What are Rock County Area Codes?
Situated in the southern part of Wisconsin, Rock County is named after the Rock River and occupies an area measuring 726 square miles. The 2010 census puts its population at 160,331. The county seat of Rock County is also its largest city, the City of Janesville.
There are two area codes serving Rock County. These are area codes 608 and 262. Area codes are three-digit numbers assigned to numbering plan areas (NPAs). An NPA represents a geographic division corresponding to a specific phone service area as allocated by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) introduced in 1947. NPAs and area codes unified dialing rules across North American telephone networks. They make routing long-distance calls more efficient and help geolocate the origin of phone calls. In a 10-digit phone number issued in the US, the area code is the first three digits.
Area Code 608
Created in 1955 in a split plan that shrank the coverage of area code 414, area code 608 currently covers counties in the southwestern part of Wisconsin. To avoid conflict with central office code 988, the dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, area code 608 is transitioning to mandatory 10-digit dialing on October 24, 2021. Communities in Rock County served by this area code include Janesville, Milton, Footville, and Orfodville.
Area Code 262
Area code 262 serves cities and towns located in southeastern Wisconsin. It was created on September 15, 1999 from a split from area code 414. Like area code 608, 262 has telephone numbers assigned to central office code 988. Mandatory 10-digit dialing is billed to come into effect on October 24, 2021. Area code 262 only covers a small part of Rock County. It serves parts of Afton, Beloit, and Clinton.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Rock County?
A 2018 survey conducted by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics indicated that most of the residents of Wisconsin had moved away from landline phones and fully adopted wireless phone services. The survey showed that 54% of adults in the state used wireless phones exclusively for telecommunication while a small 4.1% of them still solely used landline phones. Among residents of Wisconsin under the age of 18, the proportion of wireless-exclusive phone users was 60.4% percent while landline-exclusive subscribers made up only 2% of this demographic.
AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile offer cell phone services in Rock County and the rest of Wisconsin. However, the extent of network coverage among these major carriers vary. AT&T boasts the widest network with its signals reaching 91.5% of the state. Verizon’s coverage of Wisconsin stands at 88.6% while T-Mobile covers 77% of the state. Sprint’s network is only available in 42.8% of Wisconsin. Those living in Rock County can also sign up for phone services provided by MVNOs or Mobile Virtual Network Operators. These are small, regional carriers that rely on the network infrastructure of the major carriers. They also buy network services in bulk from these major players and resell them to phone users. Residents of Rock County may sign up for MVNO phone services because they are more affordable or because they offer add-on features they need.
VoIP operators also offer phone services to residents of Rock County. These service providers provide phone services over the internet. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a communication technology that enables voice and video calls over the internet. It sends these voice and video signals as data packets over the internet. For users with broadband internet access at home, VoIP phone services are low-cost add-ons with clear benefits. VoIP calls can be placed from computers and tablets in addition to phones. VoIP also makes long-distance calls cheaper than the rates offered by landline and cell phone service providers.
What are Rock County Phone Scams?
These are telephone frauds committed in Rock County or targeting residents of the county. Telephone frauds are scams perpetrated using phone services such as calls and text messages. Fraudsters may also use sophisticated phone technologies like caller ID spoofing, robocalls, spam calls, and voice phishing. To avoid these scams, law enforcement and consumer protection agencies recommend that residents use call blocking and reverse phone number lookup.
A big part of the fight against phone scams is knowing common telephone frauds reported in the state. The Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) names the following as the most popular phone scams in the state: IRS scams, Medicare scams, grandparent scams, tech support scams, and utility scams.
What are Rock County IRS Scams?
These are imposter scams in which fraudsters call unsuspecting residents of the county to ask them to pay back taxes or offer to send them tax refunds. In both cases, these con artists impersonate employees of the IRS. When a scammer is calling a target to pay for owed taxes or tax violations, they are often rude and issue threats. They threaten to immediately arrest the target or have them thrown in jail. They can also threaten deportation and revoking driver’s license or business license.
When a fraudster is running an IRS scam claiming their target qualifies for tax refund, they sound polite and helpful. Rather than asking for money, the scammer demands confidential information like social security number and checking account details claiming they need these to confirm the identity of the taxpayer. Wisconsin’s DATCP warns residents to be wary of strangers calling them and claiming to be IRS agents. The IRS does not contact taxpayers by phone and does not threaten anyone. The IRS establishes correspondence by mail. A free reverse phone lookup search of the number used by the caller can help determine that they are not an IRS agent but a scammer.
What are Rock County Medicare Scams?
In these scams, fraudsters call and claim to be government officials tasked with managing Medicare or Affordable Health Care Act. They demand their victims to pay bogus fees and/or provide personal identifying information to avoid losing their health benefits. Rock County residents should know that government agencies only contact residents by mail about their health care coverage status. They also will never demand payment or require them to pay bribes to keep their benefits. If contacted by a stranger claiming to represent Medicare or other government health initiative, make sure to submit their number for a phone number lookup to determine their true identity.
What are Rock County Grandparent Scams?
So called because they mostly target grandparents, these scams involve fraudsters posing as grandchildren of elderly residents and calling to ask for financial help to get out of made-up emergencies. The fraudster may claim to need the money to pay for hospital bills, legal fees, or plane tickets to get urgent treatment, out of jail, or out of a foreign country where they are stranded. Wisconsin’s DATCP asks residents to tell their elderly relatives to be wary of such scams targeting this demographic.
A targeted grandparent should call their grandkid directly or other family members to confirm the claims of the caller even the caller asks them not to. A suspicious phone number lookup can quickly determine that the caller is not the loved one they claim to be.
