How The Free Government Cell Phone Scam Works

Posted in the Caruthersville Forum

“Radical Islam! Radical Islam! ”

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#1 Jan 17, 2013
Here’s how Safelink Wireless, one of those companies involved in the scam, describes the free government phones program on its website:

“Lifeline Assistance is part of a program that was created by the government to provide discounted or free telephone service to income-eligible consumers. To help bring you this important benefit, SafeLink Wireless is proud to offer Lifeline Service.

Through our Lifeline Service you will receive FREE cellular service, a FREE cell phone, and FREE Minutes every month! SafeLink Wireless Service does not cost anything – there are no contracts, no recurring fees and no monthly charges.”

If you’re not outraged by this program yet, hold on. Because you will be. It turns out that you only qualify if you’re already getting other assistance from the government.

Who Qualifies?
Want a free phone? Too bad, because if you pay taxes, you probably don’t qualify. Now that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s generally true, because the fact is you don’t qualify unless:

• You already participate in other State or Federal assistance program such as Federal Public Housing Assistance, Food Stamps and Medicaid.
OR
• Your total household income is at or below 135% of the poverty guidelines set by your State and/or the Federal Government.
AND
• No one in your household currently receives Lifeline Service through another phone carrier.
• You have a valid United States Postal Address. In order for us to ship you your free phone you must live at a residence that can receive mail from the US Post Office. Sorry, but P.O. Boxes cannot be accepted.

Here’s where they really get tough. In addition to meeting those guidelines, you will be required to provide proof of your participation in an assistance program, or proof of your income level.

Welcome to the United States 2011. The more freebies you get, the more freebies you qualify for.

Illegal Alien? Who Cares?
Did you see anything on the list of qualifications that says you have to be a citizen or even a legal resident of the United States to qualify? It seems to be a glaring omission, doesn’t it?
Two of the three biggest companies involved in this scam have Spanish language websites, leading to the not-too-unreasonable conclusion that a significant percentage of the free cell phones applicants conceivably could be, may be, might be undocumented aliens. You know, people who live in the United States, but don’t speak English.

Who’s Scamming Who?
At least three large companies are involved in the free government cell phone scam. We were angered when we read their websites. And you probably will be, too.

Because it turns out that if you’re an average, hardworking American citizen who pays for your own cell phone or land line telephone, you’re also paying for these deadbeats’ free cell phones and free minutes.

Want proof? Check out your own phone bill. You’ll see that a little extra charge called the “Universal Service Fund” is added to your bill every month. For example, in our latest phone bill. The charge for the Universal Service Fund is 75 cents.

Now 75 cents might not sound like much, but Wikipedia says there are nearly 300 million cell phones in the United States and another 300 million land lines. Do the math. At 75 cents each, that adds up to a lot of money.

“Radical Islam! Radical Islam! ”

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#2 Jan 17, 2013
Turns out this isn’t a new program, just a new twist on an old program. The Universal Service Fund was created many years ago to bring telephone service to the rural parts of the country that were under-served by private phone companies. But when Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Universal Service Fund was expanded to include, you guessed it, free cell phones for the poor. No matter where they live.

Is This Really a Government Program?
Proponents of the free government cell phone scam say it’s not paid for with “tax payer money.” But that’s what advertising people call weasel wording. Let’s review:

It’s paid for by a federal government-mandated fee that’s automatically added to your phone bill every month. It’s administered by the Universal Service Administration Company, an organization set up by the Federal Communications Commission, which parcels the money out to private phone companies set up just to give away these free government cell phones.

In other words, it’s no different than a sales tax collected by a merchant and sent to the government, which spends it as they see fit. In this case, the merchant just happens to be your phone company.

It Gets Worse
As if it’s not bad enough that you’re paying for free cell phone service for other people when it’s tough enough to pay for your own, it gets even worse.

There are three primary companies providing the LifeLine service – SafeLink Wireless, Assurance Wireless and ReachOut Wireless. Safelink, the largest player in the business, is owned by the world’s richest man, Mexican multi-billionaire Carlos Slim.

