What are Westchester County Area Codes?
Westchester County is in New York State. Situated in the Hudson Valley, it has an estimated population of over 960,000. The county seat is the City of White Plains, while the City of Yonkers is its largest municipality.
The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) established area codes to ease the process of routing telephone calls, especially for long-distance communications. Area codes are the strings of three digits that start North American phone numbers. Each code identifies a different regional services area, known as a numbering plan area (NPA), in the territories under the NANP. The New York State Department of Public Service administers area codes for Westchester County.
Currently, only one area code serves Westchester County. This is:
Area Code 914
Area code 914 is the NANP telephone area code for Westchester County. It was one of the original area codes introduced in 1947, and the NPA initially covered several counties in the state. The 914 NPA was split to cover just Westchester County in 2000. However, all the cellphones in use, in the plan area before the split, retained the area code. Locations under this NPA include Bronxville, Cortlandt, Dobbs Ferry, Greenburgh, Harrison, Mount Vernon, Mount Pleasant, New Rochelle, Port Chester, Scarsdale, Tarrytown, White Plains, Yonkers, and Yorktown.
What are the Best Cell Phones in Westchester County?
About 38.8% of adults in New York households used wireless-only telephony services while 6% of that demographic still used only landlines. These figures are from a 2018 National Health Interview Survey conducted by the CDC. The survey indicated that landlines were becoming obsolete in the state as consumers shifted to other telephony services. Among children, those under 18, the disparity was more pronounced with 45.9% choosing cell phones and only 2.9% using landlines for their telecommunication needs.
All four major phone networks provide excellent service in Westchester County. Its proximity to NYC ensures numerous MVNOs are available as cost-effective alternatives to the major operators. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) are smaller operators that use major networks’ infrastructure to offer cheaper telephony services to consumers. In Westchester County, Verizon boasts the most comprehensive network coverage, followed closely by AT&T and T-Mobile. Sprint provides the least coverage of the county but still offers good services where available.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a group of technologies that deliver traditional telephony services over IP networks, usually the internet. VoIP offers cheaper and more flexible services than landlines and cellphones. Several companies provide VoIP services to Westchester County residents for business and home users.
What are Westchester County Phone Scams?
These are fraudulent activities carried out against Westchester County residents using telephone services. Phone scammers aim to obtain money and sensitive information from their targets under pretenses. Reverse phone number lookup services are useful in retrieving information on the phone numbers used for scams.
The Westchester County Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) issues alerts and scam information to update residents on prevalent scams. Victims of scams and unfair business practices can file complaints with the DCP online or by calling (914) 995-2155. County residents can also report scam incidents at their local police departments or the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.
Some common scams in Westchester County are:
What are Social Security Scams?
Residents receive calls from persons claiming to be representatives of the Social Security Administration (SSA) about issues with their Social Security Numbers (SSNs). Sometimes, the callers spoof Caller IDs to display the SSA national customer service number. These scams come in different variations, but the callers always request for personal information and, sometimes, money. They even get aggressive and threaten to terminate the target’s benefits if they fail to provide their information or send money.
Some callers claim the SSA needs the targets’ information for identity verifications to increase their benefits. Other callers might say the targets’ details with the SSA are incomplete and give numbers for the targets to call back to provide the missing information. Some callers even claim the targets’ SSNs have been suspended for fraudulent activities and ask the targets to call specific numbers to rectify the issues.
The SSA does not call residents and request personal information or money. The SSA will communicate any problems with your SSN via mail correspondences that reference your SSN. If you receive calls from individuals claiming to be from the SSA, hang up, and report them to the Officer of the Inspector General of the SSA.
What are Grandson Scams?
These scams typically target elderly residents of the county. The target is called by a man, pretending to be a grandson who has gotten into trouble in a foreign country. The caller’s claims can include having caused an accident or being unknowingly caught up in criminal activities. In some cases, the callers are supposedly the grandson’s lawyers or the police officers who detained him. The callers request money to resolve the situations to be wired immediately and urge that the issues remain secret from the rest of the family.
Authorities advise residents to refrain from making impulsive decisions in these situations. Always thoroughly verify the callers’ claims by contacting other family members or the grandson himself, if you can, before responding to their requests. It is not advisable to wire money to unknown accounts and entities based on unsolicited phone calls. Reverse phone lookup services can shed some light on the purveyors of these scams. Victims of these scams should report them at their local police departments or the DCP.
What are Law Enforcement Impersonation Scams?
Law enforcement authorities warn county residents about scammers impersonating law enforcement agents to steal money and personal information. These scammers impersonate officers from the NY State Police, Westchester County Police Department, and local police departments. They also typically spoof Caller IDs to display the names of these agencies. These scam callers can make a number of claims but always resort to threats to coerce their targets to provide personal information or make payments. Payments are always requested by unconventional channels such as wire transfers and prepaid debit cards.
