What are Lafayette Parish Area Codes?
Lafayette Parish is located in the south-central part of Louisiana and has an estimated population of 244,390. The parish sits on a total area of 269 square miles, while its seat of power is in Lafayette City. Lafayette City and Lafayette Parish have been running as a consolidated government since 1992.
Area codes are the series of three numbers preceding North American telephone numbers. They differentiate each Numbering Plan Area (NPA) in a state as designed by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). Currently, Lafayette Parish has only one area code in active use.
Area Code 337
Split from the 318 NPA in 1999, area code 337 is a telephone area code in southwest Louisiana serving Lafayette Parish and parts of some other parishes in the state. In Lafayette Parish, the 337 NPA covers Scott, Lafayette City, Carencro, Broussard, and Youngsville.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Lafayette Parish?
All four major carriers provide reliable network services in Lafayette Parish, though with varying degrees of coverage. Various Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) also operate in the parish. In Lafayette City, AT&T claims the best service at 90%, followed by Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon at 82%, 78%, and 72%, respectively. The MVNOs run on the major carriers’ network infrastructure to offer affordable telephony services to Lafayette Parish residents.
Only a few households in Lafayette Parish still use landlines for telephony services as more residents are drifting towards wireless telephone services. A 2018 CDC survey for residents of Louisiana confirmed this. Data from the survey revealed that an estimated 4.2% of the adult population in Louisiana used only landlines for telecommunication. In contrast, about 57.6% of them had adopted wireless-only telephone services. The survey showed that 67.8% of the state's under-18 population had adopted wireless-only telephone services, while only about 2.7% of them still used landline phones exclusively.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a communications technology that uses IP networks, particularly broadband internet, to provide telephony services. It offers more flexibility, scalability, and mobility to Lafayette Parish residents and businesses than conventional phone systems and at lower costs.
What are Lafayette Parish Phone Scams?
Lafayette Parish phone scams are scams conducted over the phone using services such as robocalls, live phone calls, and text messages to rip off parish residents. Phone scams typically aim to steal money and information from unsuspecting individuals. Phone scammers often commit financial and identity theft with any information they acquire deceptively from their marks. In many instances, scammers spoof official phone numbers of legitimate businesses and government agencies to establish trust and then extort their targets. Lafayette Parish residents can avoid phone scams using reverse phone lookup services. Such services are proven ways of retrieving the identities of suspicious callers. They can help identify spoofed phone calls.
The Lafayette Police Department (LPD) investigates all reported cases of phone scams in the parish. Similarly, the Consumer Protection Unit of the Louisiana Office of the Attorney General (OAG) accepts and reviews phone scam complaints from residents.
The following are some of the prevalent phone scams in Lafayette Parish:
What are Law Enforcement Impersonation Scams?
Fraudsters are pretending to be officers of the Lafayette Police Department (LPD) and the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office (LSPO) to cheat them. Residents should be wary of this to avoid ending up as scam victims. They often spoof the official phone numbers of law enforcement to appear authentic when contacting unsuspecting residents. The fraudsters sometimes use the real names and badge numbers of police officers to fool targeted residents. However, residents can foil these fraudsters' attempts to extort them by using services that offer free reverse phone lookup. The scammers will threaten their marks with jail, arrests, deportation, and some other extreme actions to get them to comply with their demands. They may claim to have warrants for targets' failure to attend jury duty or delinquent taxes and must pay some fines immediately to fix the issues and avoid severe legal actions.
The perpetrators of this scam favor payments made with wire transfers and gift cards because transactions on them are untraceable. They are also usually unrecoverable. In most instances, the scammers will stay on the line to dissuade their targets from establishing contact with other persons and ensure payment. Law enforcement encourages residents never to feel pressured into sending money to persons impersonating them and advises them to hang up on such calls immediately. They warn that legitimate officers of the LPD and the LSPO will never solicit payment over the phone or threaten residents with arrest, jail, or other punitive actions.
What are Lottery Scams?
Lottery scams are not new, but many Lafayette Parish residents continue to fall victim to the scheme. In these scams, fraudsters typically claim to be representatives of legitimate lottery companies in foreign countries, lottery commissions, or independent sweepstakes companies. They often inform their targets that they were selected as winners in lottery contests in an attempt to cheat them out of their money. The scammers will instruct their marks to wire money in advance for administrative fees and taxes before redeeming their winnings and sometimes request payment by gift cards. The fraudsters promise their victims large sums of money and then send checks for smaller amounts to fool them into paying the upfront fees. These checks usually look genuine but are mostly fake, and they bounce once the victims deposit them into their bank accounts. At this point, the scammers would have received the money sent by their victims, who will eventually lose on both sides.
Lafayette Parish residents should be aware that legitimate lottery firms do not initiate contact with winners because they do not even know them. Genuine lottery companies only identify winners by their ticket numbers and where they were bought. Also, legitimate foreign lotteries are prohibited from selling tickets in the United States, and as such, anyone claiming you won in such a contest is a scammer. No legitimate lottery firm will ask winners to pay any fees upfront before receiving their prizes. If you receive this type of call, ask yourself if you ever bought a ticket to enter the contest. Many people who fall prey to this scam never entered such sweepstakes. If you ever get such a call, find out who called you using phone number search applications and never send any money.
What are Social Security Scams?
