Coronavirus stimulus prepaid cards mailed in plain envelopes are not junk mail, IRS cautions

'Please do not throw it away,' government pleads

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The IRS is in the process of sending out about 4 million economic impact payments loaded onto prepaid debit cards – but Americans may not recognize the stimulus cash when they see it.

The cards will arrive in a “plain envelope” from "Money Network Cardholder Services," the IRS said.

Unsuspecting individuals could mistake the envelope for junk mail or even a credit card promotion, especially since many people are likely not aware their payment will be arriving on a prepaid card instead of in the form of a check.

People cannot choose to have their payments sent this way. These 4 million individuals, who did not have direct deposit information on file with the tax agency, were selected by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service.

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The Visa name appears on the front of the card, and MetaBank – the Treasury Department’s financial agent – appears on the bank. That may further confuse individuals who do not hold an account with Visa and who are unfamiliar with MetaBank.

“If you receive a card that looks like this, please do not throw it away,” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau requested in an informational web video.

An information sheet included with the card will explain what it is.

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One sign you may have missed your card in the mail is if you receive a letter from the IRS, signed by President Trump, which details how much money you should have received.

These letters were expected to be sent two weeks after the economic impact payments.

So what should you do if you think you may have mistaken your prepaid card for junk mail?

One way you might want to address the issue is by calling the number at the bottom of the IRS letter, 800- 919-9835. The agency has recalled some staff who will be available to take phone calls.

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Further, if you believe you threw the card away or misplaced it, you can also follow directions specifically for the prepaid cards, which will allow you to block unauthorized transactions as well.

The government provides information for people whose card is lost or stolen, which directs them to log in at EIPCard.com to block unauthorized transactions and call 1-800-240-8100 to report it.

A spokesperson for the IRS directed FOX Business to the aforementioned web page for the cards, adding that the agency had nothing further to add at this time regarding what taxpayers should do if they think they may have accidentally trashed their payment.

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