Investigate unsolicited cards in the mail before tossing them

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Tim Wright found a prepaid debit card offer in his mailbox but says he knew he hadn't applied for any new cards. (Source: CBS 5) Tim Wright found a prepaid debit card offer in his mailbox but says he knew he hadn't applied for any new cards. (Source: CBS 5)
Wright says NetSpend also told him they initially flagged the card because it was opened in Georgia but mailed to Arizona. (Source: CBS 5) Wright says NetSpend also told him they initially flagged the card because it was opened in Georgia but mailed to Arizona. (Source: CBS 5)
NetSpend told CBS 5 News that, in some cases, they do send prepaid cards out unsolicited, but that wasn't the case with Wright where fraud was involved. (Source: CBS 5) NetSpend told CBS 5 News that, in some cases, they do send prepaid cards out unsolicited, but that wasn't the case with Wright where fraud was involved. (Source: CBS 5)
GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Glendale man says he's concerned about identify theft after getting an odd card offer in the mail that he initially thought he should just toss in the trash.

Most card offers you get in the mail require you to take some action to activate the card so many times just cutting it up and throwing it out is fine. But other times that card may have been opened by an identity thief and you'll only know if you investigate.

A couple weeks ago, Tim Wright found a prepaid debit card offer in his mailbox. It was from a company called NetSpend. Wright says he knew he hadn't applied for any new cards.

"I had two concerns, one, did someone order this in my name, or is this just a marketing stunt on their part trying to get people to sign up," Wright said.

Wright thought he better check it out. He says he called NetSpend and a rep told him it was strictly a marketing promotion. Wright wasn't satisfied so he wrote to NetSpend's legal team asking, "Did anyone request this card or did you send it out unrequested?"

"And his response, very clearly, was, yes, somebody requested the card, that somebody initiated the account in Smyrna Georgia by putting $10 on the card," Wright said.

Wright says NetSpend also told him they initially flagged the card because it was opened in Georgia but mailed to Arizona.

"You were concerned that this was fraud when this account was opened on Sept. 28, but you never notified me and you sent the card out," Wright said.

Companies should contact any person they think is being defrauded but they don't always do. Wright did right. He didn't assume harmless marketing, he assumed someone had applied for the card in his name.

"If you get something in the mail that you didn't request, look into it very closely and find out where it came from," Wright said.

NetSpend told CBS 5 News that, in some cases, they do send prepaid cards out unsolicited, but that wasn't the case with Wright where fraud was involved. NetSpend says once they suspected fraud, they restricted the use of the card pending further verification but still mailed it out because the crook in Georgia had most of Wright's pertinent personal information. The card has now been closed.

Again, thinking an unrequested prepaid card in the mail is just a promotional offer is a bad assumption that could get you in trouble. Investigate and have it closed, don't just toss it.

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Dave CherryCBS 5 Advocate Dave Cherry works to resolve your consumer problems and protect your money. If he can't help, he'll do his best to point you in the right direction.

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Dave Cherry
CBS 5 Advocate

Dave was born and raised in Philadelphia and considers himself one of the biggest Philly sports fans. At 6-feet, 5-inches, he's probably right! Dave started on a different career path before fulfilling his lifelong dream of reporting the news and helping consumers. Dave graduated from Philadelphia University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting; he later earned an MBA degree in Finance from Temple University in Philadelphia. Dave also spent ten years as Vice President and Director of Sales and Marketing for two of America's leading real estate franchise companies. Dave started his 21-year news career at WHP in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as news anchor and reporter, then moved to KOLD in Tucson, as the morning news anchor. From Tucson, he went to KRON in San Francisco as a freelance news reporter before moving east to COMCAST in Philadelphia as a general assignment reporter. In the fall of 2003, Dave moved west and joined KPNX in Phoenix and spent nine years as the station Call for Action Consumer Reporter. Through his on-air advocacy work in 2011, Dave and his team were able to help consumers save more than $1 million. Dave joined CBS 5 News as our CBS 5 Advocate in December 2012. Dave is a vegan and likes to eat the amazing vegan food prepared by his lovely wife, Carmen. Dave's also a big Bruce Springsteen fan (he's seen more than 70 shows!), the man who inspired him to learn the guitar. Besides playing many of the boss' songs, Dave writes and sings his own songs and recorded a CD of original music.

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