FTC: Scam targets consumers seeking emergency broadband program


WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWLP) – Scammers are targeting people on social media offering to help them sign up for a government program that provides assistance to purchase electronic devices and internet service for a fee.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is a government program that was created to provide funding for individuals facing financial hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic who needed help purchasing a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet, and paying for internet service. Signing up for the program is free for eligible applicants.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning consumers that scammers are creating realistic websites impersonating government agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which runs the program. The FTC offers these suggestions when looking to apply for the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit 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.
  • Don’t pay up front to get “free” connected devices or services. The Emergency Broadband Benefit program is free to sign up for those who qualify. Never pay to sign up to get benefits.
  • Don’t give your financial or other personal information to someone who calls, texts, or emails and says they’re with the FCC. If you think a call or message could be real, stop. Call the Emergency Broadband Support Center at 1-833-511-0311 to check.

If you or anyone you know fell for the scam, you must take action now. Here is a link on ways to get your money back. If you think someone has gotten into your accounts or has your personal information, visit IdentityTheft.gov. There, you’ll get the steps to find out if your identity has been misused, and how to report and recover from identity theft.

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