What are Cook County Area Codes?
Area codes are the sets of three digits at the start of all North American telephone numbers. An area code identifies a location as a numbering plan area within a state and indicates where a phone call originates. Area codes were introduced as part of the North American Numbering Plan. The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) is charged with the implementation and maintenance of Cook County area codes.
There are currently nine area codes that cover Cook County. These area codes serve all of Cook County and parts of other surrounding counties.
Area Code 312
Area code 312 covers all of downtown Chicago – The Chicago Loop and its environs. It was introduced in 1947 and initially served the entire Chicago metropolitan area. It was reduced to cover only the city in 1989, and just the downtown area in 1996. Area code 312 is bounded to the north by North Avenue, to the east by Lake Michigan, to the south by 35th Street, and the west by Western Avenue.
Area Code 773
Area code 773 is the Illinois telephone area code that serves the City of Chicago excluding the downtown area. The area code was implemented in 1996. It covers the city, excluding the downtown area and adjacent neighborhoods.
Area Code 872
Area code 872 is the NANP overlay code for the 312 and 773 numbering plan areas in Chicago. It was introduced in 2009. Overlay area codes are added in locations where an increase in the number of available telephone numbers is required.
Area Code 708
Area code 708 is the NANP area code for Illinois that covers most of Chicago's southern suburbs. These include most of western and south Cook County and parts of Will County in Illinois. Cook County communities covered by this area code include Alsip, Blue Island, Calumet City, Chicago Heights, Dolton, Elmwood Park, Harvey, Markham, and Oak Forest.
Area Code 630
Area code 630 is the NANP telephone area code for portions of Chicago's near and far western suburbs. It also covers the majority of DuPage County. Communities in Cook County covered by this area code include Bartlett, Burr Ridge, Hanover Park, Hinsdale, Oak Brook, Schaumburg, and Streamwood.
Area Code 331
Area code 331 is the NANP overlay code for areas covered by area code 630. It overlaid the 630 numbering plan area and was introduced in 2007.
Area Code 815
Area code 815 is a NANP telephone area code that covers most of northern Illinois. In Cook County, it serves a few outer western suburbs of Chicago. Cook County locations using this area code include Berkeley, Brookfield, Hillside, La Grange Park, Lyons, and Westchester.
Area Code 847
Area code 847 is a NANP Illinois telephone area code for northeastern Illinois and many northern suburbs of Chicago. The area code serves the northern part of Cook County and parts of the surrounding counties. Cook County communities covered by this area code include Arlington Heights, Barrington, Deerfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Hoffman Estates, Niles, Palatine, Schaumburg, Skokie, and Winnetka.
Area Code 224
Area code 224 is the telephone overlay code for the areas in the NANP, covered by area code 847. Area code 224 overlaid the 847 numbering plan area in 2002.
What Are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Cook County?
A 2018 National Center of Health Statistics survey estimated that 59.8% of Illinois adults exclusively used wireless telephone services. By contrast, only 3% of Illinois adults exclusively used landlines as their preferred telephony services. Among children (under 18s), the difference is even more comprehensive, with 69.8% preferring wireless-only services while only 0.5% use landlines. These figures infer that cell phones have supplanted landlines as the preferred telephony service in Cook County.
The primary phone carriers - AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, provide impressive coverage in Illinois, along with a multitude of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). The four major networks offer excellent service within the Cook County area, with each carrier providing over 96% coverage. AT&T offers the best service with about 99.9% coverage, while Sprint follows closely with about 99.8% coverage. Verizon and T-Mobile both offer 96.4% coverage. However, phone service quality does tend to drop in rural areas, on the interstate, and in certain areas with a high population density.
The State of Illinois introduced a legislation in 2017 that ends the use of “Plain Old Telephone Services” (POTS) in the state. While phone carriers still support this service presently, the bill has resulted in other forms of telephony services experiencing upsurges in adoption.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is one such service. In Cook County, several companies presently offer VoIP telephony services for both business and personal uses. This is mainly because of its large population and the high number of businesses in the county. This proliferation of companies offering VoIP services has resulted in a variety of products and highly competitive prices. Subsequently, the Cook County Government has undertaken a multi-year project to upgrade its telecommunications infrastructure. This upgrade will involve doing away with most of its traditional landlines and replacing them with VoIP-enabled telephones.
What Are Cook County Phone Scams?
These are scams committed by individuals who call and target residents of Cook County. Reverse phone number lookup services are adept at identifying such scammers. Several institutions provide information and assistance to residents of Cook County to help combat the menace of phone scammers. These include the:
- Cook County State’s Attorney Consumer Fraud Unit.
- Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
- City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection.
- Better Business Bureau.
- Federal Trade Commission.
Residents who have been victims of scams can contact any of these agencies to file complaints. Common scams committed in Cook County include:
What are Impersonation Scams?
