What are Lancaster County Area Codes?
Area codes were created under the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) to identify geographical regions known as Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs). They are the three-digit prefixes at the beginning of telephone numbers. Area codes eliminated the need for human operators in routing long-distance calls. For quick information about a specific area code, use area code lookup tools online.
Lancaster County currently has two active area codes. These are:
Area Code 402
Area code 402 spreads across eastern and northern Nebraska, covering Lincoln, Bellevue, and Omaha. It has a single overlay - area code 531, serving the same area. Area code 402 originally served the whole of Nebraska. In 1955, area code 402 was split to form area code 308. Other cities served by area code 402 include Fremont, Hastings, Norfolk, Columbus, Papillion, La Vista, South Sioux, and Beatrice.
Area Code 531
Area code 531 was first put in use on March 26, 2011, and was created from area code 402. It also serves cities in the northern and eastern parts of Nebraska, including Crete, Seward, Plattsmouth, Chalco, Blair, York, and Ralston.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Lancaster County?
Cell phone users often end up using the same providers for many months or years. Hence, it is worth carefully considering the wide range of plans on offer before making a decision. Although Lancaster County residents had relatively few choices at one time, various carriers now offer a variety of cell phone plans. Nonetheless, it is important to compare important factors such as reliability, speed, data, and call quality before making a decision.
In Lancaster's county seat of Lincoln, Verizon has the best overall coverage with a relative score of 96% compared to other providers. Sprint has a score of 82%, AT&T has 72%, while T-Mobile has an overall coverage score of 58%. Note that a wireless service plan depends on factors such as minutes offered, text message limits, and data limits. These major carriers typically offer individual plans, family plans, and no-contract plans. Apart from the plans offered by the four Major Network Operators (MNOs), Lancaster County residents can also purchase plans from smaller prepaid carriers, called MVNOs. MVNOs typically use one of the four MNOs and resell services to no-commitment customers.
Wireless telephony users in Lancaster County also include residents who use VoIP as their standard telephone communication choice or in conjunction with cellular or landline telephony. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) allows users to make calls using IP networks or the internet as the medium of transmission. VoIP calls are cheaper than the other options because it does not require laying and maintaining communication lines as required in cellular and landline telephony. According to a 2018 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, 58.7% of persons above the age of 18 in Nebraska used wireless-only telephony service, while only 4.2% used landline-only service exclusively. Among persons below the age of 18, 71.1% used wireless-only telephony service and only 1.8% used landline telephone service exclusively.
What are Lancaster County Phone Scams?
Lancaster County phone scams are deceptive practices of crooked individuals perpetrated using phone calls in order to steal money or obtain sensitive information from Lancaster County residents. Phone scammers employ robocalls and voice phishing to extort residents while using caller ID spoofing to hide their identities in the process. Phone lookup applications can help unmask the real identities of phone scammers.
The Nebraska Office of the Attorney General publishes a list of common phone scams in the state on its website and posts consumer alerts that citizens may avail of to stay abreast of scam tactics used by phone scammers. Phone scammers typically begin by trying to establish trust between themselves and their targets before proceeding to ask for money or sensitive information. Common phone scams in Lancaster County are highlighted below.
What are Lancaster County Impostor Scams?
Impostor scams are the most common forms of phone scams in Lancaster County. In the most perpetrated variant of this scam, the caller claims to be an employee from the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office and informs the target of an outstanding arrest warrant. To keep from going to jail, the target is required to purchase a Green Dot Card (pre-paid card) from a local business store and call back to provide the number of the card. Once the numbers are given, the scam has occurred and the money is lost.
In some impostor scams recorded in Lancaster County, residents have reported having received calls from scammers claiming they have unpaid citations and must pay immediately or be arrested. The scammers asked their victims to purchase MoneyPak Visa Cards and give them the serial numbers over the phone. An impostor scammer may also claim that you have missed jury duty and will be arrested if you do not send money within a short period of time. To help verify that callers are who they say they are, you can use good reverse phone lookup tools online to quickly do a number lookup or reverse number lookup.
What are Lancaster County Emergency Scams?
Also referred to as Grandparent Scams, emergency scams involve calls from fraudsters claiming to be friends or relatives of targets in dire need. They are trying to prey on the emotions of their targets by inventing situations that must be responded to immediately. They convince their targets by disguising their voices, showing familiar phone numbers on caller IDs using a practice called spoofing, and using information gleaned from the internet. If the target asks why they sound different, they claim it is because they are crying, sick, or injured.
An emergency scammer describes some type of urgent or distress situation, such as paying a medical bill, bail money, or auto-repair money. The con artist frequently references specific names of family members or locations to make the story seem plausible. The scammer may try to keep the target from confirming the story by pleading with the target not to tell anyone for fear of embarrassment. Financial help is often requested through money transfer services such as Western Union or MoneyGram, or prepaid debit cards. Lancaster County residents can also conduct suspicious phone number lookup searches online when they receive calls from suspicious phone numbers.
What are Lancaster County Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams?
In a sweepstakes scam, the scammer makes you think that you have won a great prize or sweepstakes. However, to access the prize or winning, you need to pay a fee or purchase some merchandise. The scam begins with a call from a fraudulent telemarketer who informs you that you have qualified for a free vacation, won a laptop or smartphone, or even money from a lottery. To claim the prize, the scammer asks you to pay insurance costs, government taxes, bank fees, or courier charges. The scammer makes money by continually collecting these fees from you and stalling the payment of your "winnings."
