What are Benton County Area Codes?
Benton County occupies a total area of 884 square miles in the north-western part of Arkansas. The county is home to an estimated 271,941 residents, making it the second-most populated in Arkansas. Its county seat is Bentonville.
The sequence of three-digit numbers at the beginning of North American telephone numbers are referred to as area codes. Benton County area code identifies the origins and destinations of phone calls in the county. Area codes differentiate the Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs) in a state as designated by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). Only one active area code currently serves Benton County.
Area Code 479
Area Code 479 is an Arkansas area code that was split from the 501 NPA in 2002. It covers Benton County and some locations in other counties in Arkansas. Cities and communities within the 479 NPA in Benton County include Bentonville, Lowell, Gentry, and Rogers. Others are Gravette, Decatur, Siloam Springs, and Garfield.
The Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) maintains and administers area codes in Arkansas.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Benton County?
Arkansas residents are increasingly adopting wireless telephony services as their preferred choice of telecommunication. As of 2018, an estimated 66.4% of Arkansas' adult population had adopted wireless-only telephony services. A CDC survey conducted in 2018 reported this and also showed that only 4.2% of the adult population in Arkansas still used landlines solely for telecommunication. The massive shift to wireless telephony services is more apparent among the state's under-18 population as over 80% of them used cell phones exclusively.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology offers several telephone services, including voice calls, text messaging, and video conferencing to Benton County residents at affordable rates. It uses IP networks, typically the internet, to deliver communication between its users. The massive preference for cell phones and access to reliable broadband services has contributed to the increasing VoIP adoption by individuals and businesses in Benton County.
The four major national carriers in the United States provide network coverage in Arkansas, including Benton County. Generally, services are more reliable in the cities than in rural settlements. Some of the villages do not receive any network coverage. In Bentonville, Verizon offers the best network coverage of about 96%, followed by T-Mobile, which covers 86% of the city. AT&T extends a cover of 84%, and Sprint has no coverage at all in the city.
What are Benton County Phone Scams?
In Benton County, phone scams are aimed at ripping off unsuspecting county residents. Phone scams are fraudulent practices that rely on telephone services to steal money and deceptively obtain confidential information from naive persons. Typically, phone scammers use the identities of reputable businesses to appear legitimate while preying on their targets. They know it is a perfect way to get people to answer their calls and extort them. Also, phone scammers sometimes employ phone spoofing technology and impersonate employees of government agencies. Reverse phone lookup applications can identify spoofed calls and prevent Benton County residents from phone scams.
The Benton County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) protects residents from fraud and encourages them to submit crime tips, including attempted phone scam cases. The Arkansas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is the primary consumer protection agency in Arkansas. It provides scam alerts to keep residents abreast of topics relating to frauds and other consumer protection issues.
Frequently committed phone scams in Benton County include:
What are Social Security Scams?
Social security scams are popular and have many variations. However, fraudsters who perpetrate these scams impersonate employees of the Social Security Administration (SSA). They sometimes pretend to be with law enforcement. When you receive a call from anyone who claims to be with the SSA, make sure to confirm their identity using a free reverse phone lookup application. Doing this will help you avoid social security scams. In a prevalent version of this scam in Benton County, fraudsters will identify themselves as law enforcement agents when they call their targets. They will claim that targets are being investigated in crimes involving their Social Security Numbers (SSNs) and that following such investigations, the SSA has suspended their SSNs. The fraudsters will offer to help clear their marks' names from the crimes and reactivate their SSNs but will demand certain amounts of money to do so. Typically, these scammers receive payment by wire transfers and gift cards. They usually threaten to arrest or jail targets who are hesitant and not willing to make such payments. In the course of their conversations, the scammers may ask their targets to share the last four digits of their SSNs for supposed verifications and then commit identity theft.
Social security scammers often spoof the official phone numbers of the SSA to trick residents into answering their phones. However, reverse number lookup applications can identify spoofed phone calls. The SSA or law enforcement cannot suspend social security numbers. Also, their employees will not threaten arrest or jail over the phone and will never ask you to wire money or purchase gift cards as payment methods. If you encounter any of these over the phone, hang up immediately to avoid scams.
What are Utility Scams?
Utility scams are targeted at both businesses and individuals in Benton County. Most utility companies offer consumers multiple payment methods for their convenience. Phone scammers take advantage of this flexibility in paying utility bills to extort unsuspecting residents. The scammers generally pretend to be with their targets' local utility providers. They sometimes spoof their marks' Caller IDs to display the names of utility companies in a bid to increase their chances of success. The fraudsters often demand payment over the phone while claiming that targets' electric, gas, or water bills are past due and must be paid immediately. They may threaten residents with arrests or say they will shut off utility services if immediate payments are not received. Utility scammers usually offer to collect payments through prepaid debit cards or wire transfers.
Benton County residents can avoid utility scams by staying current on their utility payments as most reported cases of people who fell victim had no outstanding bill payments. If you get this type of unsolicited call, hang up and contact your utility company using the phone number on your previous bills or their website to determine your payment status and verify the caller's claim. No representative of a legitimate utility provider will call residents out of the blue and threaten them with service disconnection. If you have delinquent bills, your utility provider will notify you by mail, usually more than once. Reverse phone number lookup applications can uncover the real identities of these fraudsters and prevent residents from falling victim to utility scams. The Arkansas Attorney General cautions residents from sending money to persons demanding payment of utility bills at short notice over the phone.
What are IRS Scams?
