What are Rapides Parish Area Codes?
Area codes are the thread of three-digit numbers that distinguish each Numbering Plan Area (NPA) in North American telephone service areas. They are represented by the three numbers at the beginning of ten-digit American phone numbers and instituted by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). Rapides Parish has only one active area code (318), and it is managed by the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC). The LPSC also administers and implements area codes in other parts of Louisiana.
Area Code 318
Area code 318 is a Louisiana telephone code created from a split of the 504 NPA in 1957. It serves some parts of many parishes in the state, including Rapides Parish. The major cities and towns in Rapides Parish under area code 318 include Alexandria, Lecompte, Glenmora, Pineville, and Cheneyville. Others are Boyce, Calcasieu, and Ball.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans in Rapides Parish?
Although the major phone carriers are present in Louisiana, Rapides Parish residents enjoy the best cell phone plans by AT&T. AT&T has a coverage of 100% in all the major cities within the parish. Network services spread by Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile are not well-grounded in the parish. However, smaller carriers, known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), leverage the network infrastructures of the four major phone carriers to complement AT&T and provide network services with affordable plans.
A 2018 National Health Interview Survey on telephone service distribution confirmed that wireless telephony has become dominant in Louisiana, including Rapide Parish. The report revealed that an estimated 57.6% of Louisianan adults had adopted wireless telephone services exclusively, and only about 4.2% still used landlines. Following a similar trend, 67.8% of Louisiana's under-18 population used wireless-only services, while only 2.7% were sole landline users.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology allows communication over IP networks. It offers Rapides Parish residents an alternative telephony service that supports voice calling, video conferencing, texts, and multimedia messaging using broadband internet connections. Its increasing adoption in Rapides Parish can be attributed to its affordable rates and flexibility. It is far cheaper to make calls using VoIP than traditional phone services.
What are Rapides Parish Phone Scams?
Rapides Parish phone scams are deceptive activities perpetrated over the phone to defraud unsuspecting parish residents. Typically, phone scams aim to obtain confidential information and extort money from targeted residents. Scammers use various telephony services in phone scam schemes, but the widely used ones are text messages, live phone calls, and robocalls. They often impersonate familiar persons, entities, or government bodies when preying on targets. Besides impersonation, fraudsters also manipulate their phone numbers, in what is known as phone spoofing, to display phone numbers other than theirs to fool their marks. In most instances, they take up the official phone numbers of the entities they impersonate to trick residents into answering their phones and then dupe them. Reverse phone lookup services are, however, helpful in identifying spoofed phone calls. Residents who search the reverse phone number lookups of numbers in incoming calls are less likely to fall prey to scams.
Rapides Parish residents are advised never to trust the phone numbers or names that appear on their Caller ID display when answering calls from unknown persons. The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office (RPSO) works jointly with the Louisiana Office of the Attorney General to combat the phone scam menace in Rapides Parish. They also protect residents from falling victim to scams via the regular scam alerts published by both agencies. The popular phone scams in Rapides Parish include:
What are Rapides Parish Jury Duty Scams?
In these scams, Rapides Parish residents receive calls from unknown persons claiming to be with law enforcement or the courts, who accuse them of missed jury duty. Besides stealing money, the fraudsters usually have keen interests in obtaining targets' information to enable them to commit identity theft. They may ask marks to confirm some personal information such as social security numbers and date of birth for supposed verifications. They usually leave messages instructing marks to call back in situations when their calls are not answered. The callers use the names and badge numbers of legitimate officers and often spoof their targets' Caller IDs to deceive them into believing the calls are from law enforcement. They usually warn that warrants were issued for targets' arrest and that the arrest can be canceled by paying the associated fines for failing to appear for jury duty. Residents who receive these types of calls and suspect scams can verify the callers' identities using applications that offer reverse phone lookup free services. These fraudsters mostly request payment by gift cards and wire transfers.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office (RPSO) warns residents to beware of fraudsters impersonating the agency to extort naive persons. Searching the callers' phone numbers on phone number search applications can help residents ascertain if they are with law enforcement or not and avoid jury duty scams. The RPSO emphasizes that its deputies do not solicit money or information over the phone and advises residents against paying or sharing information with unknown callers.
What are Rapides Parish Car Rental Scams?
Authorities in Rapides Parish warn residents to be wary of phone scams involving rental cars. Residents who get such calls can use applications offering reverse phone lookup services to retrieve the callers' identifying information and ascertain their legitimacy. The callers usually impersonate law enforcement. Typically, scammers who engage in this scheme have some information about their marks and usually have their ways with ignorant residents. The callers will inform targets that their identities were used to rent cars recovered from crimes, usually stating armed robbery and drug deals as the crimes.
In many instances, the scammers will claim that such incidents happened outside Rapides Parish. Initially, they appear calm and show interest in helping their marks out of the predicament but may quickly resort to threats once they observe hesitation on the parts of their targets. The fraudsters will offer to cover up their tracks and promise to have all charges against them dropped, but at a fee. They mostly request payment by wire transfers and gift cards and often ask marks to share certain confidential information. Targets are fooled into believing that such information is required to update their case files with law enforcement but eventually become victims of identity theft. Do not pay such callers or disclose confidential information if they contact you. Gather as much information as possible during the call, and when you hang up, report it to local enforcement.
What are Rapides Parish Grandparent Scams?
