Following reports and complaints about poorly marked, prepaid debit cards being mailed to constituents for their stimulus payments, Congressman Anthony Brindisi took action to hold the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department accountable. During the pandemic, Brindisi is fighting to make sure Upstate gets the resources they deserve.

As part of the bipartisan CARES Act, most Americans are entitled to a $1,200 economic relief payment. The I.R.S. and Treasury Department, the agencies tasked with executing the payments, have been sending some payments on inconspicuous prepaid debit cards in poorly marked envelopes through the mail. This has resulted in confusion for many constituents and, in some cases, people have unwittingly thrown away their payment. When Brindisi learned of this he took action.

“I’ve heard from countless constituents who have received prepaid debit cards that look like they were made at a scam department, not the Treasury Department,” said Brindisi. “With things like misspellings, wrong names, and a non-governmental return address, struggling families are left to wonder if these cards are just another scam or the relief they desperately need. The Treasury Department and I.R.S. need to do better and I am demanding they fix this.”

Brindisi called on the Treasury Department and I.R.S. to improve their processes and answer questions about how this happened and what they will do to fix it. Brindisi outlined his plan of action marking seven key instructions for the agencies moving forward:

** Waive any and all replacement fees for individuals who may have lost their debit cards, including Americans who may have discarded their debit card after mistaking it for junk mail.
** Review IRS data in the coming weeks and identify individuals who were sent a debit card but never activated it, and appropriately follow up with those households to ensure they receive the economic impact payment they are due.
** Clearly identify on the outside of the envelope any subsequent mailed economic impact payments as being sent by or on behalf of the federal government.
** Review your process that resulted in incorrect names being printed on envelopes and cards and correct this problem for any future mailings.
** Abide by Congressional intent and ensure that users receive their full economic impact payment by waiving all fees for withdrawals at all ATMs.
** Oversee the creation of a free and easy method for individuals to transfer the full balance of their debit card to their checking account without the use of the internet.
** Work with the CFPB and any other relevant agency to conduct a public awareness campaign regarding potential scams related to these debit cards.