stimulus checks

NBC 5 Responds: Fact Check on IRS Debit Cards

If you receive a plain envelope from a place called, Money Network Cardholder Services with a debit card in it, don't throw it away

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The government issued millions of stimulus payments in April and May, but millions of people are still waiting for their checks to come.

Several viewers have reached out to NBC 5 Responds about receiving a suspicious-looking debit card that came in the mail and wonder if it’s a scam.  Turns out, the card is legit but may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

Chuck Gokoo and his wife Cynthia have been patiently waiting for their stimulus payment.

“When they started the second round, I waited and I waited and nothing happened,” said Gokoo.

But when it finally came in the mail, it wasn’t what they expected.

“You can imagine my surprise when this showed up and I didn’t know what it was,” said Gokoo.

It arrived in a plain envelope from a place called, Money Network Cardholder Services and it contained what appeared to be a credit card.

“It’s funny because my name didn’t have my middle initial. Every credit card I’ve ever had has my middle initial and I thought now we’re down to scam mail.

Gokoo was convinced the card was fake and almost shredded it. Even our NBC 5 Responds consumer-producer didn’t think it was real.

But as it turns out, it’s legit. The IRS tells NBC 5 they issued economic impact payments to four-million people in the form of a prepaid debit card. 

Gokoo said he couldn’t find any information about the card on the IRS website or the “get my payment” link.

“I think it was poorly handled the way they made the announcement,” said Gokoo.

The Federal Trade Commission even issued a consumer alert and the Consumer Protection Bureau created a video to explain the card.

If you received a card you’ll be able to get cash, request a check or use it anywhere that accepts a VISA debit.

But beware of the hidden fees.

You’ll be charged 25 cents for each balance inquiry at an ATM and $2 for each out-of-network ATM withdrawal.

And if you lose it or toss it out like Chuck almost did, it will cost you to get a new one

A few days after Gokoo got the card, the IRS finally put something up online confirming these cards are real. The information is not easy to find on their site but with some digging we were able to find it.

And while Gokoo and his wife were happy they didn’t have to wait until summer for their payment, they said the IRS made the whole process more confusing than it should have been.

One way to avoid those fees is to do what Gokoo did. He took the card to his bank and took the full amount out and put it in his personal checking account.

NBC 5 Responds is committed to researching your concerns and recovering your money. Our goal is to get you answers and, if possible, solutions and resolution. Call us at 844-5RESPND (844-573-7763) or fill out our Customer Complaint form.

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