IRS Alerts Millions of Americans to Check Their Mail for Stimulus Debit Cards

May 28, 2020 Updated: May 28, 2020

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that people need to check their mail this week for stimulus payments, saying that prepaid debit cards are being mailed out in plain envelopes.

“Check your mail. Millions of people are getting Economic Impact Payments by prepaid debit card mailed in plain envelopes from Money Network Cardholder Services,” the agency wrote in a statement on May 27.

In a separate news release, the IRS alerted eligible recipients that the cards are being mailed “in [a] plain envelope” from “Money Network Cardholder Services.”

“Nearly 4 million people are being sent their Economic Impact Payment by prepaid debit card, instead of paper check. The determination of which taxpayers received a debit card was made by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, a part of the Treasury Department that works with the IRS to handle distribution of the payments,” according to the IRS, which said that people who receive the prepaid debit cards can make purchases online with them, get cash from ATMs, transfer money to their bank accounts, or check the available balance.

Some people told local news outlets that they were confused by the IRS’s choice to send prepaid debit cards, as they appear similar to pre-approved credit cards contained in junk mail.

“My husband looked at it, briefly read it and he said, ‘Do you want this?’ And I said, ‘I don’t need another fake card,’ so he cut it up in little pieces,” Bonnie Moore of Florida told WINK. “The next thing you see is I am in the garbage can trying to pull out all of the pieces together, which did not work.”

The card also didn’t include any federal insignia and had a return address from Omaha, Nebraska, according to their neighbor, who was not identified. “Doesn’t sound like the federal government to me,” he told the station.

Meanwhile, the Nassau County District Attorney’s office in New York and the police department in Belmont, Massachusetts, wrote that the cards are “not a scam.”

The Iowa attorney general’s office stated that it received dozens of calls about the stimulus cards last week.

“People were very confused wondering what these were,” a spokeswoman told a local NBC affiliate. “They were throwing these in the garbage.”

The IRS and the Treasury Department have not responded to a request for comment.

According to a FAQ section on the IRS website, the cards can be replaced for a fee of $7.50. For those who are still waiting for a payment, go to the IRS’s Get My Payment website or app to find out the projected date when a deposit has been scheduled.

The IRS and Treasury Department have sent out more than 100 million stimulus payments as of May, including payments of up to $1,200 for individuals. That was included in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in Congress and signed into law in March.