Please Hang Up and Try Again
Starting October 24, 2021, those who live within certain area codes nationwide must dial 10 numbers whether making a local call or not. In Southern California, anyone trying to make a local 949 call by dialing only seven digits on that date will hear a recording with instructions to hang up and dial the full 10-digit phone number.
Windstream, Laguna Woods Village’s telephone communications service provider, said in an April 15 announcement that beginning April 24, callers in the 949 area code should start dialing 10 digits for all local calls, but seven-digit local calls still will go through until October 24.
Why the change? A July 2020 Federal Communications Commission order mandates that the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline should be attainable via a three-digit number—988—to make the hotline easier to reach. The North American Numbering Plan Administrator is responsible for ensuring that calls to 988 go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline starting July 16, 2022.
Some phone numbers start with 988, so if someone were to dial a number like 988-9999, the phone switch wouldn’t know how to interpret it. Because there is no 988 area code, requiring callers to dial all 10 digits ensures that no phone numbers will start with 988 and confuse the system.
This change will apply to landlines, cell phones and VoIP systems. The cellular carriers below offer support pages explaining the change:
Other California area codes that will require 10-digit dialing are 209, 530, 562, 626, 650, 707, 925 and 951.
NOTE: Calling 988 will not connect you to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline until July 16, 2022. If you or a loved one is in crisis, please call 1-800-273-8255.
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