MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The second round of federal stimulus payments have been slow in reaching some bank accounts, and they’re causing some confusion.
Some aren’t getting a direct deposit or a check. Instead, it’s a pre-paid debit card.READ MORE: Capital Gazette Gunman Jarrod Ramos Sentenced To 5 Life Terms Without Parole
Why? According to the IRS, millions of the debit cards are being sent out “to speed delivery of the payments to as many people as possible.”
This new form of payment, however, is catching people off guard, including Cheri Schwartz, who hesitated when she recently opened a letter in the mail.
“It had like the U.S. Treasury seal. Looked very legitimate,” Schwartz said. “There has been so much news of scams, of people trying to steal your money, especially with seniors such as myself.”
Inside was an “Economic Impact Payment Card,” which operates just like a pre-paid Visa gift card. Eight-million Americans will get their second stimulus payment this way even if some got a check the first time around.
Are people right to be concerned that this might be a scam? WCCO asked this question to Boa Vang with the Better Business Bureau.READ MORE: Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Received Funding For A High Visibility Enforcement Initiative
“A consumer out there should be concerned about suspicious activity,” Vang said. “You may not know it’s coming in a pre-paid debit form.”
So how can you verify this isn’t a scam? First, the white envelope will display the U.S. Department of Treasury Seal. The card itself should be a Visa, with the back of it identifying the issuing bank. You will then call a toll-free number to activate the card, which is right when Schwartz became concerned.
“And at the point that they asked me to give the last six digits of the Social Security number. That’s when I hung up,” Schwartz said.
Vang says in this case, including a portion of your Social Security number is needed to activate the card. Schwartz’s husband took her card to the bank, who then helped him activate it.
“Do research on it, don’t just jump in with both feet,” Schwartz said.MORE NEWS: Polk County School Cafeteria Worker Arrested for Murdering Boyfriend
If you threw out the card thinking it was a scam, click here to request a replacement card.