A phone scam related to a new Virginia tax refund debit card has surfaced.
The Virginia Department of Taxation has received reports of telephone calls being made to people telling them their "Way2Go prepaid MasterCard is locked for security reasons."
The automated caller then tries to get the listener to divulge personal information.
"This is a scam," the agency said in a statement.
The Department of Taxation never makes automated calls and never solicits personal information in this manner. People who receive such calls should hang up immediately. If the call is recorded as a voice mail, delete it.
Beginning this year, taxpayers will be able to get state tax refunds in only two ways: by direct deposit or a debit card. Paper check refunds will no longer be available.
The debit card is new this year. It can be used the same way as a prepaid debit card for shopping, ordering online or paying bills online.
The agency said in a statement that taxpayers can be assured that the scam is not related to the security of the new tax refund debit card or any information taxpayers submit to the department.
"We are not sure how widespread the phone scam is," said Joel Davison, spokesman for the department. "We are working with the telephone companies involved, as well as the attorney general's office, to get to the bottom of this issue and stop the scam."
Davison said the department goes to great lengths to protect the confidentiality and privacy of taxpayer information. "Consumers should never give personal information to anyone calling unless they can verify the source," he said.
A division of Xerox Corp. administers the new Virginia tax refund debit card and refers to it as the "Way2Go" card.
For more information, call the agency at (804) 367-8031.