State insists child support debit card system is safe - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

State insists child support debit card system is safe

Posted: Updated:
Donna Johnson Donna Johnson
  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Smack down on Cancer at the State Theater

    Smack down on Cancer at the State Theater

    Saturday, April 19 2014 11:54 PM EDT2014-04-20 03:54:50 GMT
    Wrestlers from all over Georgia and Florida were in town for the Smack Down on Cancer Event at the state theater. More >>
    Wrestlers from all over Georgia and Florida were in town for the Smack Down on Cancer Event at the state theater. More >>
  • Americus student honored in statewide design contest

    Americus student honored in statewide design contest

    Saturday, April 19 2014 7:59 PM EDT2014-04-19 23:59:05 GMT
    Indira Zelaya, a fourth grader from Sarah Cobb Elementary School in Americus, was honored in Atlanta recently for her artwork supporting Georgia's manufacturing industry.  She was nominated by South GeorgiaMore >>
    Indira Zelaya, a fourth grader from Sarah Cobb Elementary School in Americus, was honored in Atlanta recently for her artwork supporting Georgia's manufacturing industry.  She was nominated by South Georgia Technical College.More >>
  • Swimming pool destroyed after storm

    Swimming pool destroyed after storm

    Saturday, April 19 2014 7:32 PM EDT2014-04-19 23:32:11 GMT
    An Albany man arrived home to find his pool completely destroyed. He's not sure what happened, but the wall caved in and the concrete cracked. He says he's had the siding redone several times.More >>
    An Albany man arrived home to find his pool completely destroyed. He's not sure what happened, but the wall caved in and the concrete cracked. More >>
Louisville, KY -

By Chris McGill - bio | email

LOUISVILLE (WAVE) - Donna Johnson of Louisville received her child support payments each month via a state provided debit card. In July, Johnson went online to check to see if the latest deposit had been made. The funds from her ex-husband had indeed been deposited earlier in her account, but it's what else she noticed that Johnson says terrified her.

"Within a few hours there were about ten charges all from the same company, some National Express, which I don't know what that is, totaling almost the entire amount of my child support!"

Johnson called U.S. Bank, the company that issued the card. They passed her off to another company called ReliaCard - its logo also appears on her debit card.

According to the U.S. Bank / ReliaCard website, "the U.S. Bank ReliaCard Visa is a cost-effective funds transfer solution available to government agencies with recurring disbursements."

Relia-Card told Johnson that the charges were still pending but they would have to wait until they actually cleared before the company could do anything about it. That upset Johnson even more and she turned to us for help.

"My concern is that they had no interest in helping me whatsoever until you got involved," Johnson said. "And then they were very quick to fix it."

Within a week of our phone call, Johnson saw results: the company refunded all of the money that had been withdrawn from her account.

There was some concern as to how an individual or organization was able to automatically withdraw funds from a state provided account. We called the Cabinet for Health & Family Services in Frankfort to see if their system had been hacked and if other customers had reported such fraud on their accounts. Steve Veno, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Income and Support, told us this was an isolated incident and that the department's system is totally secure.

"Actually, we contract with a debit card company who provides the security for their cards and of course our statewide computer system, where the money comes through, is very secure," according to Veno, who told us the Relia-Card debit card system is "very secure."

"Whenever though you use your card - you know on the internet to shop - you know you have to exercise due caution as everyone does, not just this particular debit card," Veno said.

Veno offered other solutions to prevent such theft from occurring.

"The one I would recommend the most is electronic funds transfers, or direct deposit," said Veno. "That's the most secure way and it's actually going into your bank account."

Johnson claims that the last time she used that debit card was not online, but at the Auburn University bookstore buying supplies for her son. In order to avoid any future problems, Johnson decided to no longer use the state supplied debit card for her child support money. She's now having those monies deposited directly into her personal account.

If you or someone you know has had a problem with the child support debit card system, please click here to email Chris McGill.

Copyright 2010 WAVE. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow