How to Report Lifeline Assistance Fraud, Abuse and Waste

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Lifeline is under attack by people who don’t understand how much people need this outstanding program. But the simple fact is, if you support Lifeline you need to pitch in and save it by reporting any fraud, abuse and waste you see.

Fact is, no one supports Lifeline more vigorously than we do. We get emails every day from needy people who need help in these tough economic times and we understand better than most that Lifeline gives them exactly the boost they need. Without it, millions of people would have no phone — either landline or mobile — to use for all the things the rest of us take for advantage. Thanks to Lifeline, they can now use their phone to make and receive calls from potential employers, keep in touch with family, and have around for emergencies.

There’s an old adage that says there’s a rotten apple in every barrel. It’s true with Lifeline, too. There are always those who will take advantage of the generosity of others. That’s why controls need to be tightened up, and anyone committing fraud needs to be caught and punished, whether it be a phone recipient or a cell phone company providing Lifeline phones. If we don’t all do what we can to end fraud, abuse and waste, those who oppose the Lifeline will be given more ammunition against this helpful program.

So if you know of someone who lied about their eligibility on their Lifeline application, or if you know of a company or company agent that committed fraud in their sign-up process, please report them. (Don’t worry, you won’t be sending any cell phone users to jail. To the best of our knowledge, the government simply cancels Lifeline service for anyone caught lying to get a phone.)

The Reporting Procedure

It’s easy to report any waste, fraud or abuse; and you can choose to do so anonymously if you wish. Just contact the special Whistleblower Alert line at the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). What is the USAC? It is the organization that oversees the Universal Service Fund (USF), which oversees and pays for the federally-mandated Lifeline Assistance Program.

The USAC wants to hear of any wrongdoing, and treats each report of waste, fraud, or abuse as a serious and urgent matter requiring immediate attention. You can contact them about any of the following:

  • Potential violations of any USAC laws, rule, or regulation.
  • Gross mismanagement or gross waste of funds.
  • Fraudulent activity.
  • Abuse of authority.

There are four ways you can file a Whistleblower Alert:

Telephone: Call them at (888) 641-8722. Tell the operator you want to report a “whistleblower alert” concerning USF waste, fraud, or abuse. You will be connected to specially trained staff who will record your report.

U.S. Mail:

USAC
Whistleblower Alert
2000 L Street, NW
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036

Email: Send your email to potentialviolation@usac.org.

Contact Form: Click this link for the contact form. You’ll be prompted for the type of complaint; select “low-income.”

You will talk to a USAC staff person who will ask a series of questions to obtain as much information about the situation as possible. You may choose to remain anonymous. Can can choose to identify yourself so the USAC can contact for further details if need be, and if you do, they will make every effort to keep your identity confidential.

Whistleblower Alert Hotline webpage:
http://www.usac.org/about/tools/contact/whistleblower.aspx

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Comments

  1. conisha moley says

    someone by the name of ****** is using my address for free assistance i recieved a safelink phone at my house my address is ***** macon.ga 31206 how to i stop free mail coming here i keep returning it to sender i applied for a free for couldnt get one because ******* got one what do i do can u stop her from using my address thanks

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      Sorry, we can’t help you with that. To all: please, no names and addresses on public comments.

  2. Nicholas Paredes says

    Dear Sirs,
    I am totally confused. On 02/04/2014 I filled out and mailed my application. 7 days later in stead of getting my phone I got a new set of applications. I check the web site an it says” we mailed out your application, please allow 5-7 days. I tried calling the number 1-888-898-4888 and 1-877-732-3018 and all I got was an automated menu, and they asked me for my phone number..Dahhh, I don’t have a phone that is why I am applying to get one! I finally Faxed ANOTHER APPLICATION on 02/19/2014. Now I went to the web site filled in the inforamtion and it says “YOUR INFORAMTION CAN NOT BE FOUND” what is going on here? Do they just want me to give up? Please adise.

    Nicholas Paredes

  3. steven says

    could someone PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!.
    Someone is using my identity or something so I am unable to get a phone through the lifeline program. I have spent two weeks and countless hours talking to everyone from the FCC, PUC, USAC and Lifeline. NO ONE seems to be able to help me and they are all passing the buck. Keep in mind, none of my other personal accounts have been compromised in any way shape or form. Can some please help me?
    Thank You and GOD BLESS.

    Steven

  4. Charles Johnson says

    I keep receiving emails asking me to ‘re-certify’ my SafeLink account. When I re-register on-line, it says that my information is incorrect and can’t proceed even though I enter it several times correctly. And when I re-register by phone, it says that I am already registered. I’m wondering if this is a phishing email. Are there any other complaints regarding phishing emails with respect to SafeLink?

  5. Sumi Esquibel says

    Okay now I am really frustrated. I first tried in February 2014 to apply online for the phone service.(Safelink) It would not accept my physical address so I called and the woman told me that I would have to wait 3 months for the system to upgrade?? I tried again on April 10,2014. The lady took all my information so she could send me an application. Okay so I waited and waited and no application came. I tried again at the beginning of June 2014. I saw that I could download the application from the site so I did, I printed and filled it out and sent it with verification that I receive medicaid, food stamps, and verification of my physical address. Okay so then at the end of June I saw on the site that my application was approved. YAY!!! BUT it says that it’s still pending for documentation. I thought okay it takes a little time to process….hmmm…then I called again at the beginning of July and was told they don’t have my documents, I thought but they have the application and the documents were sent with the application. The man I talked to was very unpleasant and told me that I need to still send in the documents I asked him well where did the paperwork go that I did send in and he told me it’s in back office but yet he doesn’t know how to get ahold of back office?? so after hanging up with him I went on the site towards the end of July and clicked on the links for sending documents I thought okay I can e-mail so I scanned and downloaded the documents and sent the documents via e-mail, and I called back again on July 28,2014 just to be told that the e-mail doesn’t work and that it is down for maintenance. I told the man are you kidding me? He said I need to send them again because they cannot get the info from the e-mail. Okay so the next day I saw that I could upload the documents okay so that is what I did yesterday July 31,2014. Today is August 1st 2014. I called this morning and you won’t believe what I was told…They can’t receive the documents by the upload…hahaha! Okay jokes on me. I get it this can’t be legitimate. I was told this morning when I called that for me to fax the documents. well I think the last 3 times of sending information that this is a false company. When I mentioned that I was going to get in touch with USAC the lady kept interrupting me and would not let me finish talking and she kept talking over me and I find this quite rude. She told me still that I need to send the documents. Now…anyone else getting a run around like I have just been through?? Very upset here!

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