The free government cell phone scam is very profitable for the companies involved. Obviously. A billionaire like Carlos Slim wouldn’t be involved otherwise.

Each customer costs the cell phone company about $3 per month for phone and minutes. But the Universal Service Fund pays the cell phone companies $10 per month for each customer.

It’s a brilliant scam. The government skims a few cents off the top of every phone bill, launders it through the free cell phone scam, and into the already stuffed pockets of a foreign billionaire.
The rich get richer. The poor get something for nothing.

And you get screwed.

“GOP Redistribution is Fascism”

Since: Feb 07

Location hidden

#3 Jan 17, 2013
How's this a scam? Because you're being taxed for something you don't agree with? Get in line.
guest

Steele, MO

#4 Jan 18, 2013
Maybe not a scam but sure not right.

“Radical Islam! Radical Islam! ”

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#5 Jan 18, 2013
Original intent was good. Give service to rural customers with no service or means of communication.

It has become an urban vote buying scam, like a lot of other government programs designed to help the poor and vulnerable. Just a political tool used by politicians to buy votes.

I’m just glad Obama doesn’t want convicts to have guns(except in Mexico).
Gene

Caruthersville, MO

#6 Jan 18, 2013
Republican administration (REAGAN), created the program in 1985 and expanded in 2008 during the Bush administration to include cell phone service.

Proving a sociopath wrong....priceless.

“GOP Redistribution is Fascism”

Since: Feb 07

Location hidden

#7 Jan 18, 2013
ComradeWinston wrote:
Original intent was good. Give service to RURAL customers with no service or means of communication.
It has become an URBAN vote buying scam
Wow... really?

“GOP Redistribution is Fascism”

Since: Feb 07

Location hidden

#9 Jan 23, 2013
Rosanne wrote:
The most important thing about telephone scam is reporting it! for example here:
Spamming all the way from Germany?
JuneBug

Auburn, AL

#10 Feb 11, 2014
Because these companies get paid for each person they sign, one company signed 75 % of the population in a State. That company suddently closed it;s doors.
Not a scam??
Jerry Carter

Hayti, MO

#11 Feb 11, 2014
Not a scam. Just another abused government program. We can always count on abuse of anything provided that was suppose to be a "good thing".
bobby jones

United States

#12 Feb 11, 2014
I used to work for a large telephone company. You should be more outraged by all the tax dollars phone companies got to expand hs internet everywhere but instead pocketed hundreds of millions and produced nothing. But thats corporate welfare and we wont mention that because it doesnt feed our hate rage propaganda
Murica.
and with that said

Apo, AE

#13 Feb 12, 2014
Carlton McLemore wrote:
How's this a scam? Because you're being taxed for something you don't agree with? Get in line.
What a brainless twit
and with that said

Apo, AE

#14 Feb 12, 2014
Gene wrote:
Republican administration (REAGAN), created the program in 1985 and expanded in 2008 during the Bush administration to include cell phone service.
Proving a sociopath wrong....priceless.
Wrong....and show me proof otherwise. Under the Reagan administration it provided discounts on basic monthly landline service at the primary residence and/or discounts on the installation fee for residence landline service. The cell phone fiasco, or better term "scam" was started under the second most profligate spender in history (the first being Obama), that being Bush. Obama, who never has an original thought, good or bad, expanded the program.
and with that said

Apo, AE

#15 Feb 12, 2014
Jerry Carter wrote:
Not a scam. Just another abused government program. We can always count on abuse of anything provided that was suppose to be a "good thing".
If provided by the government......it's either a scam, sham, vote buyer scheme, or just a complete waste.

Any welfare program should be monitored and controlled on the parochial level. Any further up and you get just what is mentioned above.
sixpak

North Port, FL

#17 Monday Feb 2
and with that said wrote:
<quoted text>
If provided by the government......it's either a scam, sham, vote buyer scheme, or just a complete waste.
Any welfare program should be monitored and controlled on the parochial level. Any further up and you get just what is mentioned above.
agreed exactly correct, we all pay in the end just most people really do not notice and why is that? simple we never get told where are taxes go, fraud welfare whatever, and we sit with our thumbs up our ass and ponder wtf happened to our country?

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