GRANGEVILLE – Janie Fluharty received an unexpected credit card in the mail last week. Thinking it was a scam, she cut it up.
Then she noticed a letter in the envelope that explained the mailing:
This was the Fluharty’s stimulus payment from the federal government.
“We were watching for a check or direct deposit,” she said. “We certainly weren’t expecting this credit card.”
Janie and her husband, Don, are not alone. She called her neighbor that same day, who also had not recognized this as a stimulus payment and left it in a pile of mail to deal with later, if needed.
Last week, federal officials began mailing out government prepaid debit cards to nearly four million individuals qualifying for up to $1,200 in federal economic impact payments included in the $2 trillion CARES Act legislation. The Internal Revenue Service explains the cards have been mailed in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.”
For the nation’s consumers, conditioned by years of scams with the allure of free money, many are throwing away their stimulus payment as just another deception to rob them. News reports across the nation this past week are reporting many consumers are unaware this is legitimate and have disposed of their payment.
Fortunately for the Fluharty’s, their card – despite being cut into three pieces – was still salvageable. The card could not be used off the card’s number; it needed to be swiped.
“Bless their hearts,” she said of the staff at Umpqua Bank. “They worked on getting it back together so we could use it.”
Scams are still out there, and the IRS continues to advise consumers to be wary of e-mails, phone calls or texts related to the payments. The IRS will not send unsolicited electronic communications asking people to open attachments, visit a website or share personal or financial information.
“If you get a credit card, check it out,” Fluharty said. “It could very well be your stimulus money.”