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Chain E-Mail Claims Obama is Handing Out Free Cell Phones to the Needy

Friday, October 30, 2009

By Catharine Richert
PolitiFact


A reader recently sent us a chain e-mail about a cell phone deal.
 
"Receive (1) a FREE new phone and (2) approx 70 minutes of FREE minutes every month," the e-mail said.
 
The catch? They're only available to welfare recipients.
 
"I had a former employee call me earlier today inquiring about a job, and at the end of the conversation he gave me his phone number," the e-mail said. "I asked the former employee if this was a new cell phone number and he told me yes this was his 'Obama phone'... TAX PAYER MONEY IS BEING REDISTRIBUTED TO WELFARE RECIPIENTS FOR FREE CELL PHONES."
 
The chain e-mail — we've received copies from several readers — calls them "Obama phones," which suggests the program is new. It says the cell phone program threatens "the very foundations that this country was built on," and "the age old concepts of God, family, and hard work."
 
A federal program offering 70 minutes a month sounded unusual to us, so we decided to look into it.

The e-mail included a link to the TracPhone Web site, a prepaid cell phone company, and its SafeLink Wireless program to help low-income people get cellular coverage. Depending on where participants live, free phones and free minutes are available; participants in Washington, D.C., for example, can get 55 free minutes per month, while consumers in Florida can get 68 free minutes a month.
 
AT&T and Verizon provide similar services....(Remainder.)

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