12 ON YOUR SIDE: Tax return debit card fake phone number

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Virginia tax payers are looking for answers to questions about the new state tax return debit cards.

Recognize this number? 888-555-1212. Maybe you've seen it in TV info-mercials. It's also on some 'Way2Go' debit card statements.

Christa Vidonic called the number angry about built-in charges. She didn't get customer service.

"You get an operator saying that it's invalid when you try to call it," said Vidonic. "That was probably the kicker for me."

•  How did a dummy number get on official statements?

"When Xerox was setting up their go program card holder account statement, they put a dummy number in there as a place holder," said Joel Davison, PR manager for the Virginia Department of Taxation. "Their developer never replaced those with the real numbers, unfortunately."

The state says it only happens when online statements are printed. A working number will replace the dummy number this week.

•  Some people gave their banking information but didn't get direct deposit. They did not want the card. They wanted direct deposit but they got the card anyway.

"Okay, these people filed paper returns first of all. This wouldn't happen if you file electronically. But, we want to correct this."

The state says it will cancel the card and give you direct deposit if that was your original intent.

•  Who's making money off the fees?

"The state's not making money off the fees. Xerox is administering the program at no cost to the Commonwealth, at least saving us $200,000".

Davison says Xerox makes money from fees, but you can transfer funds to your bank account for free - although, 14 people were charged and later reimbursed. The state says it's fixed now.

•  How do you respond to people who feel like they are being scammed?

"They're definitely not being scammed. But we do feel for those people. We wish they didn't feel that way, but really this is a new program with new moving parts in it."

•  Going back to paper checks?

It's not happening. Davison says more than 300,000 debit cards being used and the program is successful. He says they got more calls last year, when there were no debit cards.

If you still need answers, call 1-804-367-8031. You can also go online to: tax.virginia.gov - click 'live chat'.

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