What are La Crosse County Area Codes?
The single area code serving the entirety of La Crosse County is area code 608. An area code is a three-digit designation for a numbering plan area (NPA). When AT&T created the North American Numbering Plan in 1947, it divided the United States into 86 NPAs with corresponding area codes. As they are assigned according to population, NPAs match geographic areas of different sizes. Some covered entire states while others were assigned to single counties or cities. The NANP simplified call routing and phone number assignment across North American phone networks. It made call switching more efficient and made it easier to connect long-distance calls. Each phone number assigned in the US has an area code corresponding to where it was registered. In a 10-digit American phone number, the first three digits represent the area code.
Area Code 608
Covering most of the southwestern part of Wisconsin, area code 608 came into service in 1955 after a split of area code 414. It serves all of La Crosse County as well as 18 other counties. Communities in La Crosse County covered by area code 608 include La Crosse, Onalaska, Holmen, and Bangor.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in La Crosse County?
More than half of the residents of Wisconsin have replaced their landline phones with wireless phones. This switch is likely to be evident in La Crosse County too. A 2018 wireless substitution survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics confirmed the shift away from landline phone services in the state. The results of the survey showed that 54% of the adult residents of the state were wireless-only phone users while 4.1% of them still relied exclusively on landline phone services. The gap between wireless-only and landline-only phone subscriber numbers was wider among minors in the state. About 60.4% of residents under the age of 18 indicated they only used wireless phone services while only 2% of them confirmed they solely used landline phones for telecommunication.
All three national carriers offer cell phone services in La Crosse County as well as the rest of the state. Among the national carriers, AT&T offers the widest coverage in Wisconsin with its network available in 91.5% of the state. Verizon and T-Mobile cover 88.6% and 77.1% of the state respectively. La Crosse County residents can also sign up for cell phone plans offered by regional carriers. These are mostly MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) that rely on the network infrastructure of bigger carriers. MVNOs can offer cheaper plans than national carriers because they pass on some of the savings from buying network services in bulk from these bigger operators.
VoIP phone plans are also available to residents of La Crosse County. VoIP phone services are provided by VoIP service providers. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a networking technology that enables the transmission of voice signals over the internet as data packets. Residents signing up for VoIP phone services need broadband internet access. VoIP phone plans are typically cheaper than landline and cell phone plans for businesses and residents with pre-existing fast internet access. VoIP phone service providers also charge less for long-distance calls and teleconferencing sessions than cell and landline phone service providers.
What are La Crosse County Phone Scams?
These are telephone frauds perpetrated against residents and businesses in La Crosse County. They may be targeted by scammers living in the county or contacting them over long distances by calls and text messages. Phone scammers also use spam calls and robocalls when looking for potential targets for their fraudulent schemes. To earn the trust of their victims, these bad actors impersonate friends, family members, and authority figures with caller ID spoofing and phishing
Residents of La Crosse can protect themselves from phone scams by learning to use call blocking and reverse phone number lookup. In addition, they should also keep themselves informed about scam trends in their communities and learn how phone scams work. They can learn about telephone frauds from the helpful scam prevention resources published by Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). According to the agency, some of the most common phone scams in the state include grandparent scams, check scams, IRS scams, and lottery scams.
What are La Crosse County Grandparent Scams?
These are impostor scams in which fraudsters pretend to be loved ones of their victims. Also known as family emergency scams, these frauds mostly involve scammers impersonating family members. In many cases, scammers pretend to be the grandkids of their targets and may even gather information about them online to sound legitimate when talking on the phone. These scammers ask for urgent financial help claiming to need the money to deal with emergencies. Such emergencies range from paying for bail to get out of jail to paying for hospital bills following accidents. The scammers often ask their victims to keep their calls a secret from other family members.
Grandparent scams succeed when victims keep them a secret. If suspicious of a caller claiming to be a loved one, call the loved one directly with the number saved on your phone. Alternatively, call other family members to confirm what you just heard from the caller. A free phone number lookup can also help confirm that the caller is an impostor. La Crosse County residents should never send money or provide confidential information to unconfirmed callers asking for urgent help.
