If you use a EPPICard to access child support payments – watch out!

08 Sep If you use a EPPICard to access child support payments – watch out!

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott recently issued a consumer alert advising parents who use a EPPICard, known in Texas as the Texas Debit Card, to access their child support payments to be aware of a new identity theft scam that targets EPPICard users.  Fifteen states, including Texas, use the EPPICards to disburse child support payments.     The Internet Complaint Center  reports that EPPICard users are receiving e-mail, voice and text messages falsely indicating problems with their accounts.  The card user is then directed to update his/her account or correct the problem by clicking on a Web link included within the message.  The link directs the card user to a fraudulent Web site where his/her personal information, such as an account number and PIN, are put at risk.

EPPICard users have also reported receiving an email message offering payments to those who complete an online survey.  At the end of the survey, users are asked for their EPPICard account information so that funds can be credited to the account.   Again, the users are putting their financial information at risk when they provide the requested information.

EPPICard providers indicate they are not affiliated with survey Web sites and do not solicit personal information via e-mail and/or text messages.

Attorney General Abbott urges users of the Texas Debit Card to be vigilant and avoid this e-mail scheme.  He states parents should never open unsolicited e-mails or click on web links that appear in an unsolicited e-mail.  Doing so could activate hidden viruses or other malicious software or direct users to a decoy website that allows identity thieves to collect the information they need to empty the users’ bank accounts and ruin their credit.

Texas Debit Card users who have questions about their account should call the program’s toll-free hotline at 1-866-729-6159.  Customer service representatives are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Parents may also call the toll-free number to check account balances and obtain transaction histories.

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Jay S. Fleischman is a bankruptcy lawyer with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.
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