What Are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Washtenaw County?
An area code is a three-digit number that is assigned to a geographical area in the United States and used before the seven-digit telephone number when placing calls to and within that area. You can find the area code for a community or region in the United States by using area code lookup tools online. Currently, only one area code serves Washtenaw County.
Area Code 734
Area code 734 was created from area code 313 and was first put in service on December 13, 1997. It is located in southeastern Michigan and is the only area code serving Southgate, Westland, and Ann Arbor. Other cities served by area code 734 include Livonia, Wyandotte, Trenton, Wayne, Woodhaven, Riverview, Lambertville, Flat Rock, Temperance, Plymouth, and South Monroe.
A 2018 survey conducted by the National Center of Health Statistics estimated that 57.3% of adults aged 18 and over, used wireless-only telephony service, while 4.7% used landline telephony service exclusively. Of persons aged under 18, 69.5% used wireless-only telephony service, while only 1.7% used landline-only telephone service.
All four major wireless providers have a strong presence in Washtenaw County. Verizon has the widest coverage with its network spreading across 94% of the County. T-Mobile covers 88% of Washtenaw, Sprint covers 84%, while AT&T has an 80% coverage score. Washtenaw residents can also subscribe to cell phone plans from Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in the county. MVNOs typically offer prepaid wireless plans on a subscription basis which are often cheaper than plans from the major carriers. MVNOs can offer cheaper cell phone plans because they have no infrastructure to build or maintain. Infrastructure capacity is leased from the major carriers.
Apart from the major carriers and MVNOs, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers also offer telephony services to Washtenaw County residents. VoIP uses the internet or IP networks to transmit voice signals and send multimedia files to complete calls. It allows multiple calls, including conference and group calls which makes it easier for collaborations.
What Are Washtenaw County Phone Scams?
Washtenaw County resident phone scams are deceptive acts and practices perpetrated by criminals over phone calls placed to county residents aimed at stealing their money or obtaining sensitive information from them. Criminals can impersonate banks, the police, tax offices, investment or software companies, and other trusted organizations through caller ID spoofing. Caller ID spoofing is a method that allows callers to change their Caller ID to any number they want, including numbers from trustworthy companies, numbers from your area code, and even your own number.
To get residents to part with their money or sensitive information, scammers may make unfounded promises, offer bogus investment schemes, or threaten you with service suspension. The Michigan Attorney General's Office provides regular consumer alerts and awareness of current and popular phone scams carried out in the state. Common phone scams in Washtenaw County are listed below.
What are Washtenaw County Sheriff Impostor Scams?
Sheriff impostor scams are one of the most common scams perpetrated by con artists in Washtenaw County. The caller claims to work with the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office and leaves a message with a phone number to call. When the victim calls back, the call goes to a voicemail that mimics the official Sheriff's Office voicemail. The message on the voicemail instructs the victim to select an option from the voicemail line which connects the victim to a real person. The scammer proceeds to inform the victim of a missed jury duty or a warrant for the victim's arrest. The impostor may also inform the victim of the need to pay bail money to grant the release of a relative from jail. Regardless of the trick used by the impostor, the victim is told to purchase a prepaid money card and give the numbers on the card to the caller.
Note that the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office does not ask for money to be paid to any employee of the office. Residents are advised not to provide any personal or financial information to potential scammers. You can use good reverse phone lookup tools online to quickly do a number lookup or reverse number lookup.
What are Washtenaw County “Can You Hear Me” Scams?
Also known as the "Say Yes Scam", this scam is targeted at getting people to say "yes" to a voice recorder running on the other end. A scammer can then use a victim’s voice to verify a transaction, whether it is authorizing charges on their bills, credit cards, or other online accounts. Once positive voice recordings have been obtained, the callers proceed to find out the targets' personal information to steal their identity and leave their bank accounts dry.
In a "Can You Hear Me" scam, the caller asks any question to which a positive answer is expected, such as "are you the owner of this telephone line?", "are you Mr. X?", and "are you a resident of Washtenaw County?" This scam is quite easy to fall for because the target will typically give a positive answer to the questions asked. A good way to counter this scam is not to take phone calls from unknown numbers, or simply not saying anything and hanging up immediately. You can then use a reverse phone lookup tool to verify the identity of the person behind the suspicious phone number.
What are Washtenaw County Grandparent Scams?
Con artists are adept at exploiting human emotions, and few bonds are as strong as that between grandparents and grandchildren. This bond makes targeting the elderly quite attractive to criminals who seek to manipulate senior citizens in order to steal their money. The grandparent phone scam is a common phone scam in which the con artist calls a grandparent saying that the grandchild is in trouble. The scammer may claim that the grandchild has been kidnapped, in an accident, or a hospital, and needs some kind of payment. The scammers may also intimidate the grandparent with statements like "do no tell anyone about this call or there will be repercussions", or "if you tell my parents, I will get in trouble."
