The first three-digit numbers at the beginning of a ten-digit North American telephone number is called an area code. The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) designates area codes to differentiate between the Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs) in a state. The Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable (DTC) implements area codes in Massachusetts, including Berkshire County area codes. Berkshire County is currently being served by only one area code (413).
Area Code 413
Area code 413 is a Massachusetts telephone code in the NANP and one of the original 86 NPAs introduced in 1947. It currently serves Berkshire County and parts of a few others in Massachusetts. The major cities and communities in Berkshire County within the 413 NPA include Pittsfield, Adams, North Adams, Lee, and Dalton. Others are Williamstown, Lenox, Great Barrington, and Housatonic.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Berkshire County?
All major American phone carriers, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, are available in Massachusetts and offer the best cell phone services and decent coverage of Berkshire County. In the City of Pittsfield, AT&T claims the best service coverage at 100%, while Sprint has a network spread of 76%. Some Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) also provide good services at lower rates, though more limited than the major phone carriers. The MNVOs complement services provided by the major carriers in communities without the presence of all four providers.
The data obtained from a 2018 National Center for Health Statistics survey implied that wireless telephony services are gradually becoming the preferred form of telecommunication in Massachusetts. The report showed that 39.9% of adults and 43.7% of children in the Commonwealth depended exclusively on cell phones for telephony services. In contrast, only about 6.5% of adults and 4.0% of children in the Commonwealth still used landline-only telephony services as of that year. This telephone services adoption trend in the Commonwealth is a representation of what is obtainable in Berkshire County.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) offers Berkshire County residents telephony services, including text, voice, and video over broadband internet connections. VoIP services are more efficient, flexible, and cheaper than traditional telephone services. Several providers offer VoIP services in Berkshire County for business and residential users at competitive prices.
What are Berkshire County Phone Scams?
Berkshire County phone scams aim to steal money and confidential information from targeted residents. These are fraudulent activities perpetrated over the phone using telephone services such as text messages, automated calls, and live calls. Scammers typically commit identity and financial theft once they obtain confidential information from victims. They increase their chances of success in their scam schemes by spoofing targets' Caller IDs. Phone spoofing allows scammers to manipulate targets' Caller IDs to display the names and phone numbers of veritable entities and establish trust.
Reverse phone lookup services can identify spoofed phone calls, uncover unknown callers' real identities, and help residents avoid scams. Residents who frequently verify the identities of unknown callers with reverse phone number lookup applications are less vulnerable to phone scams. The Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General (MOAG) frequently publishes scam alerts to educate residents and protect them from phone scams. Besides the MOAG, some public agencies also provide consumer protection in Berkshire County. These include the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Berkshire County Sheriff's Office (BCSO), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). These agencies all join forces against the phone scam menace in Berkshire County.
Berkshire County residents frequently report the following scams:
What are Berkshire County Charity Scams?
In charity scams, fraudsters pretend to be with reputable charities and request donations from unsuspecting Berkshire County residents. These scams typically thrive on residents' generosity and are often perpetrated during pandemics or after disasters. The callers will make strong emotional appeals to get targeted residents to make contributions but usually end up pocketing residents' contributions for personal use. These scammers typically favor cash donations or payment by gift cards and wire transfers. Search engines offering reverse phone lookup services can return valuable information on these callers and prevent county residents from falling victim to scams.
Be cautious when considering donating to charities as there are many make-believe charity organizations whose interest is to rip residents off. Do not be swayed by the callers' emotional appeals or be pressured to contribute without proper callers' verification. Phone number search services can help in this regard. It is crucial to state that legitimate charities do not accept donations by cash or any other odd payment channel. Never give out money to a charity without first investigating it thoroughly for genuineness. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Exempt Organization Search provides a means of researching legitimate charities to avoid charity scams.
What are Berkshire County IRS Scams?
Although more prevalent during the tax filing season, scammers still prey on Berkshire County residents with IRS scams all year round. The fraudsters pretend to be with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to fool residents and cheat them out of their money. In other cases, they are keen on obtaining targets' information. They spoof their targets' Caller IDs to appear legitimate, making uninformed residents let their guards down. However, reverse cell phone lookup tools can ascertain if a call is spoofed and help residents make informed decisions on such phone calls. The callers usually accuse targets of having back taxes with the IRS and instruct them to settle their taxes immediately or risk facing arrest or other extreme legal actions. Targets who do not want to suffer these actions are advised to make payments via gift cards and wire transfers. Note that these payment systems are scammers' favorites since transactions made through them are hardly traceable or recoverable.
The IRS only initiates communication with taxpayers by mail unless taxpayers request phone engagements. The agency warns residents never to send money to persons claiming to be their employees over the phone. Berkshire County residents should know the IRS does not make threatening phone calls or solicit tax payments over the phone. Residents who receive these types of phone calls can retrieve the callers' identities using free reverse phone lookup applications. Victims of IRS scams in Berkshire County can file complaints online with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
What are Berkshire County Lottery Scams?
Fraudsters disguise themselves as agents of familiar legitimate lottery companies and tell targeted Berkshire County residents that they won lotteries in a bid to extort them. Residents can uncover the real identities of these scammers using phone number lookup applications. Most residents who fall for this bait are majorly those that never bought tickets, let alone entered any contest. The scammers will ask their targets to pay some fees upfront as taxes and service charges to enable them to claim their lottery winnings. Their preferred means of receiving payment include preloaded cards, credit cards, wire transfers, or gift cards. They sometimes persuade targets to make payments using their credit cards, whereby they will ask them to share the details, including PINs, to complete payments. Once victims pay, these scammers disappear into thin air, and recovering such money is usually challenging.
