What are Missoula County Area Codes?
The three-digit codes that begin American phone numbers are called area codes and were assigned by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). Area codes specify each Numbering Plan Area (NPA) within NANP territories in North America and signify the origins and destinations of phone calls. The Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) is the government agency that regulates and implements area codes within Montana, including Missoula County. Currently, only one area code serves Missoula County.
Area Code 406
Area code 406 serves the whole of Montana, including Missoula County, and was created in 1947 as one of the 86 original NPAs. Cities and communities in Missoula County within the 406 NPA include Missoula, Bonner, Clinton, Condon, Frenchtown, Lolo, and Seeley Lake.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Missoula County?
All the major phone carriers in Montana offer excellent cell phone coverage, although with varying degrees of penetration. Several Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in the county also leverage the network infrastructures of the primary carriers to provide network services. In Missoula City, Verizon and AT&T offer coverage of 92% and 90%, respectively. T-Mobile spreads to about 57% of the city, while Sprint offers no network coverage in Missoula County and Montana. MVNOs serve as suitable alternatives for county residents as they provide excellent phone services at affordable rates.
Cell phone usage in Montana has gained increased popularity among residents in the past decade. A 2018 CDC survey reviewed phone usage among Montana residents and showed that 51.9% of the state's adult population used only wireless phones for telecommunication. By contrast, 6.3% of this demographic were strict landline users. Landline substitution for wireless telephony services in Montana was more pronounced among the children under 18 as 62.0% of them exclusively relied on cell phones. Only 2.4% of this population lived in landline-only homes.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a technology that relays telephony services over IP networks, is also available to Missoula County residents. VoIP transmits voice calls, text messages, and video conferencing using the internet. It is efficient and costs lower than the traditional phone lines, hence its popularity among residents for personal and business use.
What are Missoula County Phone Scams?
Scams conducted using telephony services in Missoula County are referred to as Missoula County phone scams. Fraudsters often use real-time phone calls, robocalls, and text messages when extorting their targets. Usually, they manipulate targets’ Caller ID information through phone spoofing technology to display the phone numbers of reputable agencies. However, county residents can unravel phone scams through good reverse phone lookup services. Missoula County residents should exercise caution when answering phone calls from unknown phone numbers even if they seem legitimate to avoid falling prey to scams.
Public agencies in Missoula County that work tirelessly to protect residents from phone scams include:
- Missoula County Sheriff's Office
- Montana Attorney General's Office
- Montana Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Some frequently encountered phone scams in Missoula County are:
What are Missoula County Credit Repair Scams?
Scammers target residents with poor credit histories to offer overnight solutions to their bad credit scores for a fee. The Federal Trade Commission warns residents of unknown callers posing as credit repair company representatives guaranteeing new credit identities. Typically, such callers are scammers trying to sell you other people's identities or social security numbers to apply for credit or loans. Residents who take these fraudsters on their offers can end up with severe legal repercussions like fines or jail time for identity fraud. Con artists often insist on collecting up-front payment for their services. They dissuade their targets from contacting credit report companies directly in a bid to cover their tracks. They also dispute targets' credit report data even when they are accurate and evade questions about the legal implications of their services. Fraudsters often favor unofficial payment methods like wire transfers, gift cards, or prepaid debit cards to erase their transaction trails and remain discrete. Usually, they put up fake caller IDs, but county residents can retrieve information on such callers using reverse number lookup tools.
Legitimate credit repair companies are legally mandated to fully explain the services they will provide, their charges, and their clients' legal rights in written contracts. Also, they do not insist on collecting payments through unofficial means. Missoula County residents should desist from disclosing personal information to unknown callers to avoid falling victim to money or identity fraud. Residents who are victims of credit repair scams can file complaints about the incidents with the Attorney General's Office or the FTC.
What are Missoula County Tech Support Scams?
In these scams, fraudsters take advantage of their targets' limited knowledge about computer systems and their concerns about malware. They call Missoula County residents to offer unsolicited technical support services for their PCs. However, they aim to steal money by feigning repair services or glean targets' confidential data for identity theft. Scammers usually pose as computer technicians with familiar tech companies and inform their marks about virus threats on their PCs. They then convince their unsuspecting targets to download software that will supposedly fix the problem. Unknown to the victims, there are no problems with their devices. Installing such software will grant scammers remote access to their computers, allowing them to steal sensitive information or money. Typically, genuine tech companies do not offer unsolicited repair services, solicit funds, or demand personal information over the phone. Sadly, many residents take scammers' baits because their Caller IDs appear legitimate and they sound official. However, you can avoid giving scammers control of your PCs by immediately hanging up on callers with such claims and demands. You can use suspicious phone number lookup tools to answer the puzzle "who called me?". Sometimes, scammers launch their attacks by sending robocalls to selected phone numbers, leaving instructions for their marks to contact their live representatives for further engagement.
The Attorney General's Office warns residents to avoid giving in to the demands of unknown callers. Instead, you should contact the tech company referenced in the call directly to verify the information. Residents can use the consumer resources provided by the Attorney General's Office to prevent or recoup their loss from identity theft.
What are Missoula County Charity Scams?
