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Some stimulus funds come via prepaid card

This mistake has undoubtedly tripped up others, so don’t let it happen to you.

Mike Berlin, who lives in the East Mountains, says he nearly threw out his Economic Income Payment from the federal government because it looked exactly like a credit card solicitation.

The so-called stimulus payments come in the form of prepaid debit card or paper check. The Internal Revenue Service says about 4 million Americans are getting the debit cards, which arrive in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.”

“It looked very much like a typical credit card solicitation, including getting my name wrong,” Berlin says.

He complained to the state Attorney General’s Office, which has gotten other complaints as well, says spokesman Matt Baca.

On the debit card, the Visa name will appear on the front. The back says the issuing bank is MetaBank, N.A, (national association.), according to the Internal Revenue Service. Included with the card is information explaining that this is your stimulus payment from the government.

Those who get the cards can use them, without fees, to make purchases anywhere Visa is accepted, They also can be used get cash from in-network ATMs and to transfer money to a personal bank account. Card balances can be checked online, by app or by phone, the IRS says.

The agency is also warning about payment-related scams using email, phone calls or texts.

“The IRS will not send unsolicited electronic communications asking people to open attachments, visit a website or share personal or financial information,” the IRS says.

For more information about the cards, go to www.irs.gov/eipfaq.

 

Here’s a twist on the many scams invoking Public Service Company of New Mexico.

Customers have gotten calls claiming to be from the utility, threatening fines and/or termination of service if they failed to make arrangements to have a new meter installed.

Customers are given a phone number that they must call for meter installation if they want to avoid the consequences.

PNM saw 17 reports of this scam, or similar ones, at the end of May in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Belen, Bernalillo and Silver City, spokeswoman Shannon Jackson said.

Jackson said of the threats, “It is never part of PNM procedure, in any circumstance, to take that action.”

 

More unproven coronavirus treatments to be aware of: intravenous vitamin C and D infusions, supposed stem cell therapy and immunity-boosting shots.

The FTC says there is no evidence that these treatments work against the virus and that they violate truth-in-advertising laws.

The agency so far has sent more than 160 warning letters to companies and individuals regarding questionable coronavirus-related marketing.

Contact Ellen Marks at emarks@abqjournal.com or 505-823-3842 if you are aware of what sounds like a scam. To report a scam to law enforcement, contact the New Mexico Consumer Protection Division toll-free at 1-844-255-9210​.

 

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