California taxpayers continue to see issues with tax refund debit cards

Some Californians who got their middle-class tax refunds via debit card are still having issues accessing their money, and this comes after months of announcements about inflation relief payments. Gov. Gavin Newsom said at the beginning of 2022 that the debit card was coming from the DMV. The Legislature then passed the budget with the settlement that instead of the DMV, the Franchise Tax Board would issue payments. more | Thieves drain California’s mid-tier tax refund debit cards. Here’s why KCRA 3 continues to receive emails and phone calls from all over the state from people with one of two problems. The first is that they see their card is empty of funds, and it looks like an unknown person is spending somewhere in Southern California. One saw spending from Laguna Niguel and Newark, NJ, another in Burbank—still more Anaheim or Orange County. Some used the card only to empty it days later. Others say they’ve never used it but find hundreds of dollars gone before using it for the first time, however, more calls and emails say the card has been activated, but when used, the card doesn’t work. I got direct deposits, there are also millions that haven’t. A Newsom spokesperson said on Friday that they’ve sent out 7 million cards. Many of them got cards because they changed banks or addresses; Others simply because they used their tax refund to pay for tax preparation services. | Related | Calif. Inflation Relief: More Mid-Range Tax Refund Debit Cards Are Arriving In The Mailboxes KCRA Has Asked 3 Answers About Fraud Or Computer Issues Anything About What Could Happen Either At The Franchise Tax Board Or At The Debit Card Seller: Money Network, LLC. Consumers say when they call the Money Network, if they aren’t on hold for hours, the phone line stops working on them. FTB refers callers back to the Money Network. Some emails say the claim investigation time will be more than 60 days. Others asked for a check and were told it would take 12 weeks. Viewers got various reasons, as they say, from the Money Networks operators. These range from a system-wide problem to a bunch of bad cards sent out to Californians. However, most of them said that they could not get anyone to help them. “There is no indication that this is a widespread problem. As with any FTB program, we are monitoring the situation closely,” FTB said. Then, the statement sent to the KCRA referred people to a website and phone number: Money Network, LLC. The Money Network contract, which was obtained by KCRA 3 Investigates, states that the company must “provide cutting-edge fraud prevention services with evidence of prevention. Fraud with a success rate of ninety-nine percent (99%) or higher. Contractor’s base score for fraud must be two two (2) lesser essentials.” within the fraud limit in her contract. “Again, we anticipated the possibility of malfunctions, fraud or other wrongdoing,” FTB said in the second email. FTB also shared some key points regarding debit cards to mitigate inflation. Debit cards have no value until activated using key personal information, recipients need to activate their cards to withdraw or transfer funds, and callers are advised to listen to all options when calling the MCTR customer service line for the transfer to take place properly. It also may not be instantaneous and callers have to call back later if they get disconnected. Lost debit cards can take up to 10 business days to be reissued. Scammers can target debit cards regardless of whether or not they have a chip. the Governor’s Office and the Franchise Tax Board the number of complaints they received; If Money Network is going to face any consequences for the problems taxpayers are having with the cards; If there is a computer or card problem, a hack or something else that prevents people from using their card; If there is fraud of some kind by hitting these cards. | more | California inflation relief debit cards are supposed to contain chip technology. So why don’t they? A spokesperson for the governor’s office said fraud investigations take too long to investigate. They added that taxpayers who were unable to get their cards to work should be able to obtain a new card by contacting the FTB. This process should not take more than two weeks. | Related | Got a mid-tier tax refund debit card? Here’s how to use it, and avoid the fees

Some middle-class Californians who got their tax refund via debit card are still having issues accessing their money.

This comes after months of announcements about inflation relief payments. Gov. Gavin Newsom said at the beginning of 2022 that the debit card was coming from the DMV. The legislature then passed the budget with the compromise that instead of the DMV, the Franchise Tax Board would issue the payments.

| more | Thieves drain California’s mid-tier tax refund debit cards. Here’s why

However, KCRA 3 continues to receive emails and phone calls from across the state from people with one of two problems.

The first is that they see their card is empty of funds, and it looks like an unknown person is spending somewhere in Southern California. One saw spending from Laguna Niguel and Newark, NJ, another in Burbank—still more Anaheim or Orange County. Some used the card only to empty it days later. Others say they never use it, only to find hundreds of dollars gone before their first use.

However, more calls and emails indicate that the card has been activated, but when used, the card does not work.

While millions of Californians have taken out direct deposits, there are also millions who have not. A Newsom spokesperson said on Friday that they’ve sent out 7 million cards. Many of them got cards because they changed banks or addresses; Others simply because they used their tax refund to pay for tax preparation services.

| Related | California Inflation Ease: More mid-tier tax refund cards are hitting the mailboxes

KCRA 3 was asking for answers about fraud or computer issues – anything about what could happen either at the Franchise Tax Board – or at the debit card seller: Money Network, LLC. Consumers say when they call the Money Network, if they aren’t on hold for hours, the phone line stops working on them. FTB refers callers to the Money Network.

Some emails indicate that the claim investigation time will be more than 60 days. Others asked for a check and were told it would take 12 weeks. Viewers got various reasons, as they say, from the Money Networks operators. These range from a system-wide problem to a bunch of bad cards sent out to Californians. However, most of them said that they could not get anyone to help them.

“There is no indication that this is a widespread problem. As with any FTB program, we are monitoring the situation closely,” FTB said.

The statement sent to KCRA then referred people to a website and phone number: Money Network, LLC.

The Money Network contract, which was obtained by KCRA 3 Investigates, states that the company must “provide cutting-edge fraud prevention services with evidence of fraud prevention with a success rate of ninety-nine percent (99%) or higher. To be two (2) basis points from less.

In a second email sent to KCRA 3, the FTB said Money Network was within the fraud limit set out in its contract.

“Once again, we anticipated the possibility of malfunctions, fraud or other wrongdoing,” FTB said in the second message.

FTB Bank also shared some key points regarding debit cards to mitigate inflation.

  • Debit cards have no value until activated with key personal information.
  • Recipients need to activate their cards to withdraw or transfer funds.
  • Callers are advised to listen to all options when calling the MCTR customer service line to be properly diverted. Transfers may also not be instantaneous and callers have to call back later if they are disconnected.
  • Lost debit cards can take up to 10 business days to be reissued.
  • Fraudsters can target debit cards regardless of whether they have a chip or not.

The KCRA has asked both the Governor’s Office and the Franchise Tax Board how many complaints they have received; If Money Network is going to face any consequences for the problems taxpayers are having with the cards; If there is a computer or card problem, a hack or something else that prevents people from using their card; And if there was just a fraud of some sort to hit these cards.

| more | California inflation relief debit cards are supposed to contain chip technology. So why don’t they?

A spokesperson for the governor’s office said fraud investigations take too long to investigate. They added that taxpayers who were unable to get their cards to work should be able to obtain a new card by contacting the FTB. This process should not take more than two weeks.

| Related | Got a mid-tier tax refund debit card? Here’s how to use it, and avoid the fees

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