What are McLean County Area Codes?
The United States is divided into regions, with area codes corresponding to different telephone dialing areas. Put simply, an area code is a three-digit prefix before the seven-digit telephone number denoting the regional location of a phone number within the United States. Depending on the population, some states have only one area code, whereas others may have multiple area codes. As the population increased, many more area codes had to be created to meet telephony needs.
You can find the area code of any geographical area in the United States by using an area code lookup tool online.
Two area codes currently serve McLean County - Area codes 309 and 815.
Area Code 309
Area code 309 was first used on January 1, 1957, and is the only area code serving Bloomington, Normal, and Peoria. Other locations within the 309-area code include Moline, Rock Island, Pekin, and Galesburg.
Area Code 815
Area code 815 is one of the original 86 area codes created by AT&T and the Bell System in 1947. It originally served northern Illinois apart from Quad Cities and Chicago. It has a single overlay - area code 779, that serves the same area. Top cities served by the 815-area code include Rockford, Joliet, DeKalb, Crystal Lake, Romeoville, Plainfield, and Kankakee.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in McLean County?
The mobility feature offered by wireless telephony has meant that more and more people are adopting wireless telephony as their go-to option for telephony communications. Accordingly, a survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2018 revealed that 59.8% of Illinois residents aged 18 and above used wireless-only telephony service, while only 3.0% used landline telephony service exclusively. Among residents below the age of 18, 68.9% used wireless telephony service exclusively, while only 0.5% used landline-only telephony service.
A primary component to consider when choosing which mobile plan to subscribe to in McLean County is the reception quality. If coverage is poor, subscribers are likely to experience dropped calls and overall poor service. While some plans may be affordable, it will not help much if reception is limited in your local area. In the county seat of Bloomington, Verizon has the overall best coverage with a coverage score of 98%. AT&T and T-Mobile both have a coverage score of 80%, while Sprint's coverage is rated 50%.
Several MVNOs also exist in Bloomington offering cheaper plans with features including set data limits, international calling, and additional lines. MVNOs lease infrastructure from major Mobile Network Operators (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile) and resell to consumers. MVNOs allow MNOs to expand into new geographic areas by offering unique products and responding to niche consumer demands.
Some McLean County residents are reducing their monthly phone bills by switching to VoIP service. Voice, short for Voice over Internet Protocol, allows users to make and receive phone calls using broadband internet connections. VoIP provides significantly more efficient features than conventional telephony such as virtual recording, call forwarding, dynamic caller ID, number porting, and ring groups. These features are attractive to both business owners and residential users in McLean County. Since VoIP leverages the internet to make calls possible, calls are charged at much cheaper rates than in cellular and landline telephony.
What are McLean County Phone Scams?
McLean County phone scams are illegal activities and fraudulent acts of crooked individuals perpetrated through phone calls, text messages, or robocalls to obtain personal and money from McLean County residents.
Phone scams frequently involve criminals pretending to represent trusted institutions, companies, or government agencies. You may be asked to buy an extended warranty, offered a "free" vacation, told your computer is infected and you need antivirus software or asked to donate to charity. Some callers may use a fake caller ID to appear more legitimate.
McLean County residents may use free reverse phone lookup tools to ascertain the true origins of suspicious phone numbers.
What are McLean County Law Enforcement Impersonation Scams?
Scammers often contact McLean County residents claiming to be officers of the McLean County Sheriff's Office or other local police departments across the county. They use many tricks to get residents to cooperate. These tricks can be grouped under the "serious allegation" category - a word commonly used by these con artists. A serious allegation can be missing jury duty or court summons, or a parking ticket offense. The scammers threaten targets with arrests if they do not contact them through the callback numbers provided.
Once targets contact callers through the callback numbers, the scammers attempt to solicit financial or personal information from the targets. They may ask for their credit or debit card information, bank account information, and Social Security numbers. There are free reverse phone number lookup tools online to uncover who called and find who a number is registered to.
What are McLean County IRS Scams?
The IRS scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the United States, and McLean County residents have not been exempted from this con. Targets are told they owe money to the IRS which must be paid promptly using preloaded debit cards or wire transfers. If targets refuse to cooperate, they are threatened with arrests, deportation, or suspensions of business or driver's license. In many instances, the callers become hostile and insulting.
IRS scammers often use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves. IRS Scammers may also be able to recite the last four digits of the Social Security numbers of their targets. You can use good reverse phone lookup tools online to quickly do a number lookup or reverse number lookup.
What are McLean County Clerk Impersonation Scams?
In the McLean County Clerk impersonation scam, callers contact residents informing them of delinquent property taxes which must be settled immediately. The calls appear to be coming from the county clerk’s office phone number as scammers spoof the clerk's office number to appear legitimate to targets. These scammers request banking and personal information such as Social Security numbers and credit card information to settle the taxes. Note that the McLean County Clerk's Office does not reach residents over the phone concerning delinquent property taxes. Phone lookup applications can help uncover the true identities of impersonators.
What are McLean County One-Ring Scams?
