The three area codes serving Weld County are 303, 720, and 970. Area codes are three-digit numbers that designate specific NPAs (numbering plan areas). An NPA is a unique geographical area assigned a prefix code in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) created in 1947. In a typical 10-digit North American phone number, the area code is the first three digits. Area codes make call routing easier, especially for long-distance calls, across North American telephone networks.
Area Code 303
Area code 303 is one of the original 86 area codes created in the country with the institution of the NANP in 1947. It covered the entirety of Colorado and served every county there for forty years. Since then its NPA has shrunk following a split in 1988 and another in 1995. Communities in Weld County served by area code 303 include Brighton, Fort Lupton, Longmont, and Thornton.
Area Code 720
Activated on September 1, 1998 in an overlay plan, area code 720 unlocked more phone numbers when the 303 NPA neared exhaustion. As an overlay code, it serves the same communities as area code 303.
Area Code 970
Formed from a split from area code 303 on April 2, 1995, area code 970 reduced the reach of 303 to the Denver metropolitan area. It serves communities situated in northern and western parts of Colorado. Communities in Weld County covered by area code 970 include Greeley, Evans, Longmont, and Windsor.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Weld County?
Most Coloradoans, including residents of Weld County, have switched from landline phones to wireless phone services. A 2018 survey conducted by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics showed that 61.4% of adults in the state relied solely on wireless phone services while only 3% of this population still used only landline phones for telecommunication. Among minors in the state, 67.9% are wireless-only phone users while only a tiny fraction (0.6%) only used landline phones.
Phone service in Weld County is provided by the four major carriers as well as smaller MVNOs. Verizon leads the pack with 81.7% coverage of the state while AT&T’s network covers 79.7% of Colorado. T-Mobile provides phone service in 63.7% of the state but Sprint only covers 39.6% of the zip codes in the state. MVNOs or Mobile Virtual Network Operators are regional operators that rely on the phone networks of the major carriers. They offer cell phone plans with benefits tailored to appeal to the people in the areas they serve.
Besides traditional phone service providers, Weld County residents can also enjoy phone services from VoIP service providers. VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is a network technology that transmits voice signals as data packets over the internet. Residents with broadband internet access can sign up for VoIP phone services. These are usually more affordable especially for long-distance and video calls.
What are Weld County Phone Scams?
These are fraudulent activities conducted using phone services by scammers targeting residents of Weld County. Fraudsters use a number of phone tools to find targets and defraud them or steal other things of value including confidential information. These tools include caller ID spoofing, robocalls, spam calls, and voice phishing. With these, scammers can reach a lot more people, find victims in other states and countries, contact them more frequently, and trick them to hand over money or information.
Just as modern phone technologies make phone scams easier, they also make it possible to find, identify, and avoid fraudsters. Phone tools such as reverse phone lookup searches and call blocking are especially effective at stopping scammers and preventing phone scams. The most common phone scams in Weld County and Colorado include family emergency scams, business opportunity fraud, health care scams, charity scams, and jury duty scams.
What are Weld County Family Emergency Scams?
Also known as grandparent scams because they mostly target elderly residents, these involve scammers calling and pretending they are grandchildren or other relatives. They claim they are in dire straits and need immediate financial help. A scammer running this con may claim they are stuck in a foreign country, involved in an accident, need to get out of jail, or have to pay for hospital bills. Rather pretend to be a loved one, the caller may claim to be calling on behalf of the loved one as a lawyer or law enforcement. They may even claim to have kidnapped the loved one and demand a ransom.
In most family emergency scams, the scammers ask their victims not to tell others about their predicaments while pretending to be their loved ones. They ask for money sent by wire transfer, prepaid debit card, or gift card. One way to avoid this scam is to call the loved one or other relatives to confirm that claimed emergency. It is also possible to catch the caller in a lie by searching the number used with a phone lookup service. This can show that the individual registered to the number is not the loved one or that the call is not from the location claimed by the caller.
What are Weld County Business Opportunity Frauds?
The scams involve dishonest persons calling residents and selling attractive investment offers. They usually promise low risks and huge returns to make their targets interested and excited. Do not take up any business or investment offer solely on the information provided over the phone. Arrange to meet with the persons offering such investments and ask them for disclosure documents as mandated by law. Before meeting strangers offering investment and business opportunities, find out more about them. You can do this by running their phone numbers through a reverse number lookup service. The results should show who the numbers are registered to. Use the information to determine whether these are authorized representatives of legitimate business entities.
A reverse phone lookup search can also reveal additional information about a number such as whether it was flagged and associated with reported scams. When considering investment and business offers, make sure to ask relevant questions, check with Better Business Bureau, and take your time before making a commitment.
What are Weld County Health Care Scams?
These include Affordable Care Act Scams and Health Discount Plan Scams. Affordable Care Act scams involve fraudsters calling with offers to help unsuspecting residents navigate the health insurance marketplace for a fee. Some push fake insurance plans on their targets and others steal their victims’ personal information. Know that those authorized to help residents find health insurance do not bill for this service and that there is no penalty for not buying health insurance cards.
Non-insurance health discount plans offer subscribers significant savings on hospital bills and drug costs. However, there are a lot of scammers exploiting their victims’ lack of knowledge about how these plans work. Dishonest providers sell health discount plans that residents do not need or lock them in long-term contracts with recurring billing.
What are Weld County Charity Scams?
