Earlier this month the Treasury Department announced that it had electronically sent more than 200 billion dollars of CARES Act stimulus payments to approximately 130 million Americans in the program’s first four weeks. Payments under the CARES Act are determined in the vast majority of instances by the information contained on your 2019 income tax return or if you have not filed a 2019 income tax return yet, by your 2018 income tax return. These tax returns are being used to determine both the amount of the stimulus check that you shall receive as well as to where the stimulus payment will be made. People who had provided their bank account number and bank’s routing number to the IRS as a part of their federal income tax return had their payments sent to their bank accounts electronically. After May 18th the federal government began sending paper checks and debit cards to those people qualifying for the stimulus payments that did not provide bank account information on their most recent federal income tax return. While at first it was thought that only people who were eligible for a CARES Act payment who hadn’t filed an income tax return would be getting the debit card, now the official government position as to who will get their payment through a debit card is that the Bureau of Fiscal Service which is a part of the Treasury Department is making the decision, however, the federal government has not indicated upon what basis the decision will be made. This has created a problem with many people receiving debit cards for their CARES Act payment thinking that the card they receive is a scam and there is a pretty good reason for this because when you get the card in the mail, you are required to activate the card by phone or online and provide your name, address and Social Security number. This has the markings of a scam with the possibility of scammers sending phony debit cards and luring people into providing information that can lead to their becoming victims of identity theft.
So how do you know if the card you receive is legitimate?
The legitimate cards are Visa debit cards and the back of the card has the logo for MetaBank. It is being sent by the federal government in a plain envelope that does not indicate that it is being sent by the federal government. Along with the legitimate debit card will be a letter from the Treasury Department indicating that the debit card is being sent in lieu of a paper check. The letter will also contain the 800 number and the website for you to use to activate the card. Make sure you are using the official website or 800 number and not that of a scammer. The only official website to use to activate the card or to get further information about the card is https://www.eipcard.com/ and the only phone number to use is 800-240-8100.
Scammers are quite active in using the CARES Act stimulus payments as a basis for many scams. Neither the IRS, the Treasury Department or any other federal agency will be contacting you by phone, email or text message about the stimulus checks. Anyone contacting you by phone, email or text message indicating that he or she is a federal employee is a scammer.
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”
If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”