Fraudsters who perpetrate social security scams know how to scare their targets into believing that they may face arrest if they do not comply. There are many variations of the scam scheme targeted at ripping off Lafayette Parish residents. Generally, the scammers tell their marks that they are calling from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to fool them and then hit. In a prevalent version of this scam, fraudsters will inform their targets that their social security numbers have been suspended due to suspicious activities related to some grievous scams. The alleged crimes may involve drug trafficking transactions traced to bank accounts opened with the marks' social security numbers. The scammers will then offer to help the victims out and ask them to pay some money. Typically, they resort to threats of arrest or jail for targets who resist compliance. Their preferred methods of taking payments include gift cards and wire transfers. In other cases, the scammers may inform their victims that they only need to confirm bank account information, social security numbers, and a few other personal information over the phone to avoid arrest. Once they gather this information, they will perpetrate identity and financial theft. Conducting phone number searches on suspicious numbers using free reverse phone lookup tools can return identifying information on these scam callers.
The SSA warns residents never to share parts or all of their social security numbers or other personal information with anyone over the phone. The SSA will never threaten residents or solicit money over the phone for any reason. If you receive a call purportedly from the SSA, end it immediately and contact the SSA at 1 (800) 772-1213 to verify the caller's claims. Regardless of the caller's threats, never send money to them, especially not by their favored odd payment channels.
What are COVID-19 Scams?
Scammers have been taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to extort Lafayette Parish residents via several schemes. Knowing how to use services that offer reverse cell phone lookup can prevent residents from falling prey to COVID-19 scams. Such services can reveal the identities of unknown callers and can help identify spoofed phone calls. In these scams, the callers aim to either steal money or acquire their marks' confidential information to commit identity or financial fraud. The prevalent COVID-19 scams in Lafayette Parish include:
COVID-19 Vaccine and Testing Scams
In this version of COVID-19 scams, the callers offer their targets phony vaccines and ask them to pay some fees. In some cases, the scammers may request their marks to provide personal information for recording purposes, a ploy to obtain their information for identity theft. Residents must know that COVID-19 vaccines are free and covered by Medicare. Anyone who promises these vaccines at a fee is a scammer. Also, fraudsters are reaching out to naive residents and attempting to sell fake COVID-19 test kits. Beware of such callers and do not send money to them or divulge any information.
Coronavirus-Related Charity Scams
Residents should beware of the uptick of COVID-19 related charity scams. Fraudsters claim to be with legitimate charities or make up the names of charities that seem real to get money from unsuspecting residents. They typically request donations for persons who have allegedly lost their jobs or businesses in the pandemic and pose as complementing the government's stimulus payments. Never be fooled by these callers, as they are primarily out to cheat you for personal gains.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are telephone calls that deliver pre recorded messages using auto-dialers. When you answer a phone call and hear an automated voice, that is a robocall. A reverse phone lookup application can help you ascertain if an incoming call is a robocall or not. Robocalls are inundating and intrusive. Although adopted hugely by phone scammers, robocalls have numerous legitimate uses. They are telemarketers' best advertising tools. Government agencies in Lafayette Parish make public announcements using robocalls, while political organizations use them during election campaigns. Robocalls belong to the family of spam calls.
Spam calls are irrelevant calls placed to mass phone users who have not expressed interest in getting such calls and are usually used to perpetrate scams. The FTC provides guides on blocking unwanted calls on its website.
To avoid robocall scams, your best options include:
- Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry and Louisiana Do Not Call List. These databases exempt listed phone numbers from receiving robocalls and spam calls unless allowed by law. Spam calls received after doing this should be considered as scam calls.
- End a call once you identify it is a robocall. Ignore the voice prompts as they lead to more robocalls and register your phone number for future scams.
- Use the call-blocking features on your smartphone and those offered by your phone carrier to block identified robocall and spam numbers.
- Report any illegal robocall numbers to the FTC online or call 1 (888) 382-1222.
How Can You Spot and Report Lafayette Parish Phone Scams?
In Lafayette Parish, phone scammers aim to obtain confidential information and steal money from unsuspecting residents using various scam schemes. Reverse phone lookup applications can retrieve the names and addresses of suspicious callers and prevent you from falling victim to scams. However, keeping abreast of the various tactics employed by scammers and being able to spot scams before they hit is the best way to combat them. Lafayette Parish residents can tell if phone calls are scam calls if:
- The callers smartly avoid questions directed at confirming their claims.
- The callers resort to threats once they realize that their targets may not likely comply with their demands.
- The callers offer opportunities with limited-time offers and pressure the called parties to make money available immediately without giving them time to think about proposals.
- The callers claim to be representatives of legitimate businesses and claim that the call recipients are specially selected from their clients' list for a prize. It is all a ploy to get the called parties to divulge confidential information.
- The callers pose as employees of government agencies and request payment via gift cards and wire transfers for baseless offenses. No government agency or its representatives will ask residents to send money via such odd channels.
Lafayette Parish residents who are victims of phone scams can file the reports of their encounters with the following public agencies:
Federal Communications Commission - The FCC implements policies that protect consumers from scams. Victims of phone spoofing scams, robocall scams, and other phone scams may file complaints with the FCC or call 1-888-225-5322.
Federal Trade Commission - The FTC maintains the National Do Not Call Registry primarily to protect consumers from robocall scams. Lafayette Parish residents who are phone scams victims can file complaints online with the FTC.
Louisiana Office of the Attorney General - The OAG periodically educates residents on phone scams. Its Consumer Protection Unit receives complaints from residents about phone scams and other unfair practices. Residents can also file phone scam complaints with the OAG by calling (225) 326-6465.
Law Enforcement Agencies - The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office (LSPO) and the Lafayette Police Department (LPD) protects residents from falling victim to phone scams. Parish residents who are victims of phone scams can file complaints with the LSPO by calling (337) 232-9211 or contact the LPD at (337) 291-8600.