Veterans are being advised to think twice before accepting “free” cell phone offers. Some veterans who’ve taken up “free” phone or wireless cellular service solicitations later receive notices asking for proof that they meet the eligibility requirements for the service. Many veterans find out at that time that they don’t qualify for the program and are tasked with losing service or paying for something that they thought would be free.
The federal government offers free or discounted phone service through a program called Lifeline. Through the program income eligible customers are provided home phone or cellular phone service at no cost or for a discount. The program is supported by Universal Service Fund, a fund all telephone companies and telecommunication providers pay into. Lifeline is based on income eligibility not on whether you are a veteran, as some solicitors claim.
With so many schemes and fraudulent activity aimed at veterans, it is vital to exercise due diligence when contemplating or accepting any offer, especially offers for free services. Identity theft, fraud, hacking, and other threats are very common. Keep these tips in mind to avoid a possible bad situation:
Never share your financial or personal information with someone you have not researched beforehand.
If you receive an offer read and make sure you understand any agreement or contract before signing or giving your ok.
Ask questions. You should be aware of what you are agreeing to, any cost or associated fees, and your rights.
Most important, check out the company and offer by contacting BCA and doing an internet search for possible warnings about the offer or solicitor.
Be skeptical of any third party offering to provide services on behalf of the government.
Know your rights and protections guaranteed under the Service Members' Civil Relief Act in order to avoid frauds and other financial difficulties.
BCA offers a wealth of information on consumer topics, comprehensive reports on businesses, and scam watch notices so individuals are well informed and have a resource to consult when considering doing business with a company or accepting an offer. We also provide complaint mediation and arbitration services to help resolve disputes. Whenever you are considering doing business always remember: Before you pay, check BCA.
Follow BCA on our social media links, like Facebook and Twitter, to stay up to date on trending topics and share your ideas.
About Business Consumer Alliance
Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.