These scams typically prey on Rapides Parish seniors. The scammers are clever and usually have ample information about their targets and grandchildren, most of which they glean from social media sites. The callers identify themselves as grandchildren or distant relatives of their targets, claiming to be out of town and need money urgently to resolve emergencies. Phone number lookup applications can help residents determine the origins of such calls. Common emergency claims include paying hospital bills and bonding out of jail. The callers may also spoof targets' immediate relatives' phone numbers to fool them into acting fast. They often plead with marks not to discuss their predicaments with other family members or anyone at all. Residents who suspect fraud can leverage the services of suspicious phone number lookup applications to uncover the callers' actual identities. These scammers have a preference for wire transfers and gift cards as payment channels.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office (RPSO) advises Rapides Parish seniors who get these types of calls never to take the callers seriously. If you receive a call from a phone number you do not recognize, and the caller claims to be a relative who needs urgent financial assistance, it is best to hang up immediately. Contact the person referenced in the call on a known phone number to confirm the suspicious caller's claim. The RPSO also encourages residents confronted with this type of situation to reach out to other family members to verify claims to avoid falling victim to scams.
What are Rapides Parish Medicare Scams?
These scams are targeted at Medicare beneficiaries, usually the older ones, in Rapides Parish to obtain confidential information for identity theft. The callers often spoof their targets’ Caller IDs and claim to be with the Rapides Parish Health Unit when contacting their targets. They request personal information for mandatory updates of records and threaten to cancel benefits to targets who hesitate to provide the required information. These fraudsters use the information gleaned from victims to divert their medicare benefits to themselves. In some cases, they sell such records to other fraudsters and make good money off their victims. Medicare users who receive these types of calls can confirm the callers' legitimacy by uncovering their identities using free reverse phone lookup services.
The Rapides Parish Health Unit warns residents never to respond to calls purportedly from the Unit requesting Medicare details and other personal records. The Unit cautions that its employees will never solicit such information since they have them on file. Residents are encouraged to end such calls and contact the Rapides Parish Health Unit at (318) 487-5282 to verify if they emanated from the Health Unit.
What are Robocalls and Spam Calls?
Robocalls are commonly used by political campaign groups, sales businesses, and non-profit organizations to contact mass audiences. The messages they deliver are often pre-recorded and are conveyed via automated calls using auto-dialers. Scammers also use them in their deceptive schemes to rip off mass targets. Robocalls are usually cheap to operate and can be manipulated to display different phone numbers at various times. These features are the reasons scammers favor them. A reverse phone number lookup application can identify if an incoming call is a robocall and help you avoid robocall scams. Like many robocalls, spam calls are intrusive and unwanted. They are irrelevant phone calls placed to random phone numbers, usually to pitch sales for malicious purposes.
The best responses to robocalls include:
- Report illegal robocalls via the FTC online complaint assistant or call 1 (888) 382-1222.
- Register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. Phone numbers listed on this register for 31 days are exempted from receiving illegal telephone solicitations. If you still receive lots of robocalls and spam calls after registration, you are most likely being targeted for scams.
- Hang up a call once you realize it is a robocall. Robocalls typically attempt to keep recipients on the line, so ignore any instruction to connect to a live operator or unsubscribe from their call list.
- Use online reverse phone lookup free services to determine if incoming calls are robocalls and block these phone numbers. Inquire from your service provider about call-blocking and call-filtering services. If these services are free, use them to bar and filter identified robocalls and spam calls. You can also learn how to block unwanted calls from the FTC website.
How Can You Spot and Report Rapides Parish Phone Scams?
Rapides Parish residents who know how scammers operate can easily spot phone scams. Scammers employ varying tricks while preying on residents and favor phone spoofing. While identifying scam calls can be challenging, certain signs are proof that some phone calls are potential scam calls. If you suspect that a phone call is fraudulent, use a reverse phone number lookup application to retrieve information on the caller and ascertain if such a call is a scam call. The following are some warning signs of phone scams:
- The caller claims to be with a government agency to solicit money or pressure you to share confidential information. A legitimate government employee will never do that.
- The caller demands payment via questionable channels such as wire transfers, gift cards, and bitcoins. Transactions concluded via these methods are hard to trace and recover.
- The caller claims to be an employee of a reputable business and pitches sales of products you do not need, pressuring you to make payment promptly. They often persuade call recipients to take advantage of the "rare opportunity" presented to them, an attempt to get them to pay.
- The caller wants you to act immediately and dissuades you from contacting a third party to confirm their claims.
- The caller is unwilling to answer your questions on the offer they present to you. Such reluctance is often due to a lack of knowledge about their offer.
Some public agencies implement various policies to protect Rapides Parish residents from phone scams. These agencies encourage residents to report all phone scam incidents with a view of investigating them and possibly getting justice for victims. They include:
Louisiana Office of the Attorney General - The Consumer Protection Section of the Louisiana Attorney-General receives online complaints from residents about scams and other unfair business practices. Residents who are victims of phone scams can also contact the Attorney General's Office at (225) 326-6465 to file phone scam reports.
Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office - Rapides Parish residents who believe they are victims of phone scams can contact the RPSO at (318) 473-6700.
Federal Trade Commission - The FTC manages a Do Not Call Registry for persons who want to opt-out from getting unwanted calls. You can report phone scams perpetrated with unsolicited calls online with the FTC or call 1 (888) 382-1222.