MoneyDon't Waste Your Money


Some people are inadvertently throwing away stimulus check debit cards

Couple says the mailing looked like a scam
Posted at 3:13 PM, Jan 19, 2021

As if waiting for a stimulus check to arrive wasn't frustrating enough, now it turns out some people are throwing their $600 away.

Jim Wallace almost tossed a letter he received in the mail the other day.

"I received a white envelope, with clear plastic on the top left corner and in the middle," Wallace said.

Nowhere was a U.S. Treasury or IRS return address in Washington, D.C. that would have indicated a stimulus payment.

"There was this address here with a little seal, and it didn't look like U.S. government mail. It looked like junk mail," Wallace said.

No indication it contained $600 payment

He was more confused when he opened it.

"There was a card inside," Wallace said.

A note with the card said Economic Impact Payment, which Wallace said assumed meant his stimulus. But nowhere did it say $600, so he still wasn't sure.

"It did not look like an official IRS letter," he said. "It did not. We almost tossed it aside. We almost threw it away."

The IRS now acknowledges that some people are tossing the cards in the trash, or cutting them up, assuming they are an attempt to get them to sign up for something.

It is now issuing an alert to watch for the cards in the mail, as it is your real stimulus check, just not in the form of a check.

Stimulus Debit Card.jfif
Stimulus debit card mailing

Why IRS is now using debit cards

The $1,200 checks last spring looked like typical tax refund checks from the U.S. Treasury.

But in an attempt to speed up the process this time, the IRS ordered several million pre-printed debit cards from Meta Bank. They don't say $600, as the figure was decided at the last minute.

So, the debit cards are legit.

But Wallace and his wife, Caroline, don't think the government should send out debit cards that come with an ATM fee for cashing it out.

"It's got all of these fees that are associated with it," she said, pointing to a list of $2 and $3 fees on the back. "So this sounded like a scam to us."

But it's not a scam -- it's your $600 stimulus.

Stimulus Debit Card2.jfif
Metabank Debit Card for Stimulus

If you accidentally threw yours away, you can request a new one by calling the IRS, if you can get through.

Or you may have to claim it on your federal income tax form.

So be careful, so you don't waste your money.


Don't Waste Your Money" is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. ("Scripps").

Like" John Matarese Money on Facebook

Follow John on Instagram @johnmataresemoney

Follow John on Twitter (@JohnMatarese)

For more consumer news and money saving advice, go to