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June 30, 2020
There some area codes that you should never answer calls from. That sounds alarmist, but it’s true, and we’ll investigate it together here.
We’ve already covered whether area codes matter (they do!) People get attached to their phone numbers. We carry them with us from state to state; the days of changing your number when you move are long past. Some people even tattoo their area code onto their body as a symbol of hometown pride. (We would not recommend this, but hey, it’s your skin!)
Are some area codes better than others? Yes, we’re pretty sure some area codes are more prestigious. Does that mean some area codes are “bad”? It depends how you measure it.
Area codes from lower-income areas are not as highly-valued since they do not necessarily indicate a superior business or social standing. This ties into the question of whether some locales are more respected than others, which is very subjective. Who can say whether a 212 area code is more prestigious than a 321 area code?
But anonymity in an area code is very valuable to scammers; numbers that appear to be local but are actually international are the worst area codes to answer calls or texts from.
If you have no idea what an international area code is, don’t be alarmed, you’re in good company. Many people are unfamiliar with standard international dialling practices.
To place an international call, you need to enter the Country Code in addition to the area code. The country code for the United Kingdom, for example, is +44. The country code for Australia is +52. And the country code for the USA is +1.
So, if your friend overseas wants to give you a ring at home, they would dial +1, then your area code, and then your local 7-digit number. A normal US number format looks like this: +1 555 555 5555. Not so complicated, right?
But America is unique, because it shares its country code with Canada, and with several other countries. Canada numbers aside, there are some +1 international numbers of which you need to be aware.
These numbers appear to untrained eyes to be local, but are actually international. If you get a call from any of these area codes, it may be harmless (maybe it’s your friend in Barbados calling to catch up!) But if they claim to be from a collection agency or government branch, beware. Never answer calls from any of these numbers, and be cautious calling back:
264 – Anguilla
268 – Antigua and Barbuda
242 – the Bahamas
246 – Barbados
345 – Cayman Islands
809, 829, and 849 – Dominican Republic
473 – Grenada
876 – Jamaica
758 – St. Lucia
869 – St. Kitts & Nevis
784 – St. Vincent & Grenadines
868 – Trinidad and Tobago
649 – Turks and Caicos
That’s a long list of codes. Which ones should you answer the phone from? Well, if you’re being cautious, never answer calls from any of these area codes unless you are expecting contact from a specific number. Otherwise, let the call go to voicemail.
If calls from any of these area codes claim to be from a US or Canada government agency or law enforcement, do not call them back. And remember to protect yourself from phone scams at all times.