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Tulsa woman says identity mishap prevents her from getting internet assistance

Posted at 10:58 AM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-02 08:04:33-04

TULSA, Okla. — An identity mishap has one Tulsa woman at her wit's end trying to apply for internet assistance.

Heather Hall said her common name is apparently causing an issue with the company in charge of verifying her identity for Emergency Broadband Benefits.

“I was extremely frustrated,” Hall says. “A little confused."

For weeks she’s tried to apply for the Cox Emergency Broadband Benefits program aimed at helping those struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I primarily applied because I knew I qualified based off of my income, and by getting it that would save me about $50 a month, which is the benefit,” she says.

“And $50 adds up month to month."

Hall says the money would be a huge blessing, so she applied. She was directed to ID.me to verify her identity.

“Every time that I tried, it would say, ‘Sorry you can’t be verified, please sign up with the account you originally signed up with,’” she says.

Confused, she tried again several more times thinking there was an error.

When nothing worked Hall opened tickets with ID.me support but to no avail. She then reached out on social media.

“They found out when they researched it further that somebody else has my same name, Heather and Hall," she says.

ID.me told Hall “That's creating the problem and, unfortunately, is preventing you from getting verified."

Hall says she was skeptical.

“How are they verifying people if they're only looking at first and last name and their email address? What is the process they are going through to get people verified,” she says.

After losing patience and time, Hall decided to go a different route using the National verifier.

“I was verified with 24 hours and approved by submitting my federal tax return, pay stubs, social security number, my ID, but then Cox still can't use that."

Hall said Cox told her she needed to apply on their website, which then sent her back to ID.me, bringing her back to square one.

“I’ve just gone into a full circle,” she says.

That is when she called the 2 News Oklahoma Problem Solvers.

Our team reached out to ID.me who said it is sorry to hear about Hall’s issues and will investigate the problem immediately.

In the meantime, Hall said she received two separate emails from Cox and ID.me.

“The back office is working on linking your cox account with your approval," Cox said in part.

"I've spoken with my supervisor again about this situation and it appears we can submit a ticket for you to our engineers," an ID.me representative said.

Hall says as she waits for a resolution, she questions the process.

“At this point I don't know if it's worth it,” she says.

Hall says if she isn't approved for EBB by Nov. 16, she'll have to reapply.

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