In IRS scams, fraudsters pose as agents of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and contact Benton County residents to cheat them. IRS scammers are notorious for spoofing their targets' Caller IDs. They often spoof the official phone numbers of the IRS to make their calls seem more legitimate and get their marks to answer the calls. These scammers are usually aggressive and use scare tactics to coerce payment and get information from their targets. Although there are many variations of the IRS scams, in the most common one in Benton County, scammers demand immediate payments of delinquent taxes from targeted residents. They always sound convincing and authoritative over the phone and may resort to threatening marks with jail, arrests, deportation, or license suspension if they fail to pay immediately. Sometimes, the scammers will stay on the phone with their victims to dissuade them from reaching out to the IRS for verification and to ensure prompt payment. Wire transfers, gift cards, and prepaid cards are their most favored methods of receiving payments.
Benton County residents must know that the IRS will not contact them regarding tax payments without previously notifying them by mailed letters. Also, the agency does not threaten arrest, jail, or other extreme actions over the phone. If someone calls you and instruct you to pay taxes via unofficial methods, know that you are dealing with a scammer. End such calls and contact the IRS at 1 (800) 829-1040 to confirm your tax status and verify the caller's claims. Conducting a reverse number lookup on the caller's phone number will return identifying information on them and help you avoid this scam. Benton County residents can report such calls to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1 (800) 366-4484.
What are Credit Repair Scams?
In Benton County, people with poor credit histories are the primary targets of credit repair scams. This set of residents are usually desperate to attain good credit histories, making them easy prey for phone scammers who engage in phony credit repair schemes. It is often difficult for anyone with a poor credit report to access credits, hence, their desperation. These fraudsters identify themselves as representatives of credit repair companies to rip their targets off. Generally, they fool their marks by promising to erase their bad credits and restore their credit records at a fee, which must be paid upfront. These scammers typically request payments by gift cards or wire transfers. Reverse phone number lookup applications can uncover their identities and prevent county residents from undue extortion.
It is important to note that there are no quick or easy ways to repair poor credit histories. A person's credit record can only be restored by prompt and constant payment of their credit balances. Beware of anyone or entity claiming they can repair your credit history, especially if they request money in advance to fix it. Do not pay such callers under any circumstances or disclose any confidential information with them. Federal law prohibits organizations from making false promises about their services and requiring their clients to pay before the promised services have been completed.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated phone calls placed with auto-dialers to deliver recorded audio messages to mass phone numbers. Although robocalls have legitimate uses, many of them in Benton County are unwanted and targeted at extorting residents. Residents can ascertain if incoming calls are robocalls by conducting phone number searches, especially for unknown phone numbers. Robocalls are a type of spam call and are illegal if used for illegitimate purposes. Spam calls are irrelevant calls sent randomly to many phone users who have not expressed interest in getting such calls. To avoid falling prey to robocall scams, your best options are:
- Hang up your phone once you discover a call is a robocall. Do not follow prompts that instruct you to press certain numbers to either speak with a live person or opt out of receiving subsequent calls. Responding will only confirm that your number is active and will lead to more robocalls.
- Block robocall numbers by using call-blocking features available on your cell phone. You can also contact your phone company to block identified robocall numbers from calling you.
- Be wary of caller IDs, especially those displaying names of familiar entities. Scammers fool their targets by spoofing phone numbers displayed by caller IDs to appear as though the calls are legitimate.
- Report illegal robocalls to the FTC by calling 1 (888) 382-1222 or online. You can also file complaints on spoofed robocalls with the FCC online.
- Reduce the frequency of unsolicited calls by registering on the National Do Not Call Registry. If you still receive telephone solicitations after 31 days of joining the registry, the chances are that they are scam calls.
How Can You Spot and Report Benton County Phone Scams?
Phone scammers often employ several tricks to fool Benton County residents and cheat them out of their money. Phone number search applications are particularly effective in uncovering the identities of unknown callers. To combat phone scams in Benton County, residents must continually educate themselves on phone scams and develop skills in identifying them. Common signs that a telephone call is a scam call include:
- Getting unsolicited telemarketing calls after registering on the National Do Not Call Registry.
- The caller claims to represent a legitimate organization but wants payment by gift card or wire transfer. These are irregular means of payment favored by scammers.
- The caller repeatedly requests that you share your confidential information over the phone and threatens arrest if you fail to comply. Legitimate callers will not initiate requests for your personal or financial details on a phone call.
- The caller wants you to make payment at short notice without allowing you time to verify their claims.
- The caller claims to be with a government agency and asks for details about your Social Security Number for supposed verifications. No legitimate employee of a government agency in Benton County will solicit SSN over the phone.
Benton County residents are encouraged to report phone scam incidents to relevant government agencies. These agencies provide phone scams awareness and are making efforts to combat the menace of phone scams. They include:
Federal Trade Commission - The FTC manages the National Do Not Call Registry. Residents can add their phone numbers to the registry to reduce robocall intrusion. The FTC also provides consumer protection information and shares tips on call blocking to prevent them from phone scams. Residents can file complaints with the FTC online or call 1 (888) 382-1222 if they fall victim to illegal robocalls or other phone scams.
Arkansas Office of the Attorney General - The OAG encourages residents to sign up for scam alerts to keep abreast of the latest phone scams. Benton County residents who are phone scam victims can file complaints online with the Consumer Protection Division of the OAG.
Benton County Sheriff's Office - County residents can report phone scam cases to BSCO by email or calling (479) 271-1008. Anyone who wishes to file complaints in person can visit the BCSO at 1300 SW 14th Street, Bentonville, AR 72712.