Your Stimulus Payment Might Look Like a Scam

Dead DropOur Slack is an ever-growing recycling bin of abandoned links. News, memes, photos, quotes, and brain-poisoned bacchanalia must all be wiped from our memories so we can blog tomorrow—but before we do that, we’re forwarding the best of it to you! Welcome to Dead Drop.

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”

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.

If you’re on desktop, the slideshow of Dead Drop continues on the next page, so smash that arrow.


Fresh hell

Illustration for article titled Your Stimulus Payment Might Look Like a Scam
Image: Getty

QAnon’s army has built its pillar of shit all the way to heaven, and now there’s a QAnon church. They call themselves Omega Kingdom Ministries and encourage followers to form local non-501c3 factions called “ekklesia.” They have ordained ministers who preach the prophecy of Q from on high (YouTube).

According to the Daily Dot, which mercifully attended three two-hour services so we don’t have to, sermons focus on “hardcore spiritual warfare, using QAnon as the map to the enemy’s location and [“pastors”] Wagner and Bushey as the officers briefing the troops.”

“When put together, it gives the distinct feeling that you’re being given a pep talk for an all-digital crusade that will eventually involve you putting an infidel to the meme sword,” the Daily Dot writes.

Liketh and subscribeth, ye.


Seoul traffic tower protester climbs down from 82-foot tower after 355 days

Illustration for article titled Your Stimulus Payment Might Look Like a Scam
Image: Kim Yong-hee (AP Images)

Incredible: Samsung apologized.

South Korean activist Kim Yong-hee, who’s reportedly been seeking an apology from Samsung for 25 years, has climbed down from an 82-foot traffic tower in Seoul’s busiest intersection after 355 days.

According to the Associated Press, the 60-year-old, who alleged he’d been fired from the company in 1995 for union mobilizing, had decided to come down after Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong promised to stop union-busting at the company. Samsung executives have emerged from felony and corruption charges, unscathed, for years—most notably, Lee Kun-hee getting off from bribery charges twice with no jail time–but have lately been held to account. Lee has long been the focus of a corruption scandal, and Samsung Electronics’ board chairman Lee Sang-hoon recently stepped down after he was sentenced to prison for union sabotage, with 25 other defendants charged in the same trial.

The New York Times reports that Samsung has agreed to some of Kim’s demands in a private agreement. It’s unclear what demands were met, but Samsung did publicly say it was sorry.


A Chinese military Eiffel Tower mystery

Illustration for article titled Your Stimulus Payment Might Look Like a Scam
Image: Getty

The Drive has imagery of a Chinese military base in Inner Mongolia containing, among other things, a less-than-full-size-but-very-large Eiffel Tower replica. Is China toying with the idea of storming France? Epcot?

Maybe. The Drive writes that China has taken a cue from the United States to “prepare its forces for the sorts of environments they’d be likely to fight in during future conflicts.” More disturbingly, the base also reportedly houses a “huge full-size mockup of a portion of downtown Taipei.”


Reminder to match

New York Times journalists, as a policy, aren’t supposed to contribute to political campaigns, attend rallies, or put partisan bumper stickers on their cars. So it was nice to see them pull out their wallets today and chip-in to a Twitter fund drive in solidarity with protests for George Floyd.

Started yesterday, thousands have joined the trend to match each others’ donations to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, an organization that puts up cash bail. Ultimately, the MFF seeks to end cash bail and its use as a mechanism for pretrial incarceration. Not too late! Or donate to Reclaim the Block and the Black Visions Collective.


Another one bites the dust

If you didn’t already press play on the above video, guess which one of these things no longer exists:

  • A SiriusXM radio station devoted 24/7 to playing old Phish concerts
  • A service that prints selfies on pancakes
  • A fashion robot powered by Amazon that was implemented in Calvin Klein stores and featured in GQ and Vogue



The future is Phish and selfie pancakes. The Verge reports that the market apparently has no room for Amazon’s Echo Look camera, which used machine learning to compare photos of two outfits and pick a winner. Actually, this Business Insider piece makes it look pretty useful. I agree with its rulings. I missed out on playing Cher from Clueless for three years. It’s an Amazon device, so... I can live with that.


There’s a moose in the pool

Speaking of Phish, maybe there’s an album title in that hed.


Staff reporter, Gizmodo. wkimball @ gizmodo