Avoid phone scams by recognizing these area codes

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office is encouraging Hoosiers to protect themselves from phone scams by recognizing and avoiding certain area codes and phone numbers.

Just this morning, a local woman contacted the Brown County Democrat to say she’d received a call from someone claiming to be the Internal Revenue Service and asking her to call them back immediately or be sued. She said it came from a “347” area code, which is based in New York.

Numbers the AG’s office recommends you be wary of include:

  • Nonexistent area codes, like “000” and “123.” If the number looks fake, chances are the call is probably a scam, the attorney general’s office says. Let a call from these area codes go unanswered.
  • Area code 202. Be wary of these calls if you are not expecting a call from Washington, D.C. The caller may be an imposter claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service, demanding payment for past-due taxes.
  • Area code 876. Unless you have family or friends in Jamaica, be on alert when this area code calls you. This past year, 1,500 complaints about sweepstakes scam calls came from this area code, according to the attorney general.
  • Unfamiliar area code or number. If you are not expecting a call from North Dakota or Tacoma, Washington, it is probably best to ignore it.
  • Same area code and exchange as your number. If you receive a call from a number that is your own or similar to yours, “be very wary,” the attorney general office says. This could be a telemarketer using caller ID mirroring, which involves transmitting a number close to the number they are calling to get someone to pick up. “Once you answer, your number may go on a list of valid phone numbers sold to other telemarketers or scammers,” the attorney general says.
  • Generic names, like “Card Services” or “Home Security” could be a robocall or a scam.