What are Cleveland County Area Codes?
The two area codes covering Cleveland County are 405 and 572. Area codes are three-digit numeric designations for NPAs (numbering plan areas). The creation of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) divided the country into NPAs with 86 area codes. This simplified call routing across different North American telephone exchanges and unified the various systems that were in place prior to 1947. An area code is easily identified as the first three digits in a 10-digit phone number assigned in the United States.
Area Code 405
As one of the original area codes introduced in 1947, area code 405 covered all of Oklahoma until January 1, 1953 when area code 918 was created to cover the northeastern part of the state. After another split, area code 405 now serves the central part of Oklahoma. Communities in Cleveland County in the NPA covered by area code 405 include Norman, Lexington, Noble, and parts of Oklahoma City and Purcell.
Area Code 572
Announced on January 9, 2020, area code 572 was created in an overlay plan for the 405 NPA. As an overlay code, it serves the same communities as area code 405. Mandatory 10-digit dialing for phone subscribers in these communities began in April 2021 and new phone numbers began on May 24, 2021.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Cleveland County?
Most people living in Cleveland County have shifted away from landline phones to wireless phone services. This trend was highlighted in the results of the 2018 Wireless Substitution Survey conducted by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The survey showed that 66.7% of the adult residents of Cleveland County rely solely on wireless phone services for telecommunication. In contrast, only 3.6% of residents in this demographic used landline phones exclusively. Among minors in the state, 75.7% were exclusive wireless phone service users while a tiny 1.2% of residents under the age of 18 still used landline phones only for telecommunication.
Cleveland County residents enjoy wireless phone service from all four big carriers. Among these, AT&T and T-Mobile have the most extensive networks with 96.7% and 96.4% coverage respectively. Verizon’s network covers 82% of Oklahoma while Sprint has presence in 45.5% of the state. Besides these major carriers, residents can also sign up for phone services with Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). These are smaller, regional carriers that rely on the network infrastructure of major carriers. They purchase network services from the Big Four in bulk and pass some of the savings to phone users by rebundling these services into packages better suited to phone users in the regions they serve.
VoIP service providers also offer phone services in Cleveland County. VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is a telecommunication technology that carries voice transmission over the internet as data packets. VoIP relies on broadband internet connection and offers a wider range of features than landline and cell phone services. It is also more affordable and flexible. Users can make VoIP calls from their smartphones, PCs, and tablets. There are even special adapters that make landline phones VoIP-capable.
What are Cleveland County Phone Scams?
These are frauds committed, using phone tools and services, by scam artists targeting residents of Cleveland County. Scammers find and trick their victims with readily available phone technologies like robocalls, spam calls, and caller ID spoofing. Most phone scams involve impersonating individuals and organizations trusted by the victims. Fraudsters gain the trust of their targets by claiming to be someone other than themselves. This is easily done by spoofing victims’ caller IDs.
Just as some phone tools and services make phone scams easier, others make finding, identifying, and avoiding scammers easier too. Reverse phone lookup searches and call blocking are two leading tools for avoiding and foiling phone scams. In addition to using these tools, residents of Cleveland County should also be aware of commonly reported scams in their communities. The most common phone scams in Oklahoma are IRS scams, credit/loan scams, lottery/sweepstake scams, and missed call scams.
What are Cleveland County IRS Scams?
In an IRS scam, a stranger calls and claims to be an employee of the Internal Revenue Service. The caller informs the call recipient about owed back taxes and demands immediate payment. To ensure compliance, the scammer threatens their target with arrest, jail term, deportation, or license revocation. Hoping to avoid these outcomes, the victim sends money to the fake IRS agent who demands payment by wire transfer, prepaid debit card, gift card, or cryptocurrency.
In another type of IRS scam, the caller sounds genial and informs the target that they qualify for tax refunds. The scammer pretending to be an IRS officer then requests for certain confidential information claiming to need these to process the refunds or confirm the recipient’s identity. The aim of this IRS scam is to steal credit card details, social security number, and checking account information. The scammer uses these pieces of information to steal the victim’s identity, defraud them, and ruin their credit score.
One way to tell a real IRS agent from a fake one is to run the number used for the call through a suspicious phone number lookup search on the number used by the caller. If the search returns results that indicate the number is not an official IRS number, then the caller is a scammer. Cleveland County residents should also know that the IRS does not initiate communication with taxpayers by phone nor threaten them or demand confidential information they already have.
What are Cleveland County Credit/Loan Scams?
Fraudsters target residents with poor credit scores who are unable to obtain loans from legitimate sources with these scams. An unknown caller promising to repair a bad credit score for a fee is most likely a scammer. Dubious credit repair companies ask their victims to create new identities to hide away their negative credit reports. However, doing this is illegal and rarely successful at improving credit scores. Some scammers also promise to give out loans irrespective of credit score. These offers attract people with bad credit scores who pay these con artists some processing fees in hope of receiving much-needed loans.
A reverse phone number search can help identify scammers running these cons. Such searches often find that the numbers used by the scammers have been flagged as associated with phone scams. Cleveland County residents contacted by strangers with credit and loan offers should ask questions about how these individuals aim to legally deliver on their promises.
