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Flickr/FaceMePLS The area code presented when you receive a phone call tells you from what place the speak to was placed, right?

Wrong.

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While us still generally speak of “area codes” – a tradition term that suggests a connection in between a certain three-digit prefix and also the physical place of the interactions equipment associated with it – the truth is the area codes have long because been changed from representing physics places right into simply the very first three number of ours new, standard, 10-digit phone call numbers.

There are official tables showing which three-digit codes are assigned to which locations under the north American numbering Plan, but technological advances and also policy transforms have dramatically reduced the meaningfulness of these relics the a i delivered era.

Online communications services choose Google Voice , eFax, and also other offerings allow people select their very own area codes, civilization signing up because that phone lines using Voice end IP modern technology (eg, Vonage) acquire to pick their area codes, and also mobile-phone organization providers normally let people pick their full ten-digit numbers as well.

The fact that “area codes” often no longer reflect “areas” has powerful implications about which human being should be aware.


A scammer search to build confidence and also trust among victims because that a financial scam, might, because that example, get a number v a 212 area code – instilling even prior to his or she intended victim answers the phone call a perception the the caller to represent a long-established brand-new York financial institution.

Similarly, scammers call from external of the joined States have the right to easily develop US-based number in order to reduce the suspiciousness of to plan victims. Clever crooks may even call civilization from numbers that show up to be neighborhood to the victim – and also establish a bond by introduce to local sites – something around which they can quickly learn online or by viewing society media postings.


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That acquainted area code could just be a scammer or agency trying to make you feel comfortable. Joe Raedle/Getty images

Of course, most world today probably recognize that area codes shown on Caller identifier no much longer necessarily reflect the actual ar of a caller – however our actions often ignore the which we understand intellectually.

For example, 212 numbers are offered at a premium since people – even those that know fully well the anyone, anywhere can potentially have actually such a number – associate a level of company credibility with these numbers together a an outcome of their historic origins.


Likewise, there is a factor that modern technology companies located far from California have been known to acquire phone numbers connected with the Silicon valley area.

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So, the following time you obtain a contact from one area password that you recognize as tied come some details location, save in mind that the call may be from over there – or from everywhere else ~ above the planet.

Joseph Steinberg is a cybersecurity expert and also author, currently serving as CEO that SecureMySocial, i m sorry recently carried to industry the world’s first system come warn people in actual time if they space making inappropriate social-media posts. He deserve to be reached via his website atwww.JosephSteinberg.comor top top Twitter at