FTC warns towards scams for assist with broadband subsidy program

Beware scams associated to the Emergency Broadband Profit program, the FTC warns.

Jeffrey Greenberg/Common Photos Group through Getty Photos

The Federal Commerce Fee is warning Americans about scams popping up on social media providing to “assist” folks join the Emergency Broadband Profit program, which supplies folks struggling by the pandemic with a subsidy to pay for month-to-month broadband entry and a one-time solely low cost for a pc. 

The discover, issued on Friday, warns that the adverts are government impersonators that look and sound like official authorities websites, full with authorities seals, designed to trick folks into handing over private info or paying a charge. 

“Whereas there’s a actual authorities program to assist folks join through the pandemic, there is no cost required to enroll,” the discover mentioned. “That is only a rip-off.”

The EBB is a pandemic relief program arrange by Congress on the finish of 2020 to assist low-income folks and others affected by the COVID-19 pandemic afford broadband. It gives a $50 a month subsidy for broadband ($75 in tribal areas). It additionally supplies a one-time subsidy to purchase a laptop computer or desktop pc or a pill.  This system, which is run by the Federal Communications Fee, has helped more than 6 million Americans fund their internet access since Could 12, when this system went reside. 

The FTC provided some suggestions to assist folks keep away from the scams:

  • Solely apply by the FCC and its listed suppliers. The one possible way to enroll in the EBB is at GetEmergencyBroadband.org. If one other firm says it will probably signal you up for this program, examine first to see in the event that they’re an approved provider.
  • Do not pay up entrance to get “free” linked gadgets or companies. The EBB program is free for individuals who qualify. By no means pay to enroll to get advantages.
  • Do not give your monetary or different private info to somebody who calls, texts or emails and says they’re with the FCC. In the event you suppose a name or message may very well be actual, cease. Name the Emergency Broadband Assist Heart at 1-833-511-0311 to examine.

In the event you suppose you have been scammed, the FTC says to behave shortly. It gives advice on its website about methods to attempt to get your a refund. In the event you suppose somebody has stolen your private info, the FTC says to go to IdentityTheft.gov. 

These scams have been circulating for greater than a month. In August, the FCC warned of a website called WiFi Freedom USA, which imitated the government-run signup web page, claiming to offer free gadgets and broadband service by the EBB program. The FCC mentioned then that it had taken steps to have the web site disabled and a associated social media web page taken down. However greater than a month later, the rip-off continues to be circulating, in accordance with the FTC’s warning. 

See additionally: AT&T vs. Xfinity: Two home internet providers compared

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