SAN FRANCISCO (12/6/12)--People receiving unemployment benefits in California through a prepaid Bank of America debit card reported last week they have received phone calls trying to trick them into revealing their personal information.
Credit unions that have members with unemployment benefits cards may need to educate their members about the scam in case similar instances pop up in other states.
The phone calls target jobless Californians whose benefits are automatically replenished on the BofA card. California's Employment Development Department (EDD) switched to the cards during last summer.
The caller tells recipients that their EDD card has been temporarily blocked and to press No. 1 to be transferred to a security department. Once the recipients do so, they are told to enter their personal account information to reactivate their card.
EDD spokesman Dan Stephens told the San Francisco Chronicle (Dec. 2) that it's unlikely that the callers have specific information about recipients' records with the agency and added no evidence exists indicating hacking of EDD's records. He attributed the phone calls to random dialing. Some have received the calls on their cell phones.
More than 1.4 million people in California have been issued the cards, he said. It is one of 41 states that issue unemployment benefits through prepaid debit cards, said the article.