Fraud Fighters: Don’t throw that stimulus payment away

Fraud Fighters

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Joining us this morning is Jamie Harding with AARP Alabama, I talked to her over Zoom last week. We’re talking about Coronavirus Economic impact payment. If you didn’t get a direct deposit, your payment will land in your mailbox via a debit card. My first question was, who are these cards for?

GUEST: There are about 4 million people who will get their economic impact payments this way, whether the IRS didn’t have banking information, for them or didn’t have current bank account information those four million are going to be getting a debit card from the US Treasury.

Anchor: So what do people need to know if this comes in the mail to them?

Guest: Some people have gotten in touch with us and thought it was a scam so we want to make sure people know it might look a little bit fishy, but it really isn’t a scam. This is a legitimate thing it doesn’t come in an envelope marked “US Treasury” however it comes in an envelope that says it’s from the “Money Network Cardholder Services.” So that sounds a little bit fishy we know but it is legitimate. Don’t throw that out, some people have thrown it in the junk pile or thought it was a scam so know it’s a legitimate thing.

Anchor: What else do people need to know, once you have it there’s a certain procedure for it.

Guest: There’s a letter inside the envelope with the card, make sure you call the number on that letter because if you call it and it’s wrong there are scam artists looking to take this money, don’t look it up online, use the number in that letter. Also know they’re going to be asked to register the card with a PIN and part of their social security number. They’re not going to ask for the whole thing, just a part of your social security number. Just to confirm your identity. What we also want them to know is to treat this card like cash. Because that’s what it is. Most people in this country are getting $1,200 per person as part of an economic impact payment that Congress authorized. You should treat it like the cash it is.

Anchor: You mentioned people were throwing these out by mistake, is that an unintended consequence of good fraud awareness?

Guest: It really is, we know people are getting more and more informed about scams. People get quite a bit of junk mail things we don’t ask to have sent to us, we’ve had people contact us and say “I think I threw mine out what do I do?” There is a toll-free number you can call. 1-800-240-8100. You can call that number and get a replacement card sent to you.

Anchor: What are the dangers of someone else trying to steal that debit card money?

Guest: We’ve heard of some scams where people get a text or a phone call asking them for their social security number or their PIN or card number so we want them to be aware that no one from the treasury is going to call you, or text you and ask for information that’s a scam we want them to call the number that’s on the letter that they get with the card only, they won’t call you, you will call them.

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