Eppicard | Scammers target state payment debit cards

Red ATM machines

Eppicards can be used the same as a standard debit card. Image from Flickr.

There are currently 19 U.S. states that use Eppicard to process and distribute state payments. Recently, Eppicard users have been the target of phishing scams. Are Eppicards an effective way for states to distribute benefits?

How Eppicard is used

The Eppicard system is a third-party “servicing” company that provides financial services for states. In 19 states, Eppicards are used to provide child support, unemployment and state benefit payments. In general, an Eppicard works very much like a debit card – the payment is deposited into an Eppicard account, and then the money is debited electronically when the card is used at an ATM or store.

Eppicards targeted by phishing

In Ohio, many Eppicard users are being targeted by e-mail and text message phishing scams. Eppicard users are receiving messages asking for them to update their Eppicard PIN. The Eppicard users are told that they need to update their information in order to get a personal loan or continue accessing their account. If Eppicard customers use the fake link or text message to “update” information, the scam artist empties their accounts. The FBI and state benefit agencies have issued warnings to rely only on www.eppicard.com or the state agency for information on Eppicard accounts.

Are Eppicards best for benefits?

The Eppicard system is, in general, a contractor for state benefits. The Eppicard system does offer benefits for some users; because they look and act like debit cards, Eppicards can be much simpler to use than other available benefit systems. However, Eppicard has garnered multiple complaints for business practices that look more like a Rush Card than a public service. Eppicard charges as much as $1 for every ATM transaction. Calling Eppicard customer service also creates an additional charge. Card replacement, denial of funds, overdraft fees and even balance inquiries end up with charges. While the Eppicard may be simple for states to use, there are concerns that the additional charges are taking advantage of people receiving state benefits. Most states, though, provide an alternative to the Eppicard, such as paper checks or direct-deposit systems.

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