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If you have registered for this Internet service, contact the authorities now

By on October 12, 2021 0

Having access to a reliable internet is non-negotiable for countless jobs and countless leisure pursuits, from online shopping to video chats with friends and family members. So it’s understandable that if you don’t currently have access to reliable internet service or are struggling to pay your current bill, you might be looking for a new or cheaper provider. Unfortunately, if you signed up for an Internet service, you may have inadvertently passed your personal information to scammers, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Find out how to spot the scam and what to do if you think you’ve been targeted.

RELATED: If You Receive This Message From T-Mobile, Delete It Immediately, Experts Say.


In October, the FTC warned consumers that a new scam was targeting U.S. residents by offering to provide them with free internet service.

Many people are drawn to the scam after seeing an advertisement on social media promising free internet service and a free device provided by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). However, when you click on the ad, you are taken to a page that asks you to submit payment information to receive the supposedly free device and service. Unfortunately, according to the FTC, this information is not passed on to an Internet service provider, it is passed on to scammers.

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Young woman filling out a form on computer
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Even though you may not be asked to provide bank account or credit card information to receive your free internet service or device, you can still provide fraudsters with access to your sensitive information.

In other versions of the scam, crooks may ask for personal information about you instead. This information may facilitate theft of your identity or access to additional personal information that may be sold. “Don’t give your financial or other information to someone who calls, texts or emails and says they’re with the FCC,” the FTC warns.

Senior, retired couple using laptop, sitting on sofa together

While crooks can target individuals claiming to be FCC members, it is a legitimate program that provides the Internet and free devices to those who need them.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program provides eligible individuals with discounts with which to purchase computers or tablets, as well as access to discounted Internet service. However, no legitimate representative of this program will ask you to pay to sign up or receive these benefits, the FTC explains.

upset woman disputing accusation on the phone while holding bill and looking at laptop
Shutterstock / christinarosepix

If you want to confirm that the program you’re signing up for is the real deal, contact the Broadband Emergency Support Center at 833-511-0311.

If you’ve ever paid someone money claiming to be on the broadband emergency benefits program, the FTC recommends calling your debit or credit card company and asking them to waive the charge. If you paid with a gift card, contact the company that issued the card and ask them to do the same. It may also be possible to reverse payments made through wire transfer or money transfer apps by contacting your bank or the company that issued your credit card. If you believe you have been the victim of this scam, you can also contact your local police department and the Federal Trade Commission fraud reporting website to prevent others from suffering the same fate.

RELATED: If You Get This Police Call Hang Up Immediately, Notify Authorities.