This week, I got an unsolicited NetSpend debit in the mail. It had my name on it and looked like a normal credit or debit card. Except I didn’t open a NetSpend account. So I did some searching to find out why I got a NetSpend card in the mail.
For some people who were receiving stimulus payments from the government, if they didn’t have your banking information when it was time for a stimulus, you may have received a NetSpend card in the mail with your stimulus money. These stimulus payments were sent three times between April 2020 through December of 2021, so it’s been nearly a year. I don’t think this NetSpend card is stimulus money (plus the IRS has my banking info and trust me, I pay attention when they owe me money).
When I was searching, I saw a lot of people commenting about receiving a NetSpend card in the mail and worrying that this was some form of identity theft and that an account had been opened in their name. While that can always be a concern, I wasn’t too worried about that being the case here – because if someone wanted to open up an account in my name, wouldn’t they need the card in their possession? And since it was a debit card and not a credit card, I wasn’t sure how they would benefit even with the number – it wasn’t like I was contributing any money to the account. Still, never bad to look more into the issue.
It turns out that the NetSpend card I received was actually a solicitation. In very very fine print on the paper the card was stuck to, it said that the card was being sent for purposes of solicitation and that by activating the card, I was agreeing to the terms and conditions that came with the account. This feels very shady, especially knowing that many people have received NetSpend cards in the mail and may just assume that it’s another stimulus check coming their way. And these cards charge you to check your balance and have all sorts of fees attached. Definitely feels very scammy to me.
So if you’ve received a NetSpend card in the mail and aren’t expecting one, definitely look into it before just activating the card. It could be legitimate, or it could be a scam trying to get you to sign up with them.
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Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.