Chicago woman's prepaid card stolen, tax return drained in just hours

A Chicago woman watched in horror as thieves drained her prepaid card, just days after getting her tax return.

So how can you make sure your account is protected?

Zola heard says she's been a loyal "Western Union Net Spend Customer" for 10 years.

“You can just wire me money from anywhere, and it comes straight to me,” she said.

Heard has her tax refund sent straight to the card and this year, the refund was about $6k.

“Never had an issue with them before,” she said.

Heard says she went to reach for her card a few days after the tax refund was deposited, but she couldn't find it. Heard called to report it missing, filed a police report and ordered a new card.

“When I checked my balance it said I have 15 dollars,” she said.

Turns out, Heard says her card was stolen with thieves making dozens of transactions, nearly draining her account. 

Heard was devastated because no one would help her, so she called FOX 32. 

FOX 32 reached out to Western Union, which referred us to Netspend. The company told us it can't comment on a specific customer case, but it did reach out to Heard.

After we got involved, Heard told us Netspend refunded her $600 and they are still investigating.

But it turns out, they didn't have to. Experts say prepaid cards don't offer the same protections as credit cards and to treat a prepaid card like cash, which is something to keep in mind when deciding where to deposit your refund.

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