What are Porter County Area Codes?
Area codes are the three-digit number prefixes attached to every phone number in North America. They were introduced in 1940 by the North American Numbering Plan Administration to unify all telephone numbering plans in North America. The North American Numbering Plan divides North America into numbering plan areas indicated by area codes. The Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission ensures the safe and reliable service of all telecom operators in the state.
Area Code 219
Area code 219 is the only area code that is being used in Porter County. The area code 219 area code has been in service since the 1st of January 1947. It serves the North-Western part of Indiana, including cities like Valparaiso, Hebron, and Beverly Shores.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Porter County?
Three of the four major wireless service providers in North America operate in Porter County. These major wireless service providers and several smaller Mobile Virtual Network Operators ensure adequate wireless coverage in Porter County.
Verizon is the wireless provider with the best coverage, with 96% coverage. This is closely followed by Sprint, which covers 86% of the county, and finally, AT&T, which covers 70% of the county. Other MVNOs in Porter County do not provide up to 50% coverage of the county. However, the MVNOs leverage the infrastructure of these major service providers to extend the wireless reach within the county. These major service providers also provide good 4G data coverage and reliability in all parts of Porter County. Verizon, however, provides the most reliable 4G wireless service in the County with 95.8% availability. This is closely followed by Sprint with 94% availability and AT&T with 92% availability.
The 2018 survey, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, has illustrated the greater preference for wireless telephone services amongst citizens of the state. The survey examined two major demographics: adults and minors (below the age of 18). Among the adults, it was discovered that 63.3% of adults in the state relied only on wireless phone services for their telephony needs. This is a sharp contrast to the 4% of adults that relied only on landlines for their telephony needs. Similarly, among the minors in the state, 75.4% used only wireless phones, while 2.4% of the minors used only traditional landlines.
The mobility that wireless phones provide is one of the major factors responsible for its preference among all residents in the state. However, due to wireless signal drops, cost, and reliability issues that plague wireless phone services, Porter County residents now use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to address many of their telephony needs. VoIP leverages digital signals to transmit voice messages, thereby enhancing the reliability of such communications.
What are Porter County Phone Scams?
Porter County phone scams are ploys that con artists perpetrate on residents over the phone or other telecommunications media. These scams aim to obtain personal information, money, social security numbers or outrightly steal the identities of Porter County residents. The con artists often leverage technologies such as robocalls to help them reach many people in a short time and caller ID spoofing to mask their phone numbers to commit these scams. During the conversations with their victims, the con artists impersonate county officials or legitimate business entities to establish trust with the recipients. Due to the rise in scams in Porter County, various county agencies and state agencies in Porter County and the State of Indiana have advised Porter County residents always to be vigilant not to fall victim to these scams. They have also recommended that county residents conduct phone number searches when they receive calls from unknown numbers.
What are Porter County “You Won” Phone Scams?
In the “you won” phone scam, a fraudster calls a Porter County resident, informing the resident that they have won a prize or a lottery. However, for the resident to claim the prize, they must pay an upfront fee for tax. The fraudster then tells the resident to make the payment by purchasing either a Green Dot card, iTunes card, or any other gift card and read the number over the phone. After which the fraudster will inform the resident that they will receive the prize after a few days. The fraudster will keep calling the resident and demanding more money to cover the said fee and tax, explaining that the previous amount already spent was not sufficient. A phone number lookup service can help identify the caller.
What are Porter County Inheritance Phone Scams?
In this scam, the fraudster calls a Porter County resident, claiming to be an attorney or banker. During the call, the fraudster informs the resident that their distant relative has died and left them a large inheritance. In some cases, the fraudster goes the extra mile to create a fake bank statement, birth certificate, and other supporting documents to convince the resident. After this, the fraudster informs the resident that the family member who left the inheritance died outside the country; hence a foreign government is involved. The fraudster then proceeds to demand money from the resident to process the release of the said inheritance, claiming several taxes and fees that need to be paid to the foreign government. Note that while many of these calls may appear to be from outside the country, a phone number lookup by address service can reveal the location of the caller.
What are Porter County Cell Phone Cloning Scams?
In a cell phone cloning scam, a fraudster steals the unique factory-set Electronic Serial Number (ESN) of a Porter County resident. The fraudster then monitors the resident’s cell phone transmission, mobile operator, and password. They reprogram their phone number and electronic serial number to match that of the resident. This makes it difficult for cellular providers to tell the difference between the real and the cloned phones. The fraudster then proceeds to make phone calls that will eventually be billed to Porter County resident’s account. Residents are advised to regularly review their phone bills and ensure they are only billed for calls they made. Also, if they observe any unauthorized calls or charges, they should contact their service providers immediately.
What are Porter County Social Security Scams?
