Stimulus debit cards aren’t scams, don’t throw them away

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Gourav Das
Gourav Das is an irreverent copywriter and business writing coach. He's on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs sparkle.

SALT LAKE CITY – The Better Business Bureau is telling consumers not to throw away that debit card they received in the mail, as it could be their second Economic Impact Payment.

The IRS and the Treasury Department are delivering EIPs as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021. Many Americans have received their EIP by a direct deposit to their bank account or in the form of a mailed check. The Treasury announced that the distribution of EIP Cards follows the direct deposit payments and the mailing of paper checks and are part of the plan to deliver payments as rapidly as possible.

The Better Business Bureau Serving Nothern Nevada and Utah has said they have received “dozens” of consumer reports regarding if the debit cards are legitimate or scams.

“It looks very much like a scam,” said one man to BBB in a prepared statement. Some consumers have submitted reports to BBB’s Scam Tracker, in an effort to help inform the community about what they think is the newest government imposter scam.

“It’s hard to know who to trust these days,” said Ty Nielsen of Salt Lake County. By the time he received his EIP debit card, it was after hours and too late to call to check on its validity. He checked multiple places and did not throw his card away.

“Just the simple rarity of getting a debit card in the mail is striking up red flags in people,” said Jane Rupp, President and CEO of BBB Serving Northern Nevada and Utah. “As it should! Generally speaking, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. But in this case, it isn’t.”

BBB is aware that scammers may send fake cards in the mail or convince consumers to part with their real ones. BBB has provided the following tips on how to recognize a legitimate EIP card:

  • EIP Cards are being sent in a white envelope with the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal.
  • The Visa name will appear on the front of the card; the back of the card has the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank, N.A.
  • The welcome kit explains more about the EIP card. Visit for more information and to see a sample image of the card.

BBB warns that scammers may try to text, call, or email you in an attempt to convince you to give up the card number or your personal information. Report any phishing or scam attempts to the IRS and file a report with BBB Scam Tracker to warn others not to fall for the scam.

Once the card has been verified:

  • Activate the card by calling the number provided, setting a 4-digit PIN
  • Sign the card.
  • Keep the card in a safe place.
  • Do not share the information on the card with anyone.
  • Use the card anywhere Visa cards are accepted and/or get cashback at a retailer or ATM. Note that most transactions are free, but certain uses could incur fees. For more questions, visit

We usually work really hard to tell people not to fall for the scams we see every day. This is the first time in a while where we’ve had to do the opposite,” said Rupp in a prepared statement. “Don’t throw away that debit card from the Treasury! It’s your stimulus!”

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