Pennsylvania Class Action Claims EPPICard Child Support Debit Cards Vulnerable to Fraud
by Erin Shaak
Ray v. Conduent, Inc. et al.
Filed: May 24, 2022 ◆§ GD-22-006222
A class action alleges Conduent, Comerica and Mastercard have authorized and failed to reverse fraudulent charges made to debit cards issued for child support payments.
A proposed class action alleges Conduent, Comerica and Mastercard have authorized and failed to reverse “widespread” fraudulent charges made to debit cards issued in Pennsylvania for the payment of child support.
At issue in the eight-page case are EPPICards, a Mastercard issued by Comerica under a contract between Conduent and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Resources for the collection, processing and payment of child support. According to the suit, the defendants have failed to properly secure the cards against fraud and rebuffed cardholders’ attempts to report fraudulent transactions or have the charges reversed.
The case was filed by a Pennsylvania mother who says she was unable to block or reverse over $1,000 in fraudulent foreign transactions made to her EPPICard.
According to the suit, the plaintiff and other custodial parents were issued EPPICards that allowed them to make cash withdrawals or purchases using their child support funds. The case states that although security “chips” have been used in credit and debit cards since at least 2015 to prevent fraud, the defendants’ EPPICards do not utilize this technology.
Moreover, even though “[a]lmost all other debit card and credit card issuers” allow cardholders to block international and online transactions, the defendants do not, according to the suit.
The plaintiff says that beginning in June 2020, her EPPICard was fraudulently debited at least 16 times by a foreign entity listed on her statement as “Trinidad TNT.” Per the case, the plaintiff did not authorize or initiate any of the transactions at issue and, upon noticing the charges, immediately attempted to contact customer service.
The lawsuit says that after “multiple attempts” and hours on hold, the plaintiff finally reached a fraud department representative and was eventually told that the charges were determined to be legitimate.
Per the case, the plaintiff’s request for a refund was denied and Comerica refused to block any further charges by Trinidad TNT. Moreover, Comerica collected international transaction fees from the plaintiff’s account for the fraudulent transactions, according to the suit.
The case says the total fraudulent charges to the plaintiff’s account amounted to $1,033.14.
Though the plaintiff engaged the assistance of the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives Office, an attorney, and a reporter for NBC affiliate WPXI, who aired a story about the woman’s experience on May 23, the defendants “refused to answer any questions” and maintained that the charges to the plaintiff’s account were legitimate, the lawsuit relays.
The complaint notes that the plaintiff does not have a U.S. passport and has never been to Trinidad and Tobago.
In light of the foregoing, the lawsuit contends that the defendants’ representation that the EPPICard has fraud protection benefits is false.
The plaintiff suspects that “hundreds, if not thousands,” of other custodial parents with EPPICard Mastercards have similarly lost money due to fraud and were “rebuffed by Defendants in the same manner.”
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