Work and Income payment cards blocked after attempts to sell them on Facebook

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
May 01, 2023 |

The Ministry of Social Development has taken action after Work and Income Payment cards, intended for emergency use, were being sold on Facebook.

Four people contacted Chris Lynch Media frustrated that “sellers were getting away with it.”

Work and Income Payment cards can’t be used to buy alcohol, cigarettes, vaping products, tobacco, gift cards, vouchers (this excludes phone top-ups), lotto tickets, non-essential appliances (such as an air fryer), or non-essential electronics (such as a gaming console).

But that hasn’t stopped at least two Christchurch sellers. In one case, a payment card with a credit of $595 was being sold for $200.

Ministry of Social Development General Manager Integrity and Debt Josie Smiler said “this allegation was brought to our attention last week and we blocked these funds from being used.”

“We have also taken steps to prevent any further misuse of payment cards by this client.”

Smiler said “funds loaded onto these cards are specifically for the essential items that the cardholder has been approved for.

They are not transferrable.

“Most people are honest and are entitled to the benefit assistance they receive. However, for a small group, this isn’t always the case. We follow up on all complaints about the misuse of payment cards.”

Smiler said there are several ways MSD detects and prevents potential fraud against the benefit system.

“These cases may come from public allegations, referrals from our front-line staff, information matching or referrals from other agencies, or from analysis undertaken by our Intelligence team.”

 It follows an incident where a Christchurch resident tried to sell a Playstation online after it was purchased at The Warehouse in Papanui using a WINZ Payment Card.

 If you are concerned someone may be committing benefit fraud, you can call us about it on 0800 556 006.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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