What are La Crosse County Check Scams?
There are different variations of these scams but they all involve scammers overpaying their victims with checks and then asking them to wire back the excess amounts. The scammer may pose as a remote employer or buyer. They may also pretend to be foreigners attempting to move funds into the US or lying to their victims about winning foreign lotteries and sweepstakes. After sending a check with amounts in excess of what the target of the scam is expecting, the fraudster asks them to deposit it at their bank and send the difference. However, it may take some days for checks to clear. Foreign checks may take weeks to clear. The victim only learns they have been scammed when their bank calls to inform them that they presented a fake check.
Residents of La Crosse County should be wary of strangers sending them checks in excess amounts of what they are due. Anyone receiving such a check should try to confirm the true identity of the sender. Use a suspicious phone number lookup to investigate the sender by the number they use to contact you. Do not send back the excess amount on the check until it clears and the money is deposited in your account.
What are La Crosse County IRS Scams?
IRS scams are impersonation scams. Impostors pretend to work for the Internal Revenue Service when calling unsuspecting residents. These fraudsters claim their targets owe taxes and demand they pay immediately. IRS impostors often sound rude on the phone and threaten their victims with dire consequences if they do not send the amounts they claim they owe in taxes. In a different type of IRS scams, the fraudster calls their target to inform them they qualify for tax refunds. When adopting this tactic, IRS impostors sound friendly on the phone. They ask for their victims’ personal identifying information, claiming they need these to verify their identities and process the refunds.
La Crosse County residents should never send money or release their confidential information to strange callers claiming to be IRS employees. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by phone and does not ask for owed taxes, threaten them, or offer tax refunds over the phone. If contacted by a stranger claiming to work for the IRS, run their number through a phone number lookup to see who called. This search will likely reveal that the caller is not affiliated with the IRS. However, IRS impostors often employ caller ID spoofing to hide their numbers and make their calls appear to be coming from the IRS. Avoid such impostors by calling the IRS directly to confirm your tax status and other claims made by the caller.
What are La Crosse County Lottery Scams?
Fraudsters running lottery scams get their victims excited about winning large amounts and then ask them for advance fees. These scammers often claim their victims won foreign lotteries because the details of these are harder to verify than lotteries held in Wisconsin and other parts of the country. Besides lotteries, they may also claim their targets won sweepstakes and free prizes. The fraudsters ask for some payments before supposed winners can claim their prizes. They claim these payments will cover taxes on winnings or processing and shipping fees for physical prizes.
La Crosse County residents should know that it is illegal for lottery and sweepstakes organizers to ask winners to pay before receiving their prizes. Similarly, a free gift is no longer free if you have to pay any amount to claim it. If a stranger contacts you and claims you won a lottery or sweepstakes you have never heard of nor entered, be very suspicious and ask probing questions. Confirm their identity and location with a phone number search. This is likely to indicate that the caller was lying about these details or that their number is associated with previous scam reports.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated phone calls delivering pre-recorded messages to lots of phone users. They are cost-effective mass communication tools. Robocall campaigns require very little effort to keep going once set up. While political groups, telemarketers, charities, and public organizations delivering public service announcements routinely use robocalls to contact large groups of people, most robocalls now come from scammers. Robocalls make it possible and convenient for fraudsters to find new targets in far off places. These benefits increase their reach and the scale of their operations.
