Phone Scams?
Not all scams are easy to spot. Scammers get more sinister every day, and they use real-sounding personal data, polite conversation, and reel off some of your own personal data to appear real and lure targets in. Con artists work remotely, coaxing money out of people they have never met in person. However, you should still educate yourself of the common cons used by fraudsters in defrauding people.
The following are red flags in identifying phone scams:
- The caller creates a sense of urgency: Scammers try to make you feel under pressure to motivate you to do something quickly without properly considering it or checking that it is genuine. Do not rush. Take time to weigh your options and check whether the information or "evidence" provided is real.
- The caller wants to receive payment on behalf of a reputable organization through suspicious means: Scammers prefer to receive payment by wire transfers, gift cards, and prepaid cards. These are not typical methods used by trusted agencies to receive payments.
- The caller intimidates you with threats of jail or arrests: Do not bow to threats of deportation, revocation of license, fines, or arrests from unsolicited callers. These are tricks used by con artists to get you to do their bidding.
- The caller offers you something that sounds too good to be true: Do not allow anyone to play on your greed. Scammers often offer deals like online shopping deals, prizes for winning competitions you did not enter, unclaimed inheritances, or invitations to invest in "amazing" schemes.
While services that conduct reverse phone number lookups by address, name, and phone number are helpful against phone scams, local, state, and federal institutions are also committed to fighting the scourge of phone scams and provide information and assistance to residents. These include:
- The Ulster County Sheriff’s Office and local police departments: If you have received a call from a scammer, you can contact your local police department or the Ulster County Sheriff's Office at (845) 338-3640. In the county seat of Kingston, you can contact the Kingston Police Department at (845) 331-1671.
- The Ulster County District Attorney's Office: You can file phone scam complaints to the Division of Consumer Affairs section of the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office by calling (845) 240-3260.
- The New York Attorney General's Office: To report a scam, you can file a complaint online to the Attorney General’s Office or call the office’s line at (800) 771-7755.
- Federal Communications Commission: If you receive unwanted robocalls and text messages, you can file a report online with the FCC.
- Federal Trade Commission - The FTC protects consumers from deceptive and fraudulent practices. You can file a phone scam report with the FTC by completing the online complaint form.
- The United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TITGA): If you have been contacted by an IRS scammer, contact the TITGA by calling the office at (800) 366-4484.