Exposing the Safelink Wireless government cell phone for the poor scam

by editor on March 11, 2009

Today we ran the story of Michelle Obama serving risotto at the soup kitchen down the street from the White House. She was surrounded by poor people frantically snapping photos with their cell phones.

If you’re anything like us (and we understand completely if you don’t want to be) you wondered, how can the poor afford cell phones, fancy ones with cameras? The monthly bills on these things can eat you alive. Is there some sort of free government cell phone service we didn’t know about?

Safelink Wireless Free Government Cell Phones

We were tipped off to the Safelink Wireless website. But please be warned that if you visit this site you are likely to walk away pissed off. Here’s what it says:

“SafeLink Wireless is a government supported program 
that provides a free cell phone and airtime each
 month for income-eligible customers.”

free government cell phone from safelink wireless

Hello? Hello? Can anyone hear us complaining about this outrageous abuse?

“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.”

“Any Minutes you do not use will roll-over. Features such as caller ID, call waiting and voicemail are all also included with your service. If you need additional Minutes, you can buy TracFone Airtime Cards at any TracFone retailer Walmart, Walgreens, Family Dollar, etc). SafeLink Airtime Cards will be available soon.”

“Your exact benefits, including the number of free Minutes you will receive, depend on the state you live in.”

Free cell phone from Safelink Wireless: how to qualify

“The process to qualify for Lifeline Service depends on the State you live in. In general, you may qualify if…

  1. You already participate in other State or Federal assistance program such as Federal Public Housing Assistance, Food Stamps and Medicaid. OR
  2. Your total household income is at or below 135% of the poverty guidelines set by your State and/or the Federal Government. AND
  3. No one in your household currently receives Lifeline Service through another phone carrier.
  4. 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.

In addition to meeting the guidelines above you will also be required to provide proof of your participation in an assistance program, or proof of your income level.

Un-freakin-believable. Outrageous. Shocking.

The way we read it, this Safelink Wireless program gives you a free cell phone, free monthly service, and free minutes. You qualify even if you make 35% more than the designated “poverty” level or if you’re already getting additional freebies from the government. And we see nothing that indicates you have to be a legal resident of the United States to qualify.

The site is also available in Spanish, 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.

And, for God’s sake, we don’t even want to know how many of those filling out a Safelink application are currently stiffing a bank on a mortgage they never really qualified for in the first place.

We think we’re going to have a stroke. Would someone please call 911 on their free cell phone?

Note: Now Assurance Wireless (Virgin) and ReachOut Wireless (Nexus) are in the game. They plus other minor players account for 8 million government phones in circulation.

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piousminion
Member

Wth is an “undocumented alien”? If you’re not a blatant criminal here only by breaking our laws, you’ll have documentation.

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[…] | Exposing the Safelink Wireless government cell phone … – Jan 24, 2013  · Exposing the Safelink Wireless government cell phone for the poor scam. by editor on March 11, 2009 […]

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[…] This article confirms that SafeLink is just a scam, paid for by taxpayers. […]

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[…] SAFELINK WIRELESS is a cell phone provider for income eligible households (one of many) in the Lifeline Program. Note it says “income eligible”, however an FCC audit noted that 41% of the free phone recipients had not proved eligibility. Tracfone is another free phone provider and it is owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Lim whose company receives approximately $500 Million a year in FCC subsidies paid for by US taxpayers. The Lifeline Program offers free phones and 250 minutes/mo […]

net31
Member

Are you aware that the free phones they give are donated by individuals, which means it cost tax payers nothing for the phones. Also the free minutes cost very little. They only give 250 min a month, these individuals that recieve this benefit arent getting enough minutes to be getting much out of it if they are getting/using it fraudulantly. So those who really need it will be the ones who benefit. You cant shoot the shit with friends on the phone very long with 250 min. lol

GhostntheMachine
Member

SMH. I stopped beating it against the wall a long time ago.

Pinocchio
Guest

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3_EXqJ8f-0

War is a Racket by Smedley Butler

Not so silent
Member

For God’s sake, put this thread out of it’s misery! It’s like a porch light for liberal morons ..The longer you leave it on, the more insects it attracts…..Kill it now…..

jcrowley1985
Member

It’s the only thread where my posts get a decent amount of TUs. So it can’t be all bad.

poppajoe49
Member

Proof positive that it is no longer useful.

flashingscotsman
Member

That was a nice turd.

jcrowley1985
Member

Then why does this thread have it’s own dedicated link at the top of the page? It’s almost like you’re trying to attract people like me here.

Not so silent
Member

Read my above post, to attract morons, and POOF! here you are again…like a mouse with a trap full of peanut butter…

jcrowley1985
Member

I knew you’d miss me if I left.

flashingscotsman
Member

Another morning turd. At least Crowley is good for SOMETHING.

poppajoe49
Member

Actually, the dedicated link is there to keep morons like you away from the real pages.

KimmyQueen
Member

I completely agree. It is so weird to read old stuff from last year or two years ago that I wrote and the imbeciles continue to pour in.

helenof
Member

TWATS,

First, they don’t give you a cell phone with a camera–RETARDS. They give you the shittiest cell phone that is basic and sucks.

Second, you get hardly any minutes and if you want to buy more you pay like $20 for 250 minutes.

Third, I have a baby with a heart condition. He is disabled. I NEED THIS PHONE IN CASE HE IS DYING. If you want to cut welfare people..fine by me.. most of them here are illegal and they are the reason my educated husband, who works in Freakin Turkey 12 hours a day for like $5, can’t join me in USA so the baby and I get to suffer.

