Over the weekend, President Biden’s 1.9 trillion dollar stimulus bill passed the Senate, however, before it can become law, the bill must go back to the House of Representatives for approval which is expected shortly. Included in the bill when it becomes law is a provision for direct payments to qualifying Americans of up to $1,400. While many people, who have provided the IRS with bank account information on their tax returns will have their stimulus payment, referred to as an Economic Impact Payment (EIP), directly deposited into their bank account, other people will either receive paper checks or debit cards. In particular the debit card payments have proven to be problematic. With past stimulus payments by debit card, many people receiving the debit cards thought that the card they received was 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 the last six digits of your 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 as shown here.
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 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.” Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
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