IRS and the U.S. Department of the Treasury is mailing out 8 million Economic Impact Payments (EIP) in the form of prepaid debit cards. Most Americans already received their EIP either by direct deposit to their bank account or in the form of a mailed check. However, the debit cards are being sent to some consumers for whom the IRS did not have bank account information on file. The Treasury says this method allows them to provide the money “efficiently and securely” to eligible recipients.
During the first round of EIP distribution, consumers contacted the Better Business Bureau (BBB), thinking these cards may be a scam. Some consumers threw them away or cut up the cards. Consumers do, however, need to be vigilant to ensure that the card they receive is legitimate, and to be on the lookout for scams.
Tips on how to recognize a legitimate EIP card:
• It will arrive in a plain envelope with the return address of “Money Network Cardholder Services.”
• The Visa® name will appear on the front of the card; the back of the card has the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank®, N.A.
• The welcome kit explains more about the EIP card. Please go to EIPcard.com for more information and to see a sample image of the card.
Once the card has been verified:
• Activate the card by calling the number provided, setting a 4-digit PIN.
• Sign the card.
• Keep the card in a safe place.
• Do not share the information on the card with anyone.
• Use the card anywhere Visa cards are accepted and/or get cash back at a retailer or ATM. Note that most transactions are free, but certain uses could incur fees. For more questions, visit EIPcard.com/FAQ.
BBB warns that scammers may try to text, call or email you, trying to get you to give up your card number or your personal information. Report any phishing or scam attempts to the IRS and file a report with BBB Scam Tracker to warn others not to fall for the scam.
If you have not received your Economic Impact Payment, you can track your funds using the Get My Payment tracking tool (https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment).
ABOUT BBB: The mission of BBB is to promote, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill public confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, protect and assist the public. Contact the BBB at bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.