However, my baby needs his emergency phone and I don’t use it for anything else. There is a plan so you can call to places like Mexico for free too. They need to cut that plan right out. I also DO NOT LIKE CALLING SAFELINK AND BEING TOLD FOR ENGLISH i SHOULD PRESS A NUMBER. IF YOU CAN’T SPEAK ENGLISH, YOU SHOULDNT HAVE THESE PHONES AND YOU SHOULD GET OUT.

flyintheointment
Member

What a stupid post from an even stupider editor. you need help.

poppajoe49
Member

Dumbass

perlcat
Member

Ah, yes, the dreaded PeeWee Herman argument. If you don’t like it, call it stupid. Hard for anyone under seven to defend against. Now that editor has been shown the error of his ways by some random idiot calling him names, what’s your next plan for defending the internet from wrong opinions, oh Mighty KreepInTheKY?

CO2Insanity
Admin

Judging by the comments it appears even the libtards in SF don’t like the idea.

http://tinyurl.com/azzyhu9

Withheld
Member

Nacy said it best >
“Nancy July 5, 2012 at 5:14 pm
Rated Awesome! What do you think? 103 18

Your article above is VERY misleading. SAFELINK is VERY limited and is meant to provide minimal service for elderly and shut in folks as well as job seekers who are currently unemployed. I am a social worker and I help clients apply for these and they have been a lifesaver for some. First of all the free phone is not a fancy phone with a camera! None of the phones have cameras and are very basic phones. Many of them are used and restored phones. None of them are unlimited either. They get a limited number of minutes (at the most 260 local minutes anytime, no long distance, no texting and no data plan and certainly no rollover!). The other plan allows 120 minutes per month and does allow for texting at one text equals one minute. It does allow for US calls only. The last plan is only 67 minutes and allows texting at 1 text equal to one minute and US calls only and then you get rollover minutes if you don’t use all 67 minutes! Just doesn’t happen. So, your lavish explanation is seriously flawed and it is not nice to pick on folks who need this service. There is no money spent on this program by govt either. It is all private funding. The govt approves it and allows the carrier to use govt eligibility standards for those living in poverty, ie. SSI, SNAP, TANF, LIHEAP or a person can send in paystubs to verify income and be verified for assistance that way. Do not lie like this…it is not socialism any more than your driving your big SUV down the freeway is. It is really unethical and immoral to give out this kind of rhetoric and that ticks me off as someone who serves the folks most vulnerable in society. It might just be your grandmother or disabled uncle who needs this service some day! Until you have spent a day in their shoes, zip it!!!”

Some people need a service like this due to having limited income, and not being able to afford a regular cell phone plan or even a landline service. There are a lot of scammers out there that take what they can get, but there are more that actually need it and are not just taking advantage. I dislike this article for it only discussing the negative side of the story (scammers) and not more about the ones who truely need a service like this (elderly, disabled, limited low income families etc.). No matter what people are going to believe what they want and only see the bad in everything!

Sidekick
Member

So where in the Constitution does it say the federal government has the authority to take money from me and give it to someone else? I have never read the Need Clause in the Constitution. Have you? The takers in the is country are swamping the economy and you do not know who is scamming any more than I do. Another question: How did I, as a tax payer, become indebted to welfare recipients? Think about that for a minute.

jcrowley1985
Member

If Corporate Greed didn’t steal their gold back in 1964, they wouldn’t need to ask for assistance.

Sidekick
Member

Looking at your words, how do you steal something back? Are you saying that “Corporate Greed” had gold and then it was taken from it and then they got it back? Perhaps you just communicate poorly because you are an imbecile with nothing to say?

CO2Insanity
Admin

I wonder what the police would do if I called and said I’m reporting myself, I stole my own property from myself, then I stole it back. 5150 time no doubt.

perlcat
Member

Is 5150 that funny thing they do with that large flashlight with all the ‘D’ cells in it? ’cause that’s what needs to land upside crawley’s head.

poppajoe49
Member

I have one of those flashlights, wanna borrow it? 😀

CO2Insanity
Admin

I have a 3 cell and a 4 cell. Latter for bigger problems.

poppajoe49
Member

5 cell here! Solves all problems!

CO2Insanity
Admin

When you get up to 5 cell it’s .45 Auto time in my book.

perlcat
Member

Uhm, history lesson here, dumbass. It wasn’t your corporate paymasters that took the real money. It was your buddy FDR.

jcrowley1985
Member

It was 20 years after FDR that the Corporate Greed run Federal Reserve debased the currency. And they assassinated Kennedy when he tried to stop them.

GhostntheMachine
Member

“If Corporate Greed didn’t steal their gold back in 1964, they wouldn’t need to ask for assistance…”

You still don’t get it. Even if that hadn’t happened, the only gold a lot of the people we talk about here would see would look like this,”http://tinyurl.com/d8oe93w, and they would still be demanding assistance. So now what?

Alien
Member

What about box wine?

perlcat
Member

I can turn wine into gold. Beer works better, though.

Alien
Member

What does this mean? I’m missing the 1964 occurrence. If you want to talk about corporate greed, why not discuss Hospital Billing?

CO2Insanity
Admin

So what about all these people that get like 10 of these phones? You’re full of shit. Withheld must stand for what they did with your brain.

Pinocchio
Guest

how many have extra phones? at what cost?aren’t there more important issues? i did vote republican in 08 and in 2012-no need to insult me

poppajoe49
Member

I’ll tell you what, if you don’t want to be insulted, stop posting stupid crap on this thread.

flashingscotsman
Member

We can just call this one Grammar Boy.

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