What are Cleveland County Lottery/Sweepstake Scams?
In a lottery or sweepstake scam, the victim is contacted by a stranger claiming they won a lottery. This is usually an out-of-state lottery or one in a foreign country. Victims of lottery/sweepstake scams often have never heard about the lotteries they supposedly one and did not buy tickets for them. Lottery scammers ask their victims to send certain sums to cover taxes or processing fees. This scheme is also used in free gift scams in which scammers ask their victims for money to cover the shipping fees of free gifts they supposedly won.
Before sending money or releasing personal information to anyone claiming you won a lottery or free gift, make sure to confirm the existence of the lottery or offer and confirm from the official organizers that you indeed won. A quick reverse phone lookup of the unknown number used by the caller can reveal that they are not affiliated to the lottery organization they are impersonating or that the lottery/sweepstake they are referring to does not exist.
What are Cleveland County Missed Call Scams?
Also known as one-call scams, these involve scam artists dialling the numbers of unsuspecting phone users and letting the phone ring once before hanging up. Often, the phone number used is an international one. Victims of this scam are usually curious and call back. The scammer then keeps them on the phone for as long as possible while the victim racks up huge phone bills. The cost of such lengthy international calls are often shared by dubious phone companies with fraudsters running this con.
To avoid missed call scams, never call back a number that rings your phone once. Only consider returning a missed call if the caller left a message. If curious about the unknown number linked to a missed call, search it with a reverse phone lookup service to determine whether it is a local number or not and if it had been previously associated with a phone scam.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
A robocall is an automated phone call placed by an auto-dialer to deliver a pre-recorded message. The same message is usually delivered to a large number of phone users. Robocalls are not inherently bad. They are commonly used by political campaigns, telemarketers, and public organizations delivering public service announcements. These legitimate entities use robocalls to quickly reach a wide audience. Robocalls are cost-effective mass communication tools. However, these features also make them appealing to scammers who use them to cast wide nets for potential victims.
Spam calls are also unwanted calls placed in bulk to large groups of people. A spam call may feature a pre-recorded message read by an actual person and then delivered to a long list of phone users. Just like other Americans, Cleveland County residents receive lots of robocalls and spam calls. These unwanted calls are not only annoying and disturbing but also commonly used by fraudsters. Residents should consider the following steps to stop or reduce the number of robocalls and spam calls they receive:
- Use reverse phone lookup services to identify the persons registered to the unknown numbers used for robocalls and spam calls. Report these numbers and their owners to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- Hang up on a robocall or spam call as soon as you realize what it is. Do not follow instructions given during such calls to remove your number from their call lists. This does not stop such calls but increases the number of unwanted calls calling your number
- Register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry and the Oklahoma Do Not Call List. This indicates to telemarketers that you no longer wish to receive unsolicited calls from them. Note that scammers and dubious telemarketers do not obey the rules of these registries. However, you can regard calls received after a month of adding your number to this registry as originating from fraudsters
- Block calls from unknown numbers on your phone. You can also set up your phone to block calls from certain blacklisted numbers. Phone carriers and third-party app developers also offer call blocking solutions
How to Spot and Report Cleveland County Phone Scams
It is important to learn to spot a phone scam. While tools like phone number lookup and call blocking are helpful, they are even more effective when users know what to look for when talking to strangers on the phone. Most new scams introduced by fraudsters are new spins on old tricks. Overall, the goal of a phone scammer is to defraud their victim or steal valuable information such as passwords, credit card PINs, checking account information, and social security numbers.
Look for the following red flags to tell whether an unknown caller is attempting to scam you:
- Threats - scammers often resort to threats to scare their victims and force compliance
- Asking for payment via unofficial channels - official representatives of government and private entities do not ask for payment by cash, cryptocurrency, prepaid debit card, or gift card
- Aggressive sale tactics - scammers push their victims to make quick decisions. Some will insist that the victim accept their offer or send payment while they stay on the phone. Investment scammers claim their low-risk, high-reward offers are only available for a limited time
- Bad English and foreign accents - an increasingly large number of scammers targeting Americans are from other countries and places where English is not their first language
Cleveland County residents should report phone scams whether these are successful or not. Reporting phone frauds helps others avoid falling for these tricks. Law enforcement also use such reports to identify and prosecute fraudsters. Residents of Cleveland County can report phone scams to the following county, state, and federal agencies:
- Consumer Protection Unit of the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office - this state agency educates residents about frauds and protects them against deceptive and unfair business practices. Report phone scams involving fraudulent product and service offers including fake charities and investment scams to the Unit by calling (405) 521-2029 or emailing ConsumerProtection@oag.ok.gov.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - this federal agency also protects consumers from unfair and deceptive business practices. Residents can make their fraud complaints to the FTC online
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - this is the federal agency that regulates the use of communication tools and services. It investigates phone scams and prosecutes individuals and businesses that aim to defraud residents with illegal robocalls, spam calls, caller ID spoofing, and voice phishing. Cleveland County residents can submit their phone scam complaints to the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center
- Local law enforcement - Residents can report phone scams to the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office or police departments in the county. Call (704) 484-4887 to report a crime to the Sheriff’s Office