Top 3 EPPICard Fraud and How to Protect Yourself
EPPICard is a prepaid debit card, usually issued under the Visa or MasterCard brand that is used by a number of states to send child support, unemployment and other benefit funds to recipients. The convenience of the card is that the funds are automatically loaded onto the card, making it easy for recipients to access their funds. All EPPICards are managed by Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), which is owned by Xerox but each state contracts with a bank to issue their own card. Recently, EPPICard holders have been targets of fraud, prompting several states to issue fraud alerts to their card holders. However, the issue persists and the scams continue to grow in complexity. Here are the top 3:
1. Phishing Emails
Phishing emails involve receiving an email requesting that they log into their account and verify the account status. Usually, there is a link in the email that you are asked to click to verify your account information. Once you click on the link, it takes you to a phony site where your account information is then illegally captured while you attempt to log into your EPPICard account.
To avoid this scam, do not respond to suspicious emails that request that you verify your account information. If the email appears to be legitimate, call your EPPICard Customer Service to confirm before clicking on any link to verify your account status.
2. Fraudulent Charges on Card
This type of fraud happens when thieves obtain a person’s EPPICard information and begins to spend the funds on the card. In most cases, the entire balance on the EPPICard is spent before the card holder becomes aware of the issue. A recent example is documented by the New Jersey Star-Ledger where a Newark, NJ card holder’s account information was illegally obtained and used to purchase items at Staples in Washington DC totaling $600. The card holder found out about the illegal transactions when her card was denied when she attempted to make a purchase. That prompted her to check her card transactions, which led her to discover the fraudulent purchases. These types of fraud are hard to fight, even if the card holder can prove they did not use the card. It is therefore important to secure your EPPICard information.
To prevent this type of fraud, do not log into your EPPICard account from public computer stations, such as libraries and internet cafes. Also, be careful when using free public Wifi to access your account information. In addition, keep an eye on your EPPICard transactions and practice sound financial records disposal, including shredding your statements and other sensitive financial documents rather than throwing them away in the trash.
3. Text Message Fraud
Text message fraud is the newest form of EPPICard fraud, where cardholders that have signed up for balance alerts via their mobile phones receive text messages believed to be from EPPICard luring them to giving up sensitive personal information, which is then later used to either deplete the funds from their account or in case of social security and date of birth information – used to perpetrate identity theft.
To avoid this type of fraud, always be hesitant when you receive any communication, whether via text, email, or phone requesting you to verify account status or provide sensitive information to confirm an account status. The best way to handle these kinds of requests is to call the official customer service number for the card issuer – in this case, you will call your EPPICard Customer Service, and verify whether the request you received is legitimate. If it is a legitimate request, insist on performing the verification with them while you are on the phone. That way, you do not have to click on a link to verify your information, especially if you don’t trust the security of your computer or mobile device.