4:48 PM EST, February 5, 2013
Virginia is doing something new this year for taxpayers. As a cost cutting measure, the state will no longer mail refund checks except in extenuating circumstances.
This year, Virginians have the option of getting their refund through direct deposit or a prepaid debit card that will be mailed to you. With a debit card though, there could be some hidden fees attached.
"If you have a checking account, cash it into your checking account right away. You're allowed one free one with the bank. The second one there are fees with it. Also, don't put it away and forget about it because after 12 months, they'll put it into the unclaimed property division," says Charles Equi, a Roanoke tax consultant.
Equi says, if you activate your debit card and don't use if for six months, you're going to get charged a $3 fee for every month you don't use it.
Finally the most important thing, scam artists have already found a way to cheat you out of the money on your debit card. They are calling people, saying that something is wrong with it and asking for social security numbers and addresses. Financial consultants and the state taxation department warn, no one legit is going to contact you by phone; they will alert you of problems and ask for additional information only in writing.
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