Fraudsters use Caller ID spoofing to call Porter County residents, making their phone numbers appear like legitimate social security phone numbers. The fraudsters claim to be officials of the Social Security Administration, investigating frauds committed with residents' social security numbers. They claim that the residents' social security numbers were used to commit some of these frauds and threaten them with arrests and prosecutions. When the fraudsters have the residents frightened, they then offer them a way out of the situation. They then demand payment in cash, MoneyGram, or gift cards to help resolve the situation. Porter County residents should note that the SSA will never request payments over the phone. Services like reverse phone lookup can help mitigate against caller ID spoofing.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated calls sent to a large number of people to deliver pre-recorded messages. Robocalls use pre-programmed software that works in a loop, dialing numbers from call lists. These types of calls are often used by telemarketers, polling agencies, tax-exempt nonprofits, and informational messages from businesses to reach a large audience in a short period. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act restricts robocalls to protect the interest of telephone subscribers. Some robocalls are legal, such as calls from non-profit organizations, polling agencies, and political campaigns. However, note that most robocalls are often from telemarketers and fraudsters whose mission is to sell or defraud residents of Porter County.
Technological advancement has made it easier for fraudsters to use robocalls to defraud residents. These fraudsters often pose as telemarketers selling one product or the other in an attempt to defraud Porter County residents. However, the Indiana Telephone Solicitation Act helps protect county residents from telemarketing fraud. The law mandates that before residents of Porter County can be charged for any phone purchase, the company must obtain a signed written contract from the phone subscriber. The law also provides phone subscribers a seven-day window to cancel all purchases made over the phone. These laws are useful in protecting county residents. Residents should take steps to protect themselves from these robocalls proactively. Residents are advised to take the following steps in dealing with annoying robocalls:
- Register phone numbers online with Indiana Do Not Call List or by calling (888) 834-9969. Registering on this list ensures that residents get fewer robocalls; hence, reducing their chances of getting defrauded. Residents may also register their phone numbers with the National Do Not Call List.
- Ignore calls from unknown numbers. However, if residents pick such calls and discover they are robocalls, they should hang up immediately.
- Leverage a good reverse phone lookup service to identify who is calling.
- Employ the use of call blocking tools.
However, if the calls persist, residents are advised to file formal complaints to the Office of Consumer Protection in the Indiana Attorney General's Office or the Federal Communications Commission.
How Can You Spot and Report Porter County Phone Scams?
The proliferation of telephone scams and other scams committed by fraudsters has given rise to the need to keep residents of Porter County informed and continuously updated on the new methods used by these fraudsters. This growth is fueled by rapid advancements in telecommunications, making the tools to commit these scams readily available to the fraudsters. While residents of Porter County can also leverage technology to combat these scams, it is generally acknowledged that the best way to avoid falling victim to phone scams is to be able to identify scam calls early. The Indiana Attorney General Office has provided insight and recommendations on how to spot these phone scams. Some of the recommendations include.
- The caller pressurizes the resident into deciding on the spot. A reputable business never pressures a resident to make any decision without providing them with enough detail of their offering.
- The caller requests payment over the phone by gift cards or money transfers. Residents should note that most legitimate businesses do not request payments over the phone.
- The caller poses as a legitimate charity or business. However, they get aggressive or evasive when the recipient attempts to verify specific details about their organization.
- The caller offers a once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity that guarantees amazing returns on investment with no risks involved.
- The caller offers the resident a huge amount of money for doing nothing. Residents should note that it is very unlikely for individuals to give out money to random strangers that they do not know.
However, for residents who cannot spot any of these warning signs and eventually fall victim to phone scams, they are advised to report the situation to relevant authorities in the state. The State of Indiana has several government agencies where scams can be reported, including:
Porter County Sheriff’s Office - The County’s Sheriff's Office handles cases of identity theft and phone scams. The Porter County Sheriff’s Office receives complaints in person at:
Porter County Sheriff’s Office
2755 State Road 49
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Phone: (219) 477-3000
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office- The Consumer Protection Division of the State’s Attorney General’s Office investigates all issues on identity theft and phone scams. Complaints and reports can be filed online or in person at:
Office of the Indiana Attorney General
Indiana Government Center South
302 West Washington Street 5th Floor
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: (317) 232-6201 (Attorney General's Office)
(317) 232-6330 (Consumer protection Unit)
(317) 382-5516 (Identity Theft Unit)
Note that the Consumer Protection Unit of the Indiana Attorney General’s office also has a fraud alert program, through which it notifies and educates the citizens of the state on fraud identification and prevention.
Indiana State Police - All cases of fraud can be reported to the Indiana State Police at:
Indiana Government Center North
100 North senate Avenue
Suite N340 (West Elevators)
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: (317) 323-8248 (24-hour service)
Emails can be sent to ISP@isp.IN.gov.