Interested in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program? Watch Out for Impostors!

BBB Consumer Alerts

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With the pandemic requiring many to work and attend class remotely, the need for internet access is more important than ever. Yet, millions of households don’t have access.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created a program to try to resolve this, “to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Since the program launched in May of this year, more than 5 million households have enrolled in this broadband discount program.

Aware of this great need, scammers are also targeting low-income families offering to help them get these discounts – for a fee. However, the real program does not charge a fee to receive any of the discounts.

Families must apply to determine eligibility and will be assigned to an approved vendor in their area. Be wary of anyone else who calls out of the blue claiming to be from the FCC

Here are some details about the real Emergency Broadband Benefit Program:

  • “A discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands.
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.” Source: FCC.

To outwit scammers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers the following tips regarding this program:

  • “Only apply through the FCC and its listed providers. The only real way to sign up for the Emergency Broadband Benefits Program is at GetEmergencyBroadband.org. If another company says it can sign you up for this program, check first to see if they’re an approved provider.
  • Never pay to sign up to get benefits. The Emergency Broadband Benefit program is free to sign up for those who qualify.
  • Don’t give your financial or other personal information to someone who calls, texts, or emails and says they’re with the FCCIf you think a call or message could be real, stop. Call the Emergency Broadband Support Center at 1-833-511-0311 to check.”

Sources: BBBNA, FCC, FTC – United States Federal Trade Commission, www.ftc.gov – not subject to copyright protection. 17 U.S.C. 403

Scammers may use pressure tactics to force you to give up personal or financial information. Don’t fall for it. Always verify who the caller represents by contacting the company using a trusted resource – not a number given by the caller.

If you’ve been the victim of a scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker. Your first-hand experience can help other consumers recognize scammers’ tactics before it’s too late. To find a business you can trust, check out BBB.org.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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