In another variation of this scam, the scammer calls an older person and makes the elderly guess who is calling while using a child's voice. When the target mentions a name, the scammer assumes that identity and asks for money. Many grandparents fall into this trap because they do not double-check before sending money to their grandchildren. A more sophisticated version of the scam involves the con artist using social media as a way to get more accurate information on the target and his family. By viewing social media accounts, a scammer can get the name of the target's grandchild and craft a convincing story to obtain money. If you are in doubt about the true identity of the person behind a call, you can use free reverse phone lookup tools online to identify who a number is registered to.
What are Washtenaw County IRS Scams?
The IRS scam is one of the most prevalent scams in Washtenaw County and is frighteningly effective. Here, a caller contacts a target by phone and claims to be an employee of the Internal Revenue Service. The scammer informs the target of back taxes owed to the IRS and threatens legal repercussions if payment is not made immediately. Such repercussions include arrests, imprisonments, deportations, revocation of driver's licenses.
IRS scammers often use caller ID spoofing which allows them to falsify their caller ID information to appear like the IRS's. Spoofing fools county residents into believing that such calls truly originate from the IRS. Using the phone number under the supposed IRS caller ID, you can find out who called by using reverse phone number tools online. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by telephone calls; they send letters. You must have been informed ahead by letters or emails before receiving a call from the IRS.
What are Washtenaw County Healthcare Scams?
In recent times, fraudsters have falsified the number of the main Washtenaw County Health Department phone number ((734) 544-6700) for use in contacting Washtenaw residents to steal their personal information. You may receive a phone call with the caller ID of the Health Department; however, the caller will demand your health insurance information - an act that is atypical of the Washtenaw County Health Department. The caller is able to mimic the Department's number through spoofing. If you get such calls, do not give up your personal information.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are phone calls placed through automatic dialing announcing devices to deliver pre-recorded messages to phone users. Businesses use robocalls to get in touch with their consumers, send notifications, reminders, and information. As long as businesses have the permission of call recipients and are not trying to sell anything, the calls are legal. Con artists may obtain the contact information of targets from yellow pages or other sources and use robocalls to target thousands at once. By delivering pre-recorded messages which require the targets to respond, scammers can identify which telephone lines are in use. They can then contact persons with active lines using deceptive acts to steal their information or obtain money.
Robocalls are mostly unwanted calls from telemarketers and scammers and are consistently a top complaint received by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) every year. Although there are no quick fixes, there are a few things you can do to limit your exposure until a permanent fix is possible.
- Check the National Do Not Call Registry: Verify that your number has been added to the registry maintained by the Federal Trade Commission. You can do so by visiting the registry's website or calling (888) 382-1222 from the phone you want to register
- Contact your telephone provider: Some telephone companies offer call blocking or screening products. Verify if such a product is included in your monthly fee or is available for an additional fee.
- Add an app: Third-party applications are available on mobile application stores for phone users to reduce the number of robocalls received. Examples include Truecaller, Hiya, and Nomorobo. There are free options as well as more extensive plans with a monthly subscription fee.
- Report unwanted calls: Robocall and scam call complaints may be filed with several agencies:
- Federal Communications Commission - (888) 225-5322
- Federal Trade Commission - (877) 382-4357
- American Associations of Retired Persons Fraud Watch - (877) 908-3360
How to Spot and Report Washtenaw County Phone Scams?
Scammers are always evolving their schemes to defraud uninformed individuals. The best ways to combat scams are education and vigilance. Tools such as reverse phone number lookup services are effective in identifying potential phone scams. Indications that a phone call is a scam include:
- An offer too good to true: Although they may not be as advanced as other scams, you may still come across scams that promise you fantastic prizes or unbelievable winnings, such as winning a lottery and free vacation. Scammers who use these tricks will try to deflect questions with vague responses and try to pressure you into moving forward with their requests.
- Aggressive tactics: If a caller tries to coerce you into making a hurried decision using threats of arrests or suspensions, do not be afraid to hang up and talk to someone you trust before making a decision. Callers who threaten to arrest or harm you are not legitimate. Honest companies, even those who work in potentially tempestuous fields like collecting debt, will not threaten you like this. Scammers do it to pressure you into acting quickly.
- Unsolicited requests for sensitive information: Have a healthy suspicion of any unsolicited phone call you receive where the caller requests for information such as bank details, Social Security number, and passwords. Legitimate companies will not ask you for sensitive information over the phone.
- Requests for payment through insecure money transfer services: If a caller claims to work with a reputable organization but is asking you to make payment through prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, gift cards, there is a good chance the individual is a con artist. It is usually difficult to retrieve funds transferred through the listed means.
Services that conduct reverse phone number lookups by address, name, and phone number are helpful against phone scams. Both state and federal institutions are committed to fighting the scourge of phone scammers and provide information and assistance to residents. These include:
- Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office: If you have been contacted by a scammer by phone, contact the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office non-emergency dispatch at (734) 994-2911.
- The Consumer Protection Division of the Michigan Attorney General's Office: To report abuse or scam, you can file a report online on the Michigan Attorney General’s website or call the Consumer Protection Division at (877) 765-8388.
- Federal Communications Commission: If you receive unwanted robocalls and text messages, you can file a report online with the FCC.
- Federal Trade Commission - The FTC protects consumers from deceptive and fraudulent practices. You can file a phone scam report with the FTC by completing the online complaint form.