What are Washington County Area Codes?
Created in 1836, Washington County is the fifth smallest county in the State of Wisconsin. The county has a landmass of 436 square miles and a population of about 137,000 residents. Washington County was named after President George Washington. The county seat is West Bend. Washington County is located in the south-eastern part of the State of Wisconsin. Some major towns and cities in Washington County include; Hartford, Milwaukee, West Bend, Addison, and Barton.
The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) divides North America into numbering plan areas. Each numbering plan area is assigned a three-digit number referred to as an area code covering a specific geographical location in North America. The North American Numbering Plan Administration is responsible for managing the North American Numbering Plan and the allocation of area codes. The Wisconsin Public Service Commission regulates the activities of telecommunications service providers in the State of Wisconsin.
Area Code 262
Area code 262 is the only active area code in Washington County. It was implemented on the 25th of September, 1999, and was created from a split of area code 414. Area code 262 covers the majority of the south-eastern part of the state and includes towns and cities like Erin, Wayne, and Germantown.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Washington County?
AT&T is the only major wireless service provider with a significant presence in Washington County. AT&T covers 100% of Washington County. Other wireless service providers in Washington County are mostly Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), and they individually cover less than 50% of the county. These MVNOs generally operate by leasing the infrastructure of some of the major wireless service providers; hence, leveraging these infrastructures to provide wireless communication services to their subscribers. Washington County has a below-average 4G coverage.
The National Center for Health Statistics survey conducted in 2018 showed that both adults and minors in the State of Wisconsin preferred wireless phone services to traditional landlines. The survey detailed that 54% of adults in the state used wireless phone services exclusively, while only 4.1% of adults in the state used traditional landlines exclusively. The percentage differences were even more significant with minors in the state. Amongst the minors, 60.4% relied exclusively on wireless phone services, while 2.0% of minors relied exclusively on traditional landlines.
Over time, there has been a constant development in wireless telephony, which also led to the invention of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This development is driven by the greater preference for wireless telephony over traditional landlines. VoIP has gained popularity among businesses and residents of Washington County. The increased popularity is due to the flexibility, reliability, and affordability of VoIP. VoIP operates by converting sound waves into digital signals, thereby enabling residents to make phone calls over an internet connection. Several MVNOs in Washington County offer VoIP services in Washington County.
What are Washington County Phone Scams?
Washington County phone scams are scams committed against Washington County residents. These scams are often committed over telephone calls, emails, or text messages. Scammers generally assume deceptive identities to obtain personal and financial information from Washington County residents fraudulently. Washington County residents need to be informed and vigilant to easily identify these scams, so they do not fall victim to the scams. Residents should also leverage suspicious phone number lookup services to vet calls from suspicious phone numbers.
What are Washington County Bondsman Scams?
In the bondsman phone scam, a scammer calls a Washington County resident and impersonates a bondsman. During the call, the scammer claims to be representing the victim's loved one who has just recently been arrested for a crime or is in trouble with the law. The scammer then requests a large sum of money, claiming that the money will be used to satisfy a bond or another legal requirement. After this, the scammer will request that the money is paid in cash or through an unconventional payment option like Bitcoin, Moneygram, and GreenDot. After the payment is made, the scammer will make follow-up calls requesting more money to satisfy another legal requirement.
County officials have informed residents to always ensure that they independently verify claims from other family members. They should also use reverse phone number lookup tools to find out who the number is registered to.
What are Washington County Jury Duty Scams?
The jury duty scam usually begins with a scammer calling a Washington County resident with the spoofed caller ID of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. During the call, the scammer claims to be an officer of the County Sheriff’s Office and tells the victim that they failed to show up for jury duty. Threatening to arrest the victim, the scammer demands money to resolve the arrest warrant and insists that the payment is made via Moneygram, Bitcoin, or a prepaid card. The scammer may also request the victim's personal information, such as their social security number, claiming that it is required to verify the court record.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has informed residents that failure to show up for jury duty does not result in immediate arrest. Also, a jury duty summons or notice is always communicated via postal mail and not phone calls. Residents can leverage phone number lookup services to identify who called.
What are Washington County Social Security Scams?
