FBI warns of child-support card scam

Phishing scam targets single parents who use EPPICards, which work like debit cards and are promoted as alternative to child support payment checks

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation warned Friday that online scammers are now targeting single parents who use the EPPICard system to receive child-support payments.

The criminals are running a typical phishing scam, but one that is targeted at a new group of victims. "Individuals have reported receiving e-mail or text messages indicating a problem with their account. They are directed to follow the link provided in the message to update their account or correct the problem," said the FBI's Internet Crime Complain Center (IC3) in an advisory. "The link actually directs the individuals to a fraudulent Web site where their personal information, such as account number and PIN, is compromised."

In another scam, victims are asked to fill out an online survey and are then told that once they enter their account information, they will receive an EPPICard deposit as a token of thanks for their answers. Instead, their accounts are emptied by criminals.

EPPICards are issued by government agencies in 15 U.S. states. They work like debit cards and are promoted as an easy-to-use alternative to child support payment checks.

The EPPICard association also warns about the scam on its Web site. "We will never request your personal information such as social security number, card number or PIN through any of these methods," the warning reads. "Please do not respond to requests like these."

Scammers have also been trying to get this information via the telephone, the association warns.

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