Residents should note that law enforcement agencies neither ask for personal information nor engage in financial transactions over the phone. Do not share your personal information with unverified persons over unsolicited phone calls. While these scammers typically spoof Caller IDs, phone number lookups can identify if phone numbers displayed on Caller IDs are spoofed. If you receive phone calls of these sorts, hang up and contact the law enforcement agency directly. Victims of these types of scams should file reports with their local police departments or the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.
What are Tax Scams?
Authorities in Westchester County warn residents, especially seniors, of scammers pretending to be agents of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance. These scammers call residents and demand payments for bogus back taxes and use threats of punitive actions to obtain compliance. The scammers typically spoof Caller IDs to display the Tax Department’s fraud hotline numbers.
Residents should be wary of phone calls purportedly from tax agents. The Tax Department does not use the fraud hotline numbers to contact taxpayers. The Tax Department will also neither demand payment by gift cards or reloadable debit cards nor threaten taxpayers to pay tax debts. Taxpayers are provided the opportunity to contest tax bills before being required to make payments. Reverse phone searches can provide information on tax scammers. Victims of these scams should file reports with the Tax Department on (518) 451-1566 or by email.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are recorded messages delivered by auto-dialed phone calls and typically used by telemarketers and politicians to contact mass audiences. The ability to reach mass audiences with minimal efforts has attracted scammers, who have taken up robocalls as a tool of the trade. Also, because residents are used to receiving robocalls, they are less alert when responding to them, and scammers take advantage of this. Robocall numbers can also be easily changed, allowing scammers to remain anonymous.
Some actions you can take to reduce robocalls include:
- Add your phone to the National Do Not Call Registry. Legitimate businesses will not contact numbers on the registry. Any spam calls received after doing this can be treated as scam calls.
- Report illegal robocalls and spam calls to the FTC by calling 1 (888) 382-1222 or online.
- Phone network operators offer applications that can identify and block spam call numbers. Inquire about the usefulness of these tools. Phone manufacturers also include features in their devices to block spam calls. Use these tools and features to block robocall numbers.
- Reverse phone number lookup tools can also identify incoming robocalls and spam calls. Use these tools to screen these calls and block the numbers used.
- End a call once you confirm it is a robocall. Do not listen to any prompts as these will lead to more automated messages and set up your number for more robocalls.
Consumer guidelines on how to block unwanted calls are available from the FTC.
How to Spot and Report Westchester County Phone Scams?
Education and awareness provide the best means for residents to spot potential phone scams, as scammers continuously evolve their tools and tactics. Overall, phone scams share certain features and new ones are variations of old cons. Being able to perform reverse phone searches by name, number, and address can also help identify phone numbers used by scammers.
Indicators that unknown callers are potential scammers include:
- The callers claim to represent legitimate organizations or government agencies and make requests for personal information. Real government agencies and organizations do not ask for personal information on unsolicited calls.
- The callers notify you of debts you are unaware of and insist on irregular channels for payments. These could be wire transfers, reloadable debit cards, gift cards, and even cryptocurrencies. Scammers favor these payment channels because funds sent through them are hard to trace and harder to return.
- The callers present very attractive business and investment offers that are always time-sensitive and force targets to respond immediately. Scammers always rush their targets into committing, without allowing them time to conduct their due diligence.
- The callers get aggressive and use threats to try and obtain your compliance. Legitimate law enforcement agencies do not issue threats over the phone.
- The callers offer free items and services but insist on upfront payments before collection. If you receive a free offer or prize that requires payment to collect, it is a scam.
Online tools that look up suspicious phone numbers answer questions like “who is this number registered to?” and “who called?” These tools retrieve information that can prove valuable in identifying and reporting phone scams.
Public institutions that assist Westchester County residents in dealing with scammers include:
Westchester County Department of Consumer Protection - The DCP ensures a fair and equitable marketplace for county residents. Residents who believe they are victims of scams should file complaints with the DCP online or by calling (914) 995-2155.
Local Law Enforcement Agencies - The local police departments in the county assist residents in dealing with fraudsters. Residents can file reports of scams at their local police departments.
Westchester District Attorney - The Westchester District Attorney prosecutes scammers and protects vulnerable county residents. Residents can file complaints on scams with the District Attorney’s Office.
New York State Attorney General’s Office - The Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection protects consumers from fraudulent practices and mediates consumers’ complaints. Victims can file complaints with the NYAG’s Office online or by calling 1 (800) 771-7755.
Federal Trade Commissionv- The FTC is the federal authority that protects consumers from deception and fraud. The National Do Not Call Registry was established by the FTC to protect consumers from unwanted spam calls. Phone numbers on this register that continue to receive illegal robocalls are most likely targeted by phone scammers.