Woman's request to put tax refund on pre-paid cards turns into fiasco

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- When it comes to getting your income tax refund, you want that money as quickly as possible.

So one woman opted to have her refund put onto a pre-paid card so she could access it quicker. What she got was the exact opposite.

The refund was sent to her Walmart Money Card and for a couple of hours all was well, and then the trouble started.

Peggy Vega sold her furniture to pay bills. Vega says she never expected to be this desperate for cash, especially after getting her IRS tax refund sent directly to her Walmart Debit Card Account.

"How am I supposed to pay my rent next month?" asked Vega.

The northside mother of two says the money landed in her account February 4. Vega spent some of the money that day. But hours later, her account was frozen.

"I went to go purchase something at Walmart and she says, 'It is declined,' and I am like, 'It can't be because I have money on on the card,'" said Vega, "and she said call the number on the back of the card and when I did call they put a block on it for suspicious activity."

Vega says she was told to send identification to Green Dot Bank, the bank that issues Walmart Money Cards.

Vega says she did that several times over the last eight days, but still had no access to her money.

So we called Green Dot Bank and two hours later Vega was finally able to access her money.

Green Dot Bank did not say why Vega was blocked from her account or why it took so long to unfreeze the account, but in a written statement Green Dot Bank told us:

"Green Dot regularly monitors all its accounts for unusual activity that indicates potential tax fraud. When such an indicator is triggered, the account is blocked until a Green Dot fraud specialist makes contact with the account holder to verify the legitimacy of the deposit."

Vega says it's never been a problem before but she won't get her refund this way again.

"Because they are giving me a hard time getting me my money that belongs to me," said Vega.

Vega used Turbo Tax to file her taxes and she is not the first person we've heard from who says they are having refund issues as well. We reached out to Turbo Tax but have yet to hear back from the company.
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