County warns of scam targeting custodial parents

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By Staff Report

A scam targeting child support custodial parents with smiONE debit cards is continuing to occur in Brunswick County.

Non-custodial parents may be contacted, as well, county spokeswoman Amanda Hutcheson said in a news release.

Scammers have been sending text messages claiming there is a problem with a person’s smiONE debit card, a type of debit card frequently used with child support. The exact wording of the text message varies, sometimes saying the card has been frozen or there is a fraud alert. The text message asks the recipient to call a phone number, and typically makes the matter seem urgent.

If the recipient of the text message calls the phone number, the scammers typically will ask for the person’s account number, Social Security number, or other identifying information “for verification,” Hutcheson said. Once the scammer has this information, he can access the money in the person’s smiONE card.

The text messages have also been sent to those who do not have smiONE cards, Hutcheson said.

While the text messages specifically refer to smiONE cards, System and Methods Inc., the company that provides the cards with Visa, has said it is not sending any text messages requesting that custodial parents call about the debit cards.

No one receiving such a text should reply to it or call the phone number listed in the text message.

If a custodial parent with a smiONE card has already called one of the scam numbers and provided information, he or she should immediately call the SMI Customer Service Help Desk at (877) 776-9759. The custodial parent should ask to cancel the card, and SMI will issue a new card.