Effective Aug. 19, you’ll have to make your local phone calls differently

area-codesEffective Saturday, August 19, if you try calling a phone number in the 518 area code the way you always have, it won’t work.

That is the start date for full implementation of the new “Area Code Overlay” for the 518 area code. That means in addition to our current 518, the same geographic area will include a new code — 838. That is because they have virtually run out of new phone numbers for the 518 area.

You do not have to change your 518 area code. But, any new numbers issued on or after September 19 may be assigned an 838. However, to call anyone else with that code or with the new 838 code, you will have to use a 10-digit calling sequence just as you do now for long distance calls.

For example, if you normally call your cousin Mary locally at 555-5555 you will have to dial 518-555-5555. And, for local calls to people or businesses that have been assigned a new 838 code number, you also will have to dial a 10-digit code such as 838-555-5555.

If you want to get in the habit of the new requirement since it will become part of your way of life and there’s nothing you can do about it, you can begin practicing by using a 10-digit sequence right now. If you forget and just use the usual seven-digit local numbers your calls will be put through until August, but not after that.

This change may require a variety of changes for some people. For example, all numbers you have stored for automatic dialing on your cellphones or landlines, for answering machine messages, call forwarding, fax machines, speed dialers, internet dial-up numbers, safety alarm security systems and other such equipment will have to be reprogrammed with a 10-digit sequence. Likewise for any printed material — checks, office stationery, websites, Facebook pages, pet ID tags, etc. Whatever you do not change will not work after August 19.

Additional information is available online by clicking here.

NOTE: This change does not affect the 911 emergency number. It remains the same.


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