Just when pandemic scams have peaked to the point that it’s reasonable to incinerate all mail, the government is sending economic impact payments in unmarked envelopes with a very shady return address.
Various people have been sharing photos of envelopes that look like pre-approved VISA credit card offers, actually containing prepaid debit cards with up to $3,400 from the government; the envelope is marked only with the sinister-sounding “Money Network Cardholder Services.” Looks like a scam!
The FTC, IRS, and state officials have put out notices explaining that it’s not a scam. You’ll have to call a 1-800 number found in the instructions (1-800-240-8100) to activate your card and give over your social security number. Sounds like a scam!
The FTC warns that you should NOT respond to any unsolicited messages asking you about the card. “[U]nless you’ve asked for assistance, no one will ever call you about the EIP card,” the FTC writes. “And no one will text, email, or ask you to click on a link they sent to activate this card or to get your money. If someone does, stop. It’s a scammer. Don’t give them your Social Security or debit card number, or any other information. Then report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.”
According to the IRS, nearly four million people are getting their payments in the form of cards, rather than checks. How did they decide who gets the cards rather than checks? “The determination of which taxpayers received a debit card was made by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, a part of the Treasury Department that works with the IRS to handle distribution of the payments,” the FTC writes. Sounds fuckin shady!
Gizmodo reached out to the Bureau of the Fiscal Service to ask how it selected this group and will update the post when we hear back. If you think you may have tossed the card, you can call 1-800-240-8100 to request a check and will then need to call them back to activate the check.
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