Scammers take advantage of charity donation drives after tragedies and natural disasters to steal money and other valuable items from well-meaning residents. These fraudsters call unsuspecting phone users and solicit for donations on behalf of well-known charities. Some scammers make up names that sound similar to those of real charities. Before sending money to any charity, make sure to check the caller’s identity using a reverse phone number lookup search.
Do not be hurried into making immediate donations when strangers call you on behalf of charities. Use the search tools provided by the Office of the Attorney General of Colorado on the Check the Charity website to see if charities soliciting for donations are legitimate. Independent charity watchdogs such as Charity Navigator and Wise Giving Alliance can also help residents tell real charities apart from fake ones.
What are Weld County Jury Duty Scams?
In these scams, fraudsters call residents and accuse them of missing jury duty. Callers may pose as officers of the court, law enforcement officers, or representatives of the District Attorney’s Office. They threaten their victims with immediate arrest. Residents that counter-argue that they never got notices of jury duty are asked to provide personal information to confirm their identities. The scammers obtain dates of birth and social security numbers from their victims. These are used for identity fraud.
Scammers running jury duty cons ask their victims to pay up to avoid immediate arrest. They demand payment by wire transfer, prepaid card, or rechargeable card. They may even pretend to be legitimate by asking their victims to send prepaid cards and their PINs by certified mail to the office of the court clerk. However, these fraudsters can intercept such mail and remove the cards enclosed.
If contacted by a stranger threatening you with arrest for missing jury duty, contact local law enforcement or call the court referenced to confirm their claims. If you use reverse phone lookup to search the caller’s number, you may be able to identify who called and see that they are not law enforcement or a court official.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls and spam calls are unwanted and unsolicited phone calls placed in bulk to large groups of phone users. A robocall is placed by an auto-dialer delivering a pre-recorded message usually spoken in machine voice. A spam call may feature a message recorded by an actual person.
Robocalls were first introduced to help telemarketers and political campaigns quickly reach a lot of people with their messages. Some approved organizations also use them to deliver public service announcements. Robocalls make contacting large audiences easy and affordable. These features also make them attractive to scammers and illegal telemarketers.
Weld County residents receive an overwhelming number of robocalls and spam calls every year and this number keeps growing annually. Residents intent on stopping or reducing the number of these unwanted calls should consider the following tips:
- Do not trust your phone’s caller ID to correctly identify callers. Scammers can mask their true identities and impersonate authority figures with caller ID spoofing
- Hang up on a robocall or spam call as soon as you realize you picked it
- Do not follow instructions given during such calls to remove your phone number from their call lists. Following these prompts only confirms that your number is active. Scammers and dubious telemarketers share and sell lists of such numbers
- Use a free reverse phone lookup service to identify subscribers linked to unknown phone numbers calling you. This can help you avoid phone scams and also file a comprehensive report when submitting a complaint to law enforcement
- Set up your phone to block calls from certain numbers or every number not in your contact list. Smartphones have such features built-in and carriers also offer them to their subscribers. There are also third-party apps that can block calls from user-generated blacklists
- Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry as well as Colorado’s Do Not Call List. When you add your number to these databases, legitimate telemarketers stop calling your phone after 31 days. You can safely assume that all robocalls and spam calls received after this period are from scammers
How to Spot and Report Weld County Phone Scams
Phone scammers target everyone and anyone can be a victim. To avoid falling for a phone scam, it is important to keep yourself informed of new and emerging tactics used by scammers. Weld County residents can sign up for fraud alerts and read the resources published by the Consumer Protection Unit of Colorado’s Office of the Attorney General.
These resources suggest tools such as phone and area code lookup tools as well as call blocking for stopping phone scams. Weld County residents will also learn to look out for certain signs of phone scams such as:
- Demand for payment via unofficial and hard-to-trace channels such as prepaid cards, gift cards, cryptocurrency, and wire transfer
- Use of threat to obtain compliance from their targets. Scammers threaten their victims with arrest, prosecution, jail term, deportation, tax audits, and license revocations
- Request for personal and confidential information. When impersonating government officials or employees of financial houses, scammers ask for confidential records while claiming to need these to verify identities and process claims
- Refusal to properly identify themselves. Scammers impersonating authority figures often refuse to provide identification numbers when requested as they do not have these
- Speaking in poor English. VoIP has made long-distance calls so cheap that scammers from foregin countries can easily target Americans. A stranger claiming to be an American and speak with a foreign accent or in bad English is most likely a scammer
Weld County residents are encouraged to report phone scams whether they are successful or not. This will help law enforcement find and prosecute scammers and also contribute to public knowledge about how these fraudsters operate. Here are county, state, and federal agencies that Weld County residents can contact to report phone scams:
- Consumer Protection Unit of the Office of the Attorney General - this unit of the Colorado Department of Law accepts complaints of, investigates, and prosecutes violations of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act and the Charitable Solicitations Act. File a scam complaint on the Attorney General’s website
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - this federal agency is responsible for consumer protection in the nation. Residents can report scams involving deceptive business practices by submitting their fraud complaints to the FTC online
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - the FCC monitors and regulates the use of communication technologies in the country. Its role includes investigating and prosecuting frauds perpetrated using phone tools and services. Weld County residents can report illegal robocalls, spam calls, caller ID spoofing, and voice phishing to the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center
- Weld County Sheriff’s Office - this is the chief law enforcement agency in the county. The Sheriff’s Office accepts reports of phone frauds via its online reporting form. You can also call (970) 350-9600 to report a phone scam. Residents can also report phone scams to the local police departments in the cities and towns of Weld County.