FCC Alert: Fake Website for Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

CAST | September 13, 2021 | by Donna Childress

 Find CAST and other resources to help older adults apply for EBBP safely.

Please warn the older adults you serve that GetEmergencyBroadband.org is the only website that can safely enable them to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued an advisory about an imposter website run by WiFi Freedom USA that mimics the official website.

EBBP Helps Pay Internet Costs

The EBBP is a temporary FCC program that helps households with low incomes pay for broadband access during the pandemic. The EBBP pays $50-$75 per month for internet connectivity.  It also provides up to $100 to help households buy a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers, with the consumer paying $10 to $50.
 
Households with at least one member who is eligible for Lifeline, a federal program that offers phone and internet discounts, qualify for the EBBP.
 
In addition to using GetEmergencyBroadband.org, people interested in applying for the benefit may contact a participating broadband provider directly, after searching by state to ensure the provider participates in the program. People may also mail a paper application. See more on how to apply safely.
 
Universal Service Administrative Co. administers the EBBP and Lifeline for the FCC.

Reporting Scams

The imposter website has been disabled, and the known social media page has been removed. Social media ads for WiFi Freedom USA may have run. The FCC is working with law enforcement agencies to address the issue, said an FCC consumer alert.
 
Anyone who gave personal information to WiFi Freedom USA should visit IdentityTheft.gov. Anyone who made payments to WiFi Freedom USA should contact their bank to see if any remedies are available and file a report about government imposter fraud with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at Reportfraud.ftc.gov. The FTC website includes information on how to get back lost money.

More EBBP Resources from CAST

See recent Tech Time articles to learn more about the program:

LeadingAge Annual Meeting Session on Internet Connectivity in Affordable Housing

To learn more about helping older adults with low incomes pay for connectivity, please make plans to attend Internet Connectivity in Affordable Housing, a special session at the LeadingAge Annual Meeting + EXPO on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. in Atlanta. 

This session will review different approaches to providing connectivity, including programs that support and/or subsidize connectivity, business models that enable connectivity, and opportunities for providers to establish and support a connectivity infrastructure. You will also learn from the experience of organizations that have supported resident connectivity in affordable senior housing. Register today!