The Internal Revenue Service issued a warning Thursday urging students and parents to be aware of back-to-school scams.
IRS impersonators are targeting college students and parents at random demanding payment for the ‘Federal Student Tax,’ which doesn’t exist.
John Koskinen, IRS Commissioner stated, ‘Although variations of the IRS impersonation scam continue year-round, they tend to peak when scammers find prime opportunities to strike. As students and parents enter the new school year, they should remain alert to bogus calls, including those demanding fake tax payments from students.’
How to spot the scam
Reports of this particular scam say the phone call sounds something like this:
‘You owe back taxes to the IRS and we’ve commenced an audit because you didn’t pay your Federal Student Tax.’
Then, scammers demand payment via wire transfer or credit or debit card. The IRS says people have already been scammed out of $43 million through scams like this one.
The IRS is warning parents and students, as well as colleges and school communities, about this scam, saying the IRS will never call to demand payment, threaten to bring in local police to have you arrested or demand you pay taxes without giving you an opportunity to question or appeal the claim, and the IRS will never ask for a credit or debit card account number over the phone. The IRS will communicate with you by mail first if they find you owe any taxes.
What to do if you get this call, or one like it
If you or a loved one receives a call like this one, this is what the IRS advises:
- Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
- Search the web for telephone numbers scammers leave in your voicemail asking you to call back. Some of the phone numbers may be published online and linked to criminal activity.
- Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or call 800-366-4484.
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
- If you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.
You can get more information on this scam here at IRS.gov.
Read more: The 10 most common phone scams right now