What are the Best Cell Phone Plans for St. Clair County?
There is only one area code for St. Clair County. This is area code 810. An area code is a three-digit number designating a numbering plan area (NPA). Numbering plan areas were introduced when AT&T created the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) in 1947. There were originally 86 area codes covering the whole of the US. However, the total number of area codes has since gone up to accommodate the rapid growth of wireless phone subscribers. Prior to 1947, there were different, and conflicting, call routing systems used by telephone networks in the US. The NANP unified the nation’s telephone exchanges and made routing long-distance calls more efficient. In a 10-digit North American phone number, the first three digits represent the area code.
Area Code 810
Put into service on December 1, 1993, area code 810 is the telephone area code for north central part of Michigan. Since then it has been split twice to create area codes 248 and 586. The current area code 810 has telephone numbers assigned to central office code 988, the dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Line. To avoid conflict, residents of the counties and cities served by area code 810 must transition to mandatory 10-digit dialing on October 24, 2021. Communities in St. Clair County under area code 810 include Marine City, Marysville, Port Huron, St. Clair, and Yale.
Most of the residents of St. Clair County already made the switch from landline phones to wireless phones. This trend also applies to the rest of Michigan according to a 2018 wireless substitution survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. The results of that survey show that 57.3% of adults in the state solely used wireless phone services for their telecommunication needs. In contrast, about 4.7% of them still relied on landline phones. The disparity between the numbers of landline and wireless phone users among those under the age of 18 was even wider in the state. About 69.5% of minors in Michigan only used wireless phones for telecommunication while only 1.7% of this demographic still used landline phones exclusively.
The major national carriers offer wireless phone services in St. Clair County and Michigan. AT&T leads the pack with 97.6% coverage of the state and T-Mobile is a close second with 91.2% coverage. Verizon’s network is available in 90.2% of the state while Sprint only covers 56% of Michigan. Besides these major carriers, there are also MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) offering phone services in the state. MVNOs are small, regional carriers that rely on the network infrastructure of national carriers and buy network services in bulk from them. MVNOs usually offer lower-cost phone plans in bundles with services meant to appeal to subscribers living in the areas they serve.
VoIP operators represent a third wireless phone service option for the residents of St. Clair County. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a communication technology that transmits voice signals over the internet as data packets. VoIP phone services require broadband internet access. However, they offer phone plans that are more affordable, and include more features, than landline and cell phone plans. For example, video calls and long-distance calls cost less on VoIP phone plans.
What are St. Clair County Phone Scams?
These are telephone frauds committed in St. Clair County or targeting residents of the county. The goals of phone scammers are to defraud their targets and steal confidential information such as identity and financial records. These fraudsters contact and communicate with their victims by calls and text messages. Some scammers employ sophisticated phone tools to find and trick unsuspecting residents. Such tools include caller ID spoofing, spam calls, robocalls, and voice phishing.
Targets of phone scams are not without help. They can avoid phone scams with phone tools like call block and reverse phone number lookup. These help identify scammers and block their calls. Residents of St. Clair County can also avoid phone scams by learning about the common telephone frauds in their communities. The Consumer Protection Division of Michigan’s Department of Attorney General identifies the following as the most common phone scams in the state: telephone sales scams, grandparent scams, travel scams, and charity scams.
What are St. Clair County Telephone Sales Scams?
These scams involve telemarketers calling to solicit money for fraudulent business schemes. Such schemes include dubious investments, franchise offers, health care plans, and insurance policies. Scammers may also call and offer to enter unsuspecting residents in made-up lotteries and sweepstakes for a fee. After sending the demanded fees, premiums, or payments, victims of these scams stop hearing from the fraudsters posing as legitimate businesspersons.
While running telephone sales scams, fraudsters use high-pressure tactics to get their victims to send money immediately. This is to prevent the targets from getting suspicious of the bogus offers after carefully considering them or asking friends and family members for advice. A quick phone number lookup can help you to avoid such a scam. The result of a reverse number lookup may indicate that the caller is not affiliated to the organization they claim to represent. It may also confirm that the number used by the caller has been previously flagged for scam.
What are St. Clair County Grandparent Scams?
These scams target the elderly and prey on their love and concern for their grandchildren. In a grandparent scam, a fraudster calls and pretends to be a grandkid of the target. The fraudster may also pretend to be a lawyer or police officer offering help to the family member. They claim they need urgent financial help for some made-up emergency. They would say they need the money to get out of jail, pay hospital bills, or buy tickets to come home. The caller will then ask the victim to keep their conversation a secret from other family members.
Residents of St. Clair County should inform their elderly relatives about these scams and tell them to contact them if anyone claiming to be a distant family member or an old friend calls asking for money. To discover a scammer running this con, simply call the family member who supposedly needs help. Alternatively, use a suspicious phone number lookup search to identify the person registered to the number used and the origin of the call.
What are St. Clair County Travel Scams?
