Don't Throw Away Your Stimulus Payment — It Might Look Like Junk Mail

May 26, 2020, 4:30 p.m. ·

An example of what the Economic Impact Payment prepaid cards look like (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)

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If you haven’t received your federal stimulus check yet, you might be getting a prepaid debit card instead. Officials are warning Nebraskans that it might look like junk mail – and they should be careful not to throw it away.

Nearly four million Americans will get their Economic Impact Payments as a prepaid debit card instead of a direct deposit or a check. The U.S. Department of Treasury started mailing out these cards last week to some people who don’t have bank account information on file with the IRS.

The cards will be delivered in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services” – and nothing on the envelope identifies it as an Economic Impact Payment from the government. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau put out a video explaining the process:

The card itself is a VISA with the blue background and white stars of the American flag, and will have up to $1,200 on it depending on how much that person is eligible for under the CARES Act.

Ryan Sothan is Outreach Coordinator for the Nebraska Attorney General’s office. He says they’ve gotten several questions from Nebraskans wary of the mailed cards.

"They want to believe that it’s true, but I appreciate their concern, given how rampant scams are today, to clarify and validate," Sothan said.

Sothan says the government will not call or email anyone separately to verify personal information. So if you get a phone call or an email asking for that information, it probably IS a scam. (You will, however, need to verify personal information when you activate the card online.)

And Sothan says there are a lot of other COVID-19 scams going around – like promises of fake vaccinations, or ads for unapproved tests and treatments

"If they’re unsure about a product or a miracle cure, please consult with your physician," Sothan said.


This post has been updated to correctly explain the process of verifying personal information.