Tax Refunds Just Too Good To Be True

By: Lauren Schmoll Email
By: Lauren Schmoll Email

LINCOLN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Every once in a while as tax time rolls around, you'll get a little bigger refund than you expected. Typically that's a good thing. Unless you're Lisa Clay, and that money isn't all yours.

“My husband's like, ‘Oh my God, we could go to jail,’” Clay said. “And I said, ‘Not if we don't touch the card!’ ”

The debacle started Thursday morning. Her tax refund became available on her Emerald Card, a prepaid card issued by H&R block loaded with customers' tax refund money. When she checked the balance, it was double what it should've been.

“So I gave it a little more time,” Clay said. “About 10 in the morning, I checked it again. Now I have almost $30,000 in my account, which is more than I make in a year.”

Even though Lisa had been looking forward to using her refund money, she knew better than to try.

“I was scared to death,” Clay said. “Can you imagine? I wouldn't touch this card. I wouldn't go the store. I wouldn't ... actually I did. In the afternoon, I did. I checked it at this ATM. It said on the receipt, ‘The bank requests we retain your card.’ Well I took off.”

Eventually, the affected Emerald Cards were frozen. But Clay worries about folks who may have used the cards -- not realizing the error.

“Oh wow, you know, I just hit the jackpot,” Clay said. “Down payment on a new house ... Here ya go!”

H&R Block says the issue affected only a small number of customers, although they could not tell us how many.

They also say the issue was a technical problem with their bank card’s processor, and it has now been resolved.

They don't foresee any future complications.

If you have any questions, you can call the number on the back of your Emerald Card.

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