What are Rock County Tech Support Scams
Fraudsters may also pose as tech support representatives of major tech companies like Microsoft and Apple. They call unsuspecting residents and scare them with news that their computers are infected with viruses. These fraudsters offer to remove such malware if given remote access. When given access to their victims’ computers, tech support scammers steal confidential information like passwords, bank account logins, and credit card details from such machines. They may also install malware on these computers to keep accessing them without the knowledge of their victims.
Wisconsin’s Bureau of Consumer Protection warns residents not to give remote access to their computers to callers claiming to be tech support representatives. Tech companies do not contact their customers out of the blue to provide such support. A quick phone number lookup search will confirm that the caller’s number is none of the ones registered to the tech company they claim to represent.
What are Rock County Utility Scams?
Fraudsters posing as bill collectors for local utility companies threaten to cut power or gas supply to small businesses and residents’ homes if they do not pay outstanding bills immediately. Victims eager to avoid utility shut-off in their homes and businesses pay whatever these callers demand even though they may not be owing utility companies. Before sending money to a stranger threatening to cut off a utility service to your home or business, make sure to call the utility company directly to ask about outstanding payments. Call them using the phone number listed on your billing statement. You should also find out who called by using a reverse number lookup to investigate the unknown number used by the caller.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated phone calls that deliver pre-recorded messages. When they were first introduced, political groups and telemarketers routinely used robocalls to quickly reach large groups of people. Organizations that deliver public service announcements also use robocalls for the same purpose. They are low-cost mass communication tools with obvious benefits. Unfortunately, scammers and dishonest telemarketers have largely adopted robocalls for the same reasons. Fraudsters use auto-dialers to send pre-recorded messages to long lists of phone numbers without obtaining consents from phone users.
Spam calls are also unwanted bulk calls. However, they are mostly placed by human agents reading from prepared scripts. Both types of unsolicited calls are quite annoying especially as the number of spam calls and robocalls received daily by Americans have skyrocketed. Some phone users receive more of such unwanted calls than calls from their contacts. To stop or reduce the number of robocalls and scam calls received, residents of Rock County should consider the following actions:
- Hang up on a call as soon as you discover it is a robocall or spam call
- Do not follow prompts given during robocalls and spam calls on removing your number from their call lists. These instructions only confirm that your line is active and ready to receive such calls
- Let calls from unknown numbers go to voicemail where you can review the messages left to decide which ones to call back
- Set up your phone to block calls from all unknown numbers or certain blacklisted numbers. Call blocking is also offered by most carriers and provided by certain third-party call apps
- Use a reverse phone number lookup service to identify unknown callers. This can help you unmask a scammer, spammer, or stalker and give your report to law enforcement more weight
- Add your phone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry. Registering them on this database indicates to legitimate telemarketers that you no longer wish to receive their robocalls. Robocalls received after being on this registry for 31 days can be safely disregarded and assumed to be from scammers and spammers
How to Spot and Report Rock County Phone Scams
Scammers are constantly trying to reinvent their cons in order to stay ahead of their targets and law enforcement. Residents of Rock County should know that new scam tactics are simply twists on old fraud schemes. However, these twists can be inventive enough to fool a lot of people. Therefore, it is important to be on the lookout for signs of phone scams. Some common threads in telephone frauds to watch out for include:
- A caller threatening you is unlikely to be a legitimate government official, law enforcement agent, or representative of a reputable organization. Do not let threats of arrest, jail, deportation, or revocation of business or driver’s license make you send money or reveal sensitive information to scammers
- Unknown callers requesting for payment for owed taxes, utility bills, fines, lottery entries, and payments for goods and services by cash, prepaid debit card, wire transfer, gift card, cryptocurrency, or direct mobile app payment is most definitely a scammer
- Fraudsters use high-pressure sales tactics to get their victims to part with their money and confidential information. The fear of missing out is exploited by those running business and investment scams when they claim their low-risk, high-reward offers are only available for a limited time
- Scammers are usually unable to provide written documentation and references supporting their claims and identities. Before agreeing to a strange caller’s demands, insist that they provide these
Reverse phone number lookup is also a very useful tool for spotting phone scams. If you are ever suspicious of a caller, submit their phone number for a lookup search and see what the result shows. It may confirm that the caller is not who they claim they are or show that the number has been flagged for previous scams.
It is important to report phone scams to the right authorities whether they are successful or not. Federal and state agencies use such reports to spot patterns in scam trends and identify the biggest fraudsters to go after. Reports help these authorities find and locate phone scammers and also prosecute them. They also help educate others and raise public awareness about prevalent scam tactics in Rock County and Wisconsin. Residents of the county can report phone scams to the following authorities:
- The Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection - this state agency protects residents against unfair and deceitful business practices including phone scams resulting in loss of money and other valuables. Report a telephone scam to the Bureau by calling (800) 422-7128 or sending an email to [email protected]
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - is the federal consumer protection agency. Its primary role is safeguarding American consumers from fraudulent individuals and organizations running scams resulting in defrauding unsuspecting victims. Rock County can report business and investment frauds as well as travel, health care, tech support, and lottery scams to the FTC by submitting their fraud complaints online
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - is the federal agency that oversees and regulates communication in the nation. Its reach includes users and providers of phone services. Residents can report illegal robocalls, spam calls, and caller ID spoofing as well as phone scams using these tools to the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center
- The Rock County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies in the county can also take reports of phone scams. File a complaint with the Sheriff’s Office by calling (608) 757-2244