In this scam, the caller identifies themselves as an employee of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. During the call, they request for sensitive personal or financial information or solicit money for various reasons. The Sheriff’s Office advises residents to exercise caution if they receive such calls. The Sheriff’s Office does not call to solicit money or personal information, and recipients should always reject such requests. A free reverse phone lookup service can answer the question “who is this number registered?” and identify if it is the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. However, scammers can spoof Caller ID information to display the Sheriff’s Office phone numbers. Therefore, it is advisable to call the Sheriff’s Office directly using its official phone number and make inquiries yourself.
What are Investment Scams?
Scammers call their targets and offer them “opportunities of a lifetime” that promise high returns with little or no risks. Most times, these scammers impersonate reputable investment firms and business organizations. If the target commits to such offers, the investment ends up being non-existent, worthless, or worth much less than promised. Most “get rich quick” schemes are scams, so recipients of such offers should exercise caution. Phone number search services can verify if these types of calls are from legitimate businesses.
What are Charity Scams?
Scammers impersonate representatives or affiliates of legitimate charities and call targets to solicit donations on their behalf. While charitable organizations and their members regularly call and solicit donations, residents should be aware that scammers have co-opted this tactic to scam targets. A reverse phone search can verify if the person who called is actually from a legitimate charity.
What are Recovery Scams?
Scammers pretend to be law enforcement officials or recovery agents and attempt to coerce payments out of their targets, for debts owed. In a variation, scammers target persons who have been victims of other scams and offer to help recover their losses. Debt recovery agents are prohibited by law from threatening people to recover outstanding debts. Reverse phone number lookup services can verify if these calls are from law enforcement or legitimate debt recovery agencies.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are automated phone calls made to deliver pre-recorded messages, usually from telemarketers, political campaigns, and non-profit organizations. Due to the obscurity it provides, robocalls have become a tool of choice for scammers. Scammers use robocalls to target victims as these calls allow them to claim to be from legitimate organizations. Robocall scams aim to retrieve confidential information that can facilitate financial or identity theft. Reverse phone lookup services can confirm if an incoming call is a robocall.
The best options, if you receive a robocall are to:
- End the call. Do not follow any of the prompts given, as doing this just leads to more automated messages.
- Use online services that offer phone number searches free of charge to identify robocalls and once you have confirmed them, block these phone numbers.
- Report illegal robocalls to the FTC online or call 1-888-382-1222.
- Include your number in the National Do Not Call Registry. Inclusion in this registry exempts you from receiving robocalls and other sales calls from telemarketers and businesses. While this will not stop all unwanted calls, it makes it easier to identify illegal robocalls as possible phone scams.
Consumer information on how to block unwanted calls on any platform is available on the FTC website.
How to Spot and Report Cook 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 productive in identifying potential phone scams. Indications that a phone call is a scam include:
- Aggressive tactics are employed to coerce targets into revealing sensitive personal information. These tactics include threats of audits, fines, suspension or revocation of licenses, and even arrest.
- Unsolicited requests from strangers for confidential information are most likely scams. Legitimate organizations would not make requests for sensitive information unless the customer initiated the process.
- Scammers always provide specific instructions on how payments should be made, such as by gift cards, bitcoin, and wire transfers to particular accounts. With these payment methods, the funds, once transferred, will be untraceable and impossible to retrieve.
- Deals, offers, and opportunities described as “once in a lifetime” are most likely scams. Such terms distract victims from looking closely at the propositions and seeing them for what they are.
Services that conduct reverse phone number lookups by address, name, and phone number are helpful against phone scams. Public institutions in Cook County are committed to fighting the scourge of phone scammers and provide information and assistance to residents. These are:
Cook County State’s Attorney Consumer Fraud Unit - The Consumer Fraud Unit is a section in the State Attorney’s Office that protects consumers from fraudulent persons and businesses. The Unit maintains a consumer fraud line, (312) 603-8700, that handles public inquiries on consumer matters.
Cook County Sheriff’s Office - The Cook County Sheriff Office provides information and updates on prevalent scams in the county. Cook County residents who have been victims of phone scams can report them to the Sheriff’s Office or the Sheriff’s Police Department in their district.
City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection - The BACP provides residents with relevant information and helps protect them from fraud and deceptive practices. Residents who have been victims of scams can file complaints with the BACP.
Better Business Bureau - The Better Business Bureau is the premium source of information on legitimate business entities registered in Cook County. The BBB also provides information about scams prevalent in Cook County.
Federal Trade Commission - The FTC protects consumers from deceptive and fraudulent practices. The FTC initiated the National Do Not Call Registry as part of its efforts to eliminate unwanted calls. If you added your number to the DNC register, but continue to receive unsolicited calls, it most likely these are scam calls.