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IRS Warns of Identity Theft Scam Targeting College Students, Faculty

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What You Need to Know

  • A new scheme targets people with .edu email addresses.
  • Suspicious emails that display the IRS logo ask recipients to click on a link to obtain their tax refund.
  • Taxpayers who may have fallen victim to the scheme have several recourses.

Scammers are relentless in their pursuit of a fast buck at the expense of unwary or gullible taxpayers.

Consider their latest scheme: targeting people with email addresses that end in “.edu,” including students and staff at educational institutions.

The Internal Revenue Service reported Wednesday that it has recently received complaints from recipients of suspicious emails that display the IRS logo and use subject lines such as “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of your tax refund payment.” The emails ask people to click a link and submit a form to claim their refund.

The message is nothing if not thorough. It asks recipients to provide their full name, date of birth, prior-year gross annual income, driver’s license number, current address and electronic filing PIN.

The IRS said people who receive such a scam email should not click on the link in it, but they can report it to the IRS. 

For security reasons, they should save the email using “save as,” then send that attachment to [email protected] or forward the email as an attachment to that site. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the IRS Criminal Investigation unit have been notified.

Taxpayers who think they have fallen victim to a schemer have several recourses, the IRS said.

People who believe they have provided identity thieves with the requested personal information should immediately obtain an Identity Protection PIN, a six-digit number that prevents identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns in the victim’s name. 

Taxpayers who try to e-file their tax return and have it rejected because a return with their Social Security number has already been filed should report themselves as a possible identity theft victim by filing a Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit. 

The IRS also said taxpayers who believe they have a pending refund can easily check on its status at “Where’s My Refund?” on IRS.gov. 

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