Big Thicket Messenger - Local News
Stories Added - September 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company

Scam targets Texas debit card child support users
Big Thicket Messenger - September 2008

Parents who use the Texas Debit Card to access their child support payments should beware of a new identity theft scam that targets EPPICard users. The Texas Attorney General’s Office and government agencies in 14 other states use EPPICards, which are known locally as the Texas Debit Card, to disburse child support payments.

According to the Internet Complaint Center, EPPICard users nationwide have reported receiving e-mail, voice and text messages falsely, indicating problems with their accounts. Card users are directed to update their accounts or correct a problem by clicking on a Web link included within the message. The link directs the individuals to a fraudulent Web site where their personal information, such as account number and PIN is compromised. Recipients of these messages also may be directed to call a phone number.

EPPICard users have also reported receiving an e-mail 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.

By providing the requested information, users put their financial information at risk.

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

Texas Debit Card users should be vigilant and avoid this new twist on old e-mail scheme. 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 Web site that allows identity thieves to empty the users’ bank account and ruin their credit.

Texas Debit Card users who have questions about their account should call the program’s toll-free number at (866) 729-6159.

Customer service representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Parents also may call the toll-free number to check account balances and obtain transaction histories.

More than 280,000 Texas parents served by the child support program use the Texas Debit Card as a convenient alternative to receiving child support payments by cash or check.

Parents who receive fraudulent e-mails regarding account information or survey requests should notify the Internet’s complaint Center by filing an online complaint at www.ic3,gov.



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