Unknown callers who request payments via irregular channels are potential scammers, and you should end such calls to avoid falling victim to scams. Never share your credit card information with anyone over the phone for any reason, especially if you did not place the call. The MOAG and BSCO warn residents against lottery scams and advise them never to send money to anyone claiming to be with lottery companies.
What are Berkshire County Investment Scams?
Investment scams come in various forms but primarily aim to cheat targeted residents out of their hard-earned money. The most targeted persons are the elderly who seek where to invest their retirement funds. Law enforcement agencies in Berkshire County warn residents against falling prey to these scams. Investment scams are usually presented as Ponzi schemes, fix-and-flip housing schemes, and oil and gas investment schemes. It is rare to find any government agency regulating these investment schemes, and persons who put their money into them only risk kissing such money goodbye. Residents are advised never to invest money in these schemes unless they have verified that they are legitimate and will not lose out after such investments. They can retrieve relevant information on anyone who calls to offer them such opportunities by performing reverse phone lookups.
If you receive this type of call, glean as much information as you possible, hang up your phone, and report the caller to your local law enforcement agency. Phone number lookup services can assist you in probing; "who is this number registered to?' Some of these schemes may require you to fill out some forms online where you will be required to share a few personal information. Never disclose your confidential information to anyone via phone or internet to avoid falling victim to identity and financial theft.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are phone calls made with auto-dialers to deliver pre-recorded messages to mass audiences. Government agencies use robocalls for disseminating information to residents during emergencies. Also, many veritable businesses use robocalls for disseminating the clients in their databases. Scammers also employ them in various scam schemes. Robocalls are usually unsolicited and inundating. A phone number lookup application can be used to ascertain if a phone call from an unknown number is a robocall or not. Spam calls are irrelevant phone calls sent out en masse to phone users who have not given their consent for such calls. Fraudsters typically use span calls to determine active phone numbers and identify them as potential scam targets.
To avoid robocall scams, consider taking any or all of the following actions:
- Register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry and Massachusetts Do Not Call Program to stop receiving unsolicited phone calls from telemarketers. You can call 1 (888) 382-1222 from your phone number to register on the National DNC Registry.
- Do not press any number key on your phone, as may be instructed by a robocall. Robocalls will sometimes ask you to click 1 to remove your phone number from their call lists. Doing this indicates that the number is active, and this will earn you repeated calls. Hang up immediately you identify a robocall.
- Report all unsolicited calls online to FTC or call the Commission on 1 (888) 382-1222.
- Use the call-blocking service provided by your phone carrier to block robocall and spam numbers. Some third-party developers also offer phone number lookup free services that you can use to identify and screen incoming robocalls. Learn how to use these services to avoid robocall scams.
How Can You Spot and Report Berkshire County Phone Scams?
In Berkshire County, fraudsters use several tricks to dupe residents over the phone. Applications offering reverse phone number lookup services are valuable in retrieving the identities of unknown callers and avoiding scams. The best way to tackle the phone scam menace is by continually educating yourself and staying vigilant while in a phone call with unknown persons. Familiarising yourself with the various tactics employed by scammers, as published by the major consumer protection agencies, is another way to combat scams. Signs that you are about getting ripped off in a phone call include:
- The caller poses as a representative of a legitimate company and informs you that you were specially selected for a prize but asks you to pay some money to claim the gift. If you get such a call, be careful not to part with money or share financial and personal information.
- The caller pitches product sales with a limited-time offer and pressures you to pay immediately without giving you enough time to decide.
- The caller issues a threat if you fail to pay them or disclose the information they require of you. They often threaten targets with arrest, jail, or deportation.
- The caller tactically dodges every inquiry you make to confirm their claims.
- The caller claims to be with a familiar government agency and asks that you pay via gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrencies. No government agency or its employees will ask residents to pay money via these unofficial payment channels.
Online applications that offer free phone number lookups by phone number, name, and address can help you find enough information on a suspicious caller and prevent you from falling victim to scams. Berkshire County residents can report phone scam incidents to any of the following public agency:
Federal Communications Commission - The FCC regulates communication in the United States and implements policies that protect consumers from scams. Victims of phone spoofing, robocalls, and other phone scams in Berkshire County can file complaints with the FCC or call 1-888-225-5322 to report.
Federal Trade Commission - The FTC is constantly educating residents on how to combat phone scams. It developed the National Do Not Call Registry to protect consumers from phone scams, particularly the ones perpetrated via robocalls. Berkshire County residents who fall victim to phone scams can file complaints online with the FTC.
Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General - The MOAG educates residents on avoiding identity theft and protecting themselves if they already lost their identities to scammers. Phone scams victims in Berkshire County can file reports online with the MOAG or call (617) 727-8400.
Berkshire County Sheriff's Office - The BCSO provides county residents with relevant information to enable them to identify and avoid phone scams. They often use search engines that offer phone number lookup services when investigating cases of phone scams. Berkshire County residents who fall prey to scams can file complaints with the BCSO by calling (413) 443-7220. They can also visit the agency at 467 Cheshire Rd, Pittsfield, MA 01201 to file in-person reports of phone scams.