Area codes refer to the three-digit sets of numbers that precede North American telephone numbers. An area code basically streamlines calls to a particular Numbering Plan Area (NPA) that identifies the location where a phone call originates or its destination. Residents can use free reverse phone lookup services to identify area codes and their NPAs. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), as directed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), administers and maintains Dakota County area codes.
There are currently two area codes that serve Dakota County, although these area codes also serve some cities in surrounding counties.
Area Code 651
Area code 651 was created as a split from area code 612 on 12 July 1998. Area code 651 is the telephone numbering plan code for Saint Paul County and the eastern suburbs of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis–Saint Paul). It covers 50 cities, some of which include the Cities of Eagan St. Paul, and Woodbury.
Area Code 952
Area code 952 was created as a split from area code 651. It officially became active on 27 February 2000. It majorly serves the southwestern suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul, including 48 cities. Some of these cities include the Cities of Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, and Minnetonka
What Are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Dakota County?
AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint are the major phone carriers in the U.S. and they also provide active coverage in Minnesota, although some provide better coverage than others. In addition to these phone carriers, the state uses some small Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) to supplement the services provided by the cell phone carriers.
Of the four major phone carriers in Dakota County, Verizon has the widest coverage, covering roughly 94% of the county and providing excellent service compared to the other cell phone carriers. T-Mobile is next to Verizon in terms of coverage with 86% and then Sprint, with 88.3% coverage. AT&T has the least coverage, ranking at 62%. Note that despite the good coverage of some of these cell phone carriers, the network in densely populated areas may be poor. The network may also be adversely affected by the weather.
A 2018 National Center of Health Statistics survey estimated that 56.2% of the Minnesota adult population solely used wireless telephony services, while only 4.4% of Minnesota adults exclusively used landlines as their sole telephony services. For minors under the age of 18, there is a larger difference in the preferred choice of telephony services. While 63.2% of the minors in the state preferred wireless-only services, only 1.9% used landline telephony services. This statistical report shows that the use of cell phones has significantly grown, replacing landlines as the preferred telephony service in Dakota County.
Voice over Internet Protocol, popularly known as VoIP, involves the transmission of telephone calls over the internet. With the emergence of VoIP in Dakota County, it has become a strong competitor to traditional landlines. This is because of its flexibility and affordability for all types of calls, including long-distance calls, when compared to landline and wireless phone services. landlines and wireless telephones. Hence, businesses and residential subscribers are rapidly adopting VoIP services for calls, as proven by the FCC’s report.
What Are Dakota County Phone Scams?
Dakota County phone scams involve the perpetration of fraudulent activities using phone services. Phone scammers carry out these scams by contacting unsuspecting county residents and defrauding them. Reverse phone number lookup services help identify and track such scammers. Some websites also offer reverse phone lookup free.
Below are some scams perpetrated in Dakota County:
What are Investment Scams?
In this scam, fraudsters call their targets and offer them seemingly lucrative opportunities for investments that seem too good to be true. They may even guarantee low risk and high returns, but in reality, the goal is to defraud the target with false investment opportunities that do not exist. In some cases, these fraudsters may impersonate legitimate investment firms and business organizations that the target is familiar with and may have even done business with in the past.
Before rushing to accept any offer, make sure to do proper research on the investment opportunity. If it is legit, ensure you are talking to the actual organization in charge and not the person that first called. An exception to this is if the company can identify the caller as a member of staff who was authorized to place the call. You can also conduct a reverse phone look up to get the true identity of the caller.
What are COVID-19 Scams?
Fraudsters are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to carry out their malicious intentions and scam unsuspecting citizens. These scammers call, claiming to be county officials, and then try to get the recipient’s personal information, such as dates of birth, social security numbers, credit card details, and other personal financial information. They mostly pretend to call for COVID-19 contact tracing, testing, vaccines, and treatments. In some cases, they may also claim to require donations to fake charities or some sort of health insurance. Thereby preying on COVID-19-related fears. While legitimate health workers actually contact residents, fraudsters have taken advantage of this to run their scams.
Dakota County warns residents to avoid responding to calls, texts, and emails from unknown sources, even if they claim to be legitimate. This is because scammers often change phone numbers, making them appear to be of familiar and legitimate sources, such as a family member, a company, or a government agency. Also, do not share any personal or financial information over the phone or through email or text messages. Dakota County recommends only the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health for facts and updates about COVID-19. Residents are also encouraged to call 911 promptly to report any COVID-19 scam.
What are Scam Warrant Calls?
Here, the caller identifies himself as a sergeant or any other law enforcement officer representing the County Sheriff's Office. The scammer claims that they have a warrant for the arrest of the call recipient, which can only be resolved if the call recipient pays a certain amount of money through gift cards.
Dakota County Sheriff warns of this scam and emphasizes that the office will never call to request payment through gift cards to resolve a warrant. Anyone who receives this type of call is encouraged to personally conduct a Dakota County warrant search on the county website to see if they truly have a warrant, and if they do, they are to directly contact the law enforcement that issued it.
What are Impersonation Scams?
