Over 8 million debit cards have been sent to California residents loaded with up to $1,250. But someone forgot to put the Chip on those cards, and the cards have become a skimmers haven.
ABC7 news reports, “A growing number of Californians are reporting that scammers have drained their inflation relief debit cards, prompting one state lawmaker to raise alarms about what appears to be rampant “remote fraud” akin to the EDD fraud scandal of 2020.
When will we ever learn? 🤦
The Debit Cards Were Part Of the Inflation Relief Program
The debit cards are part of the inflation relief payments promised earlier this year to help with increased gas and cost of living. The state legislature and governor agreed to send Californians who file income tax making less than $500,000.
The state contracted with the Money Network , and paid them $25 million to issue the cards. But Money Network never manufactured those cards as Chip Cards, leaving the program open to widespread fraud.
Worse Than EDD Fraud – “Fraud By Remote Control”
According to Jim Patterson, this could be worse than the state’s horrible EDD fraud that occurred last year.
He says it’s fraud by “remote control”.
“This appears to be even potentially worse than the EDD problems with fraud,” state Assm. Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), said. “And the reason I say that is, it looks like this actually is fraud by remote control. Apparently, these fraudsters can drain these accounts without having the card in their possession but also having the pin numbers. Somebody or a group of somebodies are doing this, perhaps on the dark web. And they’re pushing buttons, and they’re draining accounts.”
Jim Patterson reports that his office is flooded by people complaining their cards have been compromised.
It Goes Beyond Skimming According To Authorities
But it’s not just skimming, according to authorities investigating the matter. Fraudsters apparently used dark web data and insiders to steal account information.
And this could be a case of insider fraud. People across the state are saying once they activate their card, they find the remaining balance is empty. So that would rule out skimming since the cards were never used.
According to CBS8 news some people think its an inside job too – including John Gonnerman who lives in the state.
“I suspect somebody basically invaded the card issuer,” John Gonnerman said, “because to use a debit card versus credit, you need to have a pin number, and so somehow, they’ve got the pin number registry.”
Apparently, Money Network is not much help in fixing the matter. Frustrations are mounting.
“Unfortunately, when we try to reach the Franchise Tax Board, and then when we try to reach the vendor, the Money Network, we are not even getting responses,” Patterson said. “if I can’t reach them, my goodness, our constituents are going to have a hard time reaching them.”
Telegram Is Buzzing About The California Program
You can usually reference Telegram’s fraud channels to understand if authorities are right about a program and that certainly is the case with this Middle-Class Tax Refund.
Telegram is buzzing about how “lit” and easy it is to defraud this new program in California.