The one-ring scam typically results in unauthorized charges appearing on residents' monthly wireless statements or phone bills. Here, scammers program computers to send thousands of calls to random cell phone numbers, ring once, and then disconnect. The scammers then hope that the targets are curious enough about the phone calls that they return the calls straight away.
When the targets call back, they often hear music followed by advertising. Callers are charged fees for international calls and by the time they decide to hang up, the total call costs would have added up to huge sums. To limit the chance of falling prey to scams, you can use a reverse cell phone lookup tool to verify if a caller’s identity matches the name given.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are pre recorded messages delivered using auto-dialers. If you pick up the phone and hear a recorded message playing rather than a live person speaking, you have received a robocall. Robocalls give telemarketing companies a cheap way to contact large numbers of people. Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, a telemarketer trying to sell you something is illegal unless the company represented has your written permission to call you that way. However, a few types of robocalls are allowed without your permission, such as political calls about candidates running for office or charities seeking donations.
The TCPA and other associated laws have not been enough to deter crooked individuals from contacting people with robocalls. Many scammers have sought to go around the rules by combining caller ID spoofing with robocalls when contacting residents. Since robocalls allow many telephone lines to be reached automatically, con artists have used the technology to place unsolicited and unwanted calls to residents without their permission. These are spam calls and are often used to defraud individuals.
To limit the chances of being fleeced by robocalls placed by scammers, you may use reverse phone lookup tools to verify the identity of incoming calls.
Other steps to take to stop robocalls include:
- Hang up on robocalls. If you answer a call and hear a prerecorded message, hang up immediately. Do not press any button or number. That could lead to you receiving more calls from crooked individuals.
- Avoid answering calls from unknown numbers.
- Do not provide or confirm personal or financial information to anyone over the phone, as the request may be fraudulent.
- Contact your telephone provider. Some providers offer call screening or call blocking products, including services that can help conduct a suspicious phone number lookup or reverse phone lookup.
- Download and install a third-party call-blocking application on your mobile phone, such as Nomorobo, Truecaller, Hiya, and YouMail.
- Report unwanted calls online to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or call (888) 382-1222.
- Install a good reverse phone lookup tool on your phone to find out who called and who the number is registered to.
- Register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry maintained by the FTC. Registration is free and can be done by calling (888) 382-1222 from the number you intend to register.
How to Spot and Report McLean County Phone Scams?
Phone scammers are well trained in psychological manipulation. They know how to get their targets out of their logical thinking and into emotional states where logic goes out of the window. Scammers will lure their victims in for as long as possible. Understanding these tactics can help you avoid the cons of phone scammers and help others who may be targeted in phone scams. One way to defeat scammers is to know how to identify scams, and ignoring suspicious calls. Reverse phone lookup tools can also help limit the negative impacts of phone scams.
The following are red flags in identifying phone scams:
- The phone number is hidden on your caller ID: An unsolicited caller with hidden caller ID information is likely to have sinister intentions. Do not engage with such callers. Let the caller leave a message in the voicemail. Refrain from calling back if the message instructs you to contact the caller through a callback number.
- The caller has a difficult-to-understand accent: Many scams originate from outside the United States. These callers sometimes pose as representatives of reputable businesses or government agencies within the United States. While businesses operating within the United States employ foreigners to work in their customer service sections, these persons can communicate fluently.
- The caller uses high-pressure sales tactics and insists on an immediate decision: Scammers combine several tricks such as scaring their targets into doing their bidding or threatening them with arrests or imprisonments to get them to act immediately. Do not give in to threats or promises of “limited-time” offers.
- The offer sounds too good to be true: Scammers try to play on your emotions by saying that you have won big prizes or that you are eligible for grants or vacations. They ask you to pay a small fee upfront to claim your prize. Do not fall for their tricks.
- The caller requests your personal information: Sensitive information such as bank account information, credit card details, and Social Security number should not be released over telephone conversations. Do not release such information to unknown persons regardless of who they claim to be.
- The caller requests payment through specific methods: Scammers prefer to receive payments through methods that are not easy to trace. That makes refunds almost impossible for phone scam victims. Common methods through which scammers request payments include wire transfers, prepaid debit cards, gift cards, and cryptocurrencies.
You can file complaints with any of the following public bodies if you have been contacted by a scammer:
- The McLean County Sheriff’s Office and local police departments: If you have received a call from a scammer, you can contact your local police department or the McLean County Sheriff's Office at (309) 888-5030. In the county seat of Bloomington, you can contact the Bloomington Police Department at (309) 820-8888.
- The Illinois Attorney General’s Office: To report a scam, you can file a complaint online or submit a consumer complaint form to the Attorney General’s Office by mail or in person. You can also call the office at (800) 386-5438 (Chicago), (800) 243-0618 (Springfield), or (800) 243-0607 (Carbondale).
- Federal Communications Commission: If you receive unwanted robocalls and text messages, you can file a report online with the FCC.
- Federal Trade Commission: The FTC protects consumers from deceptive and fraudulent practices. You can file a phone scam report with the FTC by completing the online complaint form.
- The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA): Report IRS imposters to the TIGTA. To report by phone, call TIGTA at (800) 366-4484.