Many of us make big plans for those huge refunds. We spoke with one south valley victim who says her tax refund plans are all washed up.
"This time of year, I don't have to worry. If my kids want something, I can give it to them. And they took that away from me."
Drea Reyes was due a $7,100 tax refund. She wanted to get some of it early, so she had H&R block put it on the company's emerald card, which is like basically a prepaid debit card.
She got maybe $500 of her refund.
It's all because of a text message she got just over a week ago.
"I thought there was in fact something wrong with my card and the text message resembled H&R Block and I figured it was safe."
She thought there was something wrong with her emerald card. So, she called H&R block. That's when she found out she was being scammed.
"They said there was withdraws all over California, mostly LA, and some huge online purchase. Basically, the entire account was cleaned out."
She first got a text message about two weeks ago. Her refund was deposited into the Emerald Card account on February 1st. That same day, she got another text. It was two days later that her money was gone.
H&R block has been getting calls from across the country, and now from Drea in Visalia. Thousands who have this Emerald Card are getting text messages like the ones she got, and then losing thousands.
H&R Block says it's a phishing scam, and these phishers are getting the info they need.
Unfortunately, the Better Business Bureau says, because it's a phishing scam, it's not likely customers will get their money back.
H&R block issued a statement in response to the scam:
"We believe the text was sent by someone with a random list of cell phone numbers, and we have no reason to believe H&R Block's systems have been compromised. We're advising recipients not to respond to the text, not to call the number provided, and not to offer any personal information whatsoever. H&R block does not send text or other messages asking clients to provide, update, or confirm sensitive data."
Many like Drea are spinning their wheels trying to get through to H&R block for help. The Better Business Bureau says if this has happened to you, to be patient. H&R Block says it's addressing customers individually.
If you're an Emerald Card holder and you think you've received a phony H&R Block text, the number to call is 866-353-1266.
You can also find some information on our website, from H&R Block, about how to protect yourself from fraudulent e-mails and texts. Just go to KSEE24.com, and click on newslinks.