Impersonation scams are quite prevalent in Dakota County. They involve the callers taking on the identities of persons that the call recipients are familiar with in order to get the recipients to send them money for false “urgent needs.” These scammers also impersonate reputable business organizations or government agencies such as the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office. During the calls, the scammers request the recipients’ sensitive personal or financial information. For instance, a scammer may call, pretending to be from the recipient’s financial institution, and may then request for the recipient’s financial information claiming that it is for an update of their financial details.
If in doubt about whether a caller is impersonating an entity or not, you may use a good reverse phone lookup service to answer the question “who is this number registered?” and “who called me?” Note that it is also possible that a scammer spoofs a Caller ID information to display the phone number of the person they wish to impersonate. In such a case, hang up and call the actual number of the person or government official by yourself to be sure.
What are Charity Scams?
This involves scammers impersonating legitimate charities and calling county residents to solicit donations on behalf of these charity organizations. In other cases, the scammers may solicit funds in the names of charitable organizations that do not exist in order to embezzle the donated funds. Although some charitable organizations actually call to solicit donations, residents are advised to take active steps to verify these organizations and possibly contact them directly before donating. A phone number search may also be conducted to identify such scam calls.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls refer to automated phone calls made to deliver pre-recorded messages to targeted persons. Robocalls are mostly placed by telemarketers, political campaigns, and non-profit organizations. While not all robocalls have criminal intentions, some of these calls have the sole purpose of defrauding the call recipients and getting sensitive confidential information from them. Reverse phone lookup services can be used to identify robocallers.
Spam calls are unsolicited calls that are sent to a vast number of persons for purposes that do not directly benefit the recipients. Most mobile phones, especially smartphones, have features that identify and notify subscribers about suspicious incoming spam calls. In these cases, the calls may be ignored or the individuals may decide to block the phone numbers.
Ways to avoid falling victim to robocalls scams:
- Hang up immediately as soon as you discover you answered a robocall. Also ensure you do not follow any of the prompts given, because this may be a trap to identify active numbers and target them.
- Download third-party call blocking tools for blocking phone numbers and use them to block recurrent robocalls
- Report illegal robocalls to the FTC online or call 1-888-382-1222.
- Register your telephone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. Doing this reduces robocalls and other sales calls from telemarketers and businesses. This way, it becomes easier to identify illegal robocalls and possible phone scams.
The FTC also provides consumer information on how to block unwanted calls on any platform on its website.
How to Spot and Report Dakota County Phone Scams?
Scammers always come up with new techniques to defraud unsuspecting individuals. For this reason, county residents must be well informed of the schemes of these scammers and also maintain vigilance so as not to fall victim to any scam. In addition, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office provides the following tips on how to spot and avoid scams:
- Phone calls requesting sensitive personal information or payment - Hang up immediately this occurs. If the caller claims to be a government official, directly contact the government official to make the necessary inquiries. To get the number of a government official, check the website of the government agency the caller claims to represent.
- Phone calls requesting that you make upfront payments before claiming a prize - No legitimate prizes will require that you make upfront payments. Be wary of such offers and hang up immediately.
- The caller requests money via a wire transfer or “reload pack” - Scammers often request payments via wire transfers, reloadable debit cards, or gift cards because these payment methods are difficult to trace and recover funds if a person falls victim. Beware of such and hang up immediately, if you receive any such call.
- The caller asks you to keep the call or transaction a secret - Never do this. Immediately contact trusted family members or friends to investigate the situation and get their opinion.
- Phone calls informing you about investment or business offers that sound too good to be true - In most cases, the scammer says that the offer is only available for a short time in a bid to hasten the victim’s decision and discourage them from doing proper research first. Avoid such offers and if you are tempted to consider, ensure you take your time to investigate properly on the offer and the caller first.
Reverse phone lookup services and other services that conduct phone number lookups by address, name, and phone number help combat phone scams. Also, government institutions in Dakota County provide updated information to protect residents against scams and help fight them:
Dakota County Attorney Office - Provides up-to-date information on scams and crime prevention initiatives.
Dakota County Sheriff’s Office - Investigates scams when they are reported and also arrests offenders.
Federal Trade Commission - Protects consumers from fraudulent practices by providing tips on how to identify common phone scams and avoid robocalls. The FTC also maintains the National Do Not Call Registry, which aims at reducing unsolicited calls and calls from unfamiliar numbers that may sometimes be from scammers. Residents can also report any phone scams or suspicious calls to the FTC via the online consumer complaint assistant.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - As the administrator of the telecommunications industry in the U.S., the FCC provides instructions on how to identify spoofing and activate call blocking to combat phone scams. The FCC also partners with telephone carriers to help enhance caller authentication technology, thereby helping to combat illegal caller ID spoofing. Report any form of illegal caller ID spoofing and other phone scams to the FCC by completing an online complaint form.
Minnesota Attorney General’s Office - Provides updated information on trending phone scams and how to spot them. Report scams to the Attorney General’s Office by completing the online fraud report form or call (651) 296-3353 and (800) 657-3787.