In the social security phone scam, the scammer calls a Washington County resident and claims to be a staff of the Social Security Administration (SSA). The scammer uses caller ID spoofing to copy the caller ID of a legitimate SSA representative. During the call, the scammer alleges that the victim's social security number has been linked to a bank account that is under investigation for money laundering or another financial crime. The scammer threatens the victim with arrest and litigation to scare them. After this, they offer to help resolve the situation if the victim makes a certain payment. The payment is often requested in the form of a gift card, iTunes card, Green Dot card, etc. The scammer may also leverage the situation to obtain other personal and financial information from the resident.
What are Washington County IRS Tax Scams?
In the IRS tax scam, a scammer poses as an IRS officer, spoofs the caller ID of a legitimate IRS office phone number, and calls a Washington County resident. During the call, the scammer informs the resident that they owe tax or their tax returns were not properly filed. The scammer uses intimidation and threats of arrest to frighten the victim. Once the victim is frightened, the scammer proceeds to offer the victim an opportunity to pay off the tax owed and fine associated with the tax. However, the scammer will demand that the payment is made immediately, often through a prepaid credit card, western union, gift card, MoneyGram, or cash app.
Residents need to note that the IRS only communicates with residents through the postal mail service. Fraudulent calls from individuals impersonating the IRS office can be reported to the IRS by calling 800-829-1040 or filing complaints with the Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration (TIGTA) online or by calling 800-366-4484.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are unsolicited calls that deliver pre-recorded messages to call several individuals in a short time, using computerized auto-dialers. Telemarketers, polling agencies, political campaigns, and nonprofit organizations leverage robocall to reach their target audience. On the other hand, spam calls refer to unwanted and unsolicited calls that deliver irrelevant messages to recipients.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act establishes specific guidelines to regulate the use of robocalls. It also lays out parameters to distinguish legal and illegal robocalls, mandating prior consent as a requirement for sending robocalls to individuals. While reverse phone lookup services and many call-blocking solutions are available to Washington County residents, they still need to know how to deal with illegal robocalls.
When dealing with illegal robocalls, the best options are to:
- Ignore calls from suspicious phone numbers, but if you unknowingly pick such calls, hang up immediately.
- Block robocalls from unwanted and suspicious phone numbers. This can be done using call-blocking solutions, which are available online or through phone service providers.
- Disregard all questions and prompts associated with identified robocalls.
- Use an area code lookup service to identify the location from which the call was made.
- Register your phone number online with the National Do Not Call Registry
- Report all cases of illegal robocalls online to the Federal Trade Commission FTC.
How Can You Spot and Report Washington County Phone Scams?
Washington County residents need to be well informed about scammers’ schemes. This is because scammers continually improve the schemes they use to perpetrate scams. While these schemes may have changed over the years, the general indicators of these scams remain the same. This is why Washington County officials recommend educating residents on how to spot scams. Some of the key indicators to identify a phone scam include:
- Attempts by the caller to create an unnecessary sense of urgency to get you to make a decision on the spot.
- Use of carefully orchestrated communication in a bid to fraudulently obtain personal information.
- Payment requests through unconventional channels such as cash app, bitcoin, or gift cards.
- Automated sales call from an organization that you have not previously contacted.
- An offer of an investment opportunity with extraordinarily high returns on investment. Residents should always ensure to do their due diligence before making any investments.
Furthermore, there are various county, state, and government agencies that handle phone scam reports. They include:
The Wisconsin Department of Justice - The Consumer Protection and Antitrust Unit of the Wisconsin Department of Justice handles cases of fraud and other related phone scams. Complaints can be filed through the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-(800) 998-0700 or (608) 266-1852.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - The FCC is responsible for regulating communications in the United States. They also receive consumer complaints of illegal robocalls and other phone scams online.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office - Reports of phone scams can be made to the sheriff’s office in person at:
Washington County Sheriff’s Office
500 Rolfs Avenue
West Bend, WI 53095
Phone: (262) 335-4378
FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center - Report cases of internet crime and phone scams online to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center. The Internet Crime Complaint Center is a partnership between the National White Collar Crime Center and the FBI.