Spam calls, like robocalls, are unsolicited bulk calls and usually unwanted contacts. They are likely to be placed by human agents working for telemarketers and delivering messages according to prepared marketing scripts. With the huge, and growing, number of robocalls and spam calls receiving by American phone users every year, policy markers, lawmakers, and carriers are making efforts to curb the scourge of these unwanted calls. However, the most effective solutions are the ones taken by targets of these unsolicited contacts. Residents of La Crosse County can stop, or reduce the frequencies of, robocalls and spam calls by taking these steps:
- Do not trust your phone’s caller ID function to correctly identify unknown callers. Fraudsters sometimes spoof caller ID information to trick phone caller IDs to display the names and numbers they choose
- Consider letting calls from unknown numbers go to voicemail. You can then listen to the messages left at your convenience and decide which contacts are genuine or not
- Hang up as soon as you realize a call is a robocall or spam call
- Do not follow instructions given during robocalls and spam calls on how you can stop receiving further calls. Scammers and spammers use such prompts to confirm active numbers and target them
- Set up your phone to filter calls from unknown or blacklisted numbers. There are three ways to do this. First, find and activate the call blocking function on your smartphone. Secondly, ask your carrier for their call blocking services. Thirdly, install a third-party call blocking app, with excellent reviews, from your phone’s official app store
- Investigate repeat unknown callers with reverse phone lookup to determine whether they are genuine contacts or scammers, spammers, or stalkers. Save the results of such searches and use the information obtained when reporting these unwanted contacts to law enforcement
- Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry online or by calling 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) with the number you wish to register. This will stop robocalls from reputable telemarketers. Report illegal robocalls and spam calls received after 31 days of joining this registry to the FCC
How to Spot and Report La Crosse County Phone Scams
Although there are many types of telephone frauds out there, they all aim to defraud their targets or obtain confidential information by deception. Therefore, all of these scams share certain common threads. Wary residents of La Crosse County can easily spot phone scams by looking out for these red flags:
- Impostors posing as authority figures like to use threats to force their targets to comply with their demands. Scammers may threaten victims with immediate arrests, prosecution, tax audits, deportation, loss of their homes, ruining their credit scores, and revocation of driver’s, business, or professional licenses. Legitimate authority figures, even law enforcement agents, do not threaten residents over the phone
- Scammers request for money sent directly to them even when asking for official payments. Be wary of strangers asking for cash payments or money sent by wire transfer, mobile app transfer, prepaid debit cards, gift cards, or cryptocurrencies
- Fraudsters pushing business and investment scams push their targets to act immediately to avoid missing out on their supposed great deals. They claim their high-reward, no-risk offers will expire very soon or tempt their targets with even steeper discounts on goods, services, and vacation deals if they sign up immediately
- Scammers dissuade their targets from telling others about their bogus offers. Depending on the scammer, a fraudster may request that you do not tell your lawyer, accountant, financial advisor, friends, or family members about what they are offering
- Fraudsters refuse to provide written documents supporting their claims and establishing their identities. They refuse to provide supporting documentation in order to avoid paper trails. Instead, they offer paid testimonials, from celebrities and strangers, that their victims cannot readily confirm
If any of these signs tips you off, investigate the strange caller further by running a reverse phone lookup on their number. If the search confirms your suspicions or returns inconclusive results, report the caller to the proper authorities. Scam reports are useful in many ways. They help law enforcement and consumer protection agencies identify and prosecute fraudsters. They also increase public awareness about telephone frauds. Residents of La Crosse County can report phone scams to the following agencies:
- The Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) - this division is Wisconsin’s consumer protection agency. It protects residents from consumer scams by educating them with scam-prevention tips and providing consumer alerts. Residents can report phone scams to this Bureau of the DATCP by emailing DATCPHotline@wisconsin.gov, calling (800) 422-7128, or mailing their complaints to:
Bureau of Consumer Protection
2811 Agriculture Drive
PO Box 8911
Madison, WI 53708-8911
- The Treasury Inspector General Administration (TIGTA) - the TIGTA handles all scam reports involving IRS impersonation. In addition to complaining to local law enforcement, residents of La Crosse County should submit IRS impostor scam complaints to the TIGTA online
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - the FTC is the federal consumer protection agency chiefly concerned with protecting American consumers from unfair and deceitful business practices. This agency accepts reports of possible frauds involving consumer transactions and investigates them. Residents can report consumer scams to the FTC online or by calling (877) 382-4357
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - the FCC maintains and enforces the National Do Not Call Registry as part of its responsibilities for regulating all communication in the country. The federal agency also tracks the use and misuse of phone tools and services. Residents of La Crosse County can report illegal robocalls, spam calls, caller ID spoofing, and phishing to the FCC. They can also report telephone frauds to the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center