WASHINGTON - The crooks are at it again, trying to separate unsuspecting victims from their money with two new scams involving state and local government.
The Virginia Department of Taxation and Fairfax County police have issued warnings to residents about the unrelated financial schemes.
One scam is taking advantage of a change in Virginia's tax refund policy.
This is the first tax season that the state will no longer issue paper refund checks. Instead, Virginia taxpayers eligible for refunds must have their money directly deposited into a bank account or opt for a Way2Go prepaid Master Card.
Taxation Department spokesman Joel Davidson says some taxpayers have received calls telling them that the prepaid card is locked and can't be used until the taxpayer provides personal financial information.
"Stay away," Davidson warns. "Hang up. It's got nothing to do with the way we operate."
Like any debit or credit card, the prepaid card comes with instructions to activate it.
The second scam involves unsolicited emails that appear to be coming from the Fairfax County Police Department and feature official police emails, phone numbers and street addresses, police say.
The victims have been told to contact the Fairfax County police to claim a multi-million dollar inheritance.
Police say the emails are phony and to delete them immediately. The emails appear to be sent from outside the United States, making it harder to track down the culprits.
Police say they have received about a dozen calls from across the country about the emails. Those who may have sent money in relation to the scam can report it here.
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