AARP state offices and the Fraud Watch Network are great resources for finding out when something is a scam – and for when it isn’t.
That was the experience of one Iowa member who was about to throw away a suspicious brown envelope when a social media video from AARP Iowa alerted him that it just might contain his stimulus check, in the form of a debit card.
This June the IRS mailed out 4 million debit cards pre-loaded with economic stimulus funds for people without direct deposit information on file. Unfortunately, there were a number of factors that made these cards look suspicious. They came in a plain brown envelope from an unknown third party, there was little advance alert that funds would be distributed this way and to activate the card individuals had to input their Social Security numbers.
“We spend a lot of time talking with Iowans about recognizing the warning signs that something might be a scam, and these cards came with a lot of those red flags,” said AARP Iowa Director Brad Anderson. “Right away we started getting calls from people across the state wanting to know if they were legitimate or not. Once we learned they were, we knew we had to spread the word.”
They did that by talking to the media, sending emails and using a new virtual tool; Facebook Live. It was on Facebook that Al Flieder from Marion found them. Just before, as luck would have it, he went to the garbage can.
“I was wondering where the heck my check was. Low and behold it was in a very unsuspecting envelope,” said Al. “I can imagine numerous people have cast them aside. It looks like a standard credit card solicitation I would have thrown away.”
Al credits the AARP Iowa with saving him “a lot of hassle.” Individuals who have discarded their card have had to contact the IRS to request a replacement.