Travel scams are a subset of telephone sales scams. These scams begin with telemarketers calling to offer unsuspecting residents free or low-cost vacation packages. Dishonest travel agencies running these scams usually conveniently forget to tell their victims about hefty, hidden fees they need to pay on the way to their destinations or when they get there. They also book their accommodation in seedy parts of their destinations or forget to mention that their low-cost travel packages do not include accommodation or the cost of return tickets.
To avoid travel scams, make sure to read the fine prints of heavily discounted vacation offers. Ask probing questions about the terms of such offers. You should also go online to investigate the travel agencies providing such offers and read reviews from their past offers. A phone number lookup search can also identify that the number used by the telemarketer offering a travel package was flagged for vacation scams.
What are St. Clair County Charity Scams?
Charity scams are most common during the holidays and periods of disasters when legitimate charities call for donations. Fraudsters running charity cons will call their victims seeking donation on behalf of known charities but then pocket the money sent. Some scammers mention fake charities that sound like the names of legitimate well-known charities. Michigan’s Attorney General advises residents to verify that they are dealing with legitimate charities before sending money to them. They can do so by calling these agencies:
- Attorney General’s Consumer Charitable Trust Section - (517) 373-1152
- Better Business Bureau (Grand Rapids Office) - (800) 684-3222
- Better Business Bureau (Southfield Office) - (248) 223-9400
- Charity Watch - (773) 529-2300
It is also possible to discover a scammer posing as a charity fundraiser with reverse phone number lookup. This can show that the number used by the caller is not associated with the charity or agency they claim to represent.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated phone calls placed by auto-dialers to deliver pre-recorded messages to large groups of phone users. When they were first introduced, these served as cost-effective mass communication tools for political groups, telemarketers, and public organizations delivering public service announcements. These days, most robocalls are from scammers and dishonest telemarketers pestering residents who wish to no longer receive these unsolicited calls.
Spam calls are also unwanted phone calls sent out in bulk. They are likely to be placed by human agents calling long lists of phone numbers to deliver scripted messages. The number of spam calls and robocalls received by American phone users keep going up every year. This has prompted the push for better caller authentication systems from phone service providers. While waiting for such systems to be deployed, residents of St. Clair County can avoid or limit the number of robocalls and spam calls received by doing the following:
- Let calls from unknown numbers go to voicemail where you can review the messages left and return only legitimate calls
- Hang up a call as soon as you find out it is a robocall or spam call
- Disregard instructions given during robocalls and spam calls on how to stop receiving such calls. Following such prompts only confirms that your number is active. Confirmed numbers are sold to scammers and dishonest telemarketers
- Set up your phone to block calls from unknown numbers or those known to be used for spam and scam. Modern phones have such call blocking and call filtering features. Carriers and third-party apps also offer these features by relying on regularly updated blacklists of blocked numbers
- Identify repeat callers with free reverse phone lookup searches. This can help you unmask a phone stalker, scammer, or spammer
- Register your phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry to stop receiving calls from legitimate telemarketers. Robocalls and spam calls received after 31 days of joining this registry are most likely from scammers and fraudulent telemarketers.
How to Spot and Report St. Clair County Phone Scams
While there are many different types of phone scams, they all have common threads. Most telephone frauds involve some form of impersonation, solicitation, and misrepresentation of claims. Regardless of the method used, scammers aim to defraud their targets by deceptively extracting money or valuable information from them. To spot phone scams, residents of St. Clair County should look out for the following signs:
- Threats - imposter scams usually involve threats made to victims to push them to comply. Scammers threaten their victims with arrest, jail, deportation, and license revocation while pretending to be law enforcement officers, IRS agents, and government officials
- Request for money via unofficial channels - while impersonating authority figures, scammers may request for payment for fines, outstanding tax, owed bills, and debts to be paid in cash or by prepaid debit cards, gift cards, wire transfer, Venmo transfer, and cryptocurrencies
- Request for details they should have or should not need - scammers aiming to steal confidential information for identity theft ask their victims for their social security numbers, banking passwords, and credit card PINs
- High-pressure sales tactics - fraudsters running business, vacation, investment, and promotion scams push their victims to make immediate decisions by telling them their low-risk, high-reward offers are only available for a limited time
- Refusal to provide written documentation and references - scammers want to avoid paper trail that can lead back to them. When asked to provide written documentation of their identities and claims, they get angry and rude
Residents of St. Clair County can also spot phone scams with suspicious phone number lookup. This tool is helpful for identifying unknown callers. Identifying scammers, spammers, and stalkers makes scam reports more actionable for law enforcement and consumer protection agencies. Scams targeting residents of St. Clair County can be reported to the following agencies:
- The Consumer Protection Division of Michigan’s Department of Attorney General - this state agency investigates reports of consumer and telemarketing frauds submitted by residents of the state. File a complaint with this Division by calling (517) 335-7599
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - this is the federal consumer protection agency responsible for protecting Americans against deceptive and unfair business practices. St. Clair County residents can report telephone frauds involving breach of trust during trade exchanges to the FTC by calling (877) 382-4357 or submitting their fraud complaints online
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - this federal agency regulates all communication in the nation including phone services. Residents can report illegal robocalls, spam calls, and caller ID spoofing to the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center