In a lottery or sweepstake scam, the scammer may urge you to keep your winnings private or confidential in other to maintain security or stop other persons from getting your prize by mistake. This is only a tactic to prevent you from seeking further information or advice from independent sources.
Lottery scams may use the names of legitimate overseas lotteries so that if you carry out cursory research, the information will appear authentic. However, you may conduct a “reverse phone lookup international” search online to verify the source of such calls. A “reverse phone lookup USA” search will help track the origin of a call placed within the United States.
A lottery or sweepstake scammer may also ask you to provide personal details to prove that you are the correct winner and to provide your bank account details so that the winnings can be sent to you. The scammer will use these details for identity theft and steal any money in your account.
What are Lancaster County Debt Collection Scams?
In a debt collection scam, the scammer poses as a debt collector or a representative of a collection agency and tries to get you to pay immediately. The debt may be completely fake, canceled, discharged, forgiven, or beyond the period for collection. The scammer may often use abusive and harassing tactics to frighten you into providing bank and other personal information while you falsely believe that you are paying real debts. The fraudster may have already accessed your personal information through identity theft or by obtaining your credit report. Through this, the scammer will appear to be collecting debts that you actually owe, making the scam look believable.
For instance, scammers may make their targets believe that they are collecting Barclays’ debts. You might actually owe money to Barclays, and so you believe the caller works for the organization. However, the scam is that the caller has no relationship to Barclays, and whatever money you pay is not going to that company. Instead, the money goes into the fraudster's pocket, as well as other funds that the scammer can access with the financial information provided. You can use a reverse cell phone lookup tool to verify if a caller’s identity matches the name given.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are phone calls that use computerized auto-dialers to deliver pre-recorded messages, as though from robots. Robocalls are common practice with political and telemarketers who use automatic dialers to deliver political campaign messages and sales pitches. Although robocalls are intrusive by nature and require the express consent of telephone subscribers before use in many cases, that requirement can be sidestepped in specific instances. For instance, robocalls can be used for emergency or public-service announcements without obtaining permission from the target audience.
Crooked individuals now use robocalls to contact thousands of people in the hope of fleecing some of their targets. These illegal and unwanted calls are spam calls and are intended to defraud unsuspecting persons. Identifying robocalls has become harder in recent years with caller ID spoofing now used to mask the true sources of robocalls. Caller ID was adopted by telephone service providers to identify the source of incoming calls, however, persons outside of Lancaster County using robocalls now spoof caller ID to make it appear like calls are originating from local areas. Reverse phone number lookup can help phone users identify robocalls and avoid falling victims to robocall scams. Lancaster County residents can also take the following steps to limit the scourge of robocalls:
- Hang up on robocalls. If you answer a call and hear a pre-recorded message, hang up immediately. Do not press any number to speak with live agents.
- Do not trust the information on your caller ID display. With spoofing technology, calls with true origins outside of Lancaster County and Nebraska can appear with local area codes.
- Do not provide or confirm personal or financial information to anyone over the phone.
- Request your phone provider to block numbers associated with robocalls.
- Download and install a third-party call-blocking application on your mobile phone such as Nomorobo, Truecaller, Hiya, and YouMail.
- Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry maintained by the FTC. Registration is free and can be done by calling (888) 382-1222 from the number you intend to register or online. Registering your phone number exempts you from receiving illegal telemarketing calls. If you get a robocall after 31 days of registration, it is probably from a scammer.
How to Spot and Report Lancaster County Phone Scams?
Scammers will stop at nothing to reach their goals. These fraudsters and constantly adapting and creating new tricks to swindle Lancaster County residents. Being aware of the cons used by scammers can forestall potential losses. Residents can also identify scams by performing free phone number lookups. Other signs to look out for during phone calls that may indicate interaction with a scammer include:
- The caller claims to be from a trusted organization but asks you for personal details
- The caller says that you have won a prize or that you can claim some money if you pay a token as tax or processing fee
- The caller calls over and over, making it hard to ignore
- The caller uses recorded messages and asks for sensitive information such as Social Security number, date of birth, bank information, or passwords
- The caller says an account in your name needs urgent attention and can only be fixed by obtaining your private information
- The caller acts like it is an emergency and tells you something bad will happen if you do not pay right away
- The caller claims to represent a reputable organization but asks you for information that the organization should already have
- The caller claims you have been specifically selected for a limited-time offer
Although being aware of the tricks used by scammers will not stop you from being targeted by phone scammers, using tools that perform reverse phone number lookups can further reduce the chances of being scammed.
You can file complaints with any of the following public bodies if you have been contacted by a scammer:
- The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Department: If you receive a call from a scammer you may contact the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at (402) 441-6500.
- Local Police Departments: You can also file reports at your local police department if you have been contacted by a scammer. In the county seat of Lincoln, you can contact the Lincoln Police Department at (402) 441-6000.
- The Nebraska Attorney General's Office: If you have a complaint about an unsolicited call, contact the Nebraska Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) consumer protection line at (402) 471-2682 or file a complaint online.
- The Federal Trade Commission: If you receive unsolicited calls 31 days after adding your number to the National Do Not Call Registry, you can file a complaint online with the FTC.The Federal Communications Commission: The FCC allows you to file a complaint online if you believe you have received a call from a spam call, or if you think you are the victim of a phone scam.