The Attorney General's Office is warning Washington residents that they should not provide Social Security numbers, bank accounts or other personal information to callers claiming to be from the government. Washington consumers who receive benefits have previously reported receiving calls from cons posing as government employees. Government agencies will never call or e-mail you to ask for your bank account or Social Security number; they already have the information.
If past events are any indication, cons are likely to start working the phone lines after today's announcement about the availability of a new prepaid debit card to receive federal benefits.
The U.S. Treasury Department announced last week that more than 2 million Social Security recipients in a dozen Western states, including Washington, will receive information about the Direct Express Debit MasterCard along with their monthly checks this month.
According to the federal government, the new card can be used to pay bills or draw cash. There is no sign-up fee and no bank account is required. Senior citizens, people with disabilities and other Social Security and Supplemental Security Income recipients may sign up by calling toll-free 1-877-212-9991 or visiting www.USDirectExpress.com. The cards are issued by Dallas-based Comerica Bank.