These are scams in which fraudsters use the pretense of charity fundraising to defraud unsuspecting Missoula County residents of money or confidential information. Con artists often launch charity scams during peak humanitarian emergencies like in the aftermath of natural disasters such as hurricanes. They usually use fake charity names or pose as representatives of reputable ones when soliciting funds and manipulate their phone numbers to appear convincing. Missoula County residents should be wary of such solicitations and hang up if callers ask for sensitive information. The fraudsters usually insist on collecting donations through unconventional means like wire transfers, cash, bitcoins, or gift cards to keep their transactions discrete. Sometimes, they apply pressure tactics when soliciting and insist on collecting the money immediately. To make their money count, residents should avoid making donations in haste. Instead, they should thoroughly research the charity organization and call their official phone numbers to verify these callers.
Although legitimate charities sometimes ask for donations from their members over the phone, they will not demand personal information or coerce residents into paying through unofficial mediums. Checks payable to the organization itself, not to an individual, is a safer way to donate. Residents can report fake charities that extort them through natural disasters to the National Centre for Disaster Fraud. You can also leverage free reverse phone lookup tools to know who called and report identified charity scams to the FTC.
What are Missoula County Government Imposter Scams?
Scammers pretend to be officials of familiar government agencies like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the Social Security Administration (SSA) to extort unsuspecting Missoula County residents. They use various modifications of these scams and employ aggression and threats when trying to elicit responses from their targets. They call their marks out of the blue to alert them about alleged criminal activities linked to their names. Typically, they threaten license revocation, arrests, or lawsuits if targets do not pay certain fines immediately. If the marks try to refute their accusations, they ask them to provide personal information to verify their records and clear their names. Scammers only obtain such information for identity and financial theft. Government imposters have the habit of using phone spoofing technology to manipulate their phone numbers when preying on their victims. However, Missoula County residents can use free reverse number lookup services to spot such calls and avoid these scams.
To prevent falling victim to scams, Missoula County residents should never use gift cards, money wires, or bitcoins to pay persons who claim to be with the government. Also, they should withhold all personal and financial information from such callers. You can confirm if such callers are genuine by hanging up and calling the agencies they referenced directly to authenticate their claims.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are pre-recorded voice messages initiated by auto-diallers and delivered to mass phone numbers. Robocalls enable users to disseminate bulk information with minimal human input. They are a variation of spam calls and are often invasive. Spam calls are irrelevant voice calls, usually pre-recorded, that disperse messages to phone numbers without users' prior consent. Number lookup applications are valuable tools for identifying robocalls. Phone scammers in Missoula County often use robocalls when trying to mark their targets by taking note of numbers whose users responded to their prompts. Residents can utilize reverse phone lookup services to detect spoofed robocalls and avoid scams. You can minimize the frequency of incoming robocalls by taking the following actions:
- End any phone call you recognize as a robocall. Ignore any prompt it gives to avoid erroneously signing up for more robocall disturbances.
- Enlist your phone number in the National Do Not Call Registry managed by the FTC. Signing up to this list means that any persistent robocall you get is a potential scam.
- Report illegal robocalls or spam calls to the FTC either online or via phone call at 1 (888) 382-1222.
- Bar future calls from identified robocall and spam numbers using the built-in call blocking features on your smartphones or installing third-party call-blocking applications.
How Can You Spot and Report Missoula County Phone Scams?
Missoula County residents must be well informed about the various schemes phone scammers use to enable them to spot phone scams. Several public agencies in the county are responsible for protecting county residents and educating them about prevalent phone scams. Residents should be vigilant when answering calls from unknown phone numbers, even if they appear genuine. Scammers are skilled at manipulating targets’ Caller IDs to mimic legitimate agencies, hence the need for reverse phone lookup applications to spot spoofed calls. Below are some signs that are indicative of possible phone scams in Missoula County:
- The caller claims to be a government official but solicits money or personal information and threatens to arrest you if their demands are unmet. Legitimate government officials do not threaten residents or insist on collecting money or confidential data over the phone.
- The caller offers you risk-free investment opportunities with significant financial prospects. Such unsolicited propositions from unknown persons are likely scams.
- The caller cannot provide legal documents backing their proposals but pressures you to send money immediately to avoid missing out on rare opportunities.
- The caller insists on collecting payments via wire transfers or gift cards. Typically, legitimate organizations accept payments through various means like checks or credit cards and do not force residents to make instant payments.
The public agencies that receive phone scam reports from Missoula County residents include:
- Missoula County Sheriff's Office: The MCSO receives and investigates reports from residents about phone scams within the county. Missoula County residents can file phone scam reports with the Sheriff's Office by calling (406) 258-4802 or (406) 258-4804. You can also visit the MCSO in-person at 200W. Broadway, Missoula, MT 59802, to report phone scam incidents.
- Montana Attorney General's Office: The Office of Consumer Protection of the OAG educates and protects consumers in Montana from illegal business practices and phone scams. Missoula County residents who are victimized by phone scammers can report to the OAG by calling (800) 481-6896 or (406) 444-4500 or completing the Scam Complaint Form online. Defrauded residents can also file online consumer complaints with the AG's Office or complete a Consumer Complaint Form and mail it to:
Department of Justice
Office of Consumer Protection
P.O. Box 200151
Helena, MT 59620-0151.
- Montana Better Business Bureau (BBB): Missoula County residents who were duped by businesses can forward complaints to the Montana BBB by calling (352) 038-4292.
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Missoula County residents can file online complaints about phone scams with the FTC or report to the agency by calling 1 (888) 382-1222. The FTC also encourages county residents to enroll their phone numbers in the DNC Registry to reduce robocall disturbances.
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC): Missoula County residents can access tips on stopping unsolicited robocalls on the FCC's website. To report phone spoofing and other phone scams to the FCC, you can log an online complaint or call 1 (888) 225-5322.