IRS warns of tax refund email scam targeting college students and staff
WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service issued a warning this week about an ongoing tax refund phishing scam targeting students and staff at colleges and universities who have a ".edu" email address.
The IRS said it has received complaints in recent weeks about the impersonation scam aimed at students from both public and private, profit and non-profit institutions.
The fake emails display the IRS logo and use various subject lines, such as "Tax Refund Payment" or "Recalculation of your tax refund payment." The emails asks people to click a link and submit a form to claim their refund.
The phishing website then requests people to provide personal information, such as their name, date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license number, current address and more.
FILE - Students wearing masks walk around the Boston College Campus in Newton, Massachusetts, on Sept. 14, 2020. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Taxpayers who believe they have a pending refund can check on its status at "Where’s My Refund?" on IRS.gov.
The agency said people who receive this phishing scam should not click on the link in the email, and instead should report it to the IRS.
"For security reasons, save the email using ‘save as’ and then send that attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org or forward the email as an attachment to email@example.com," the agency said in a notice. "The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and IRS Criminal Investigation have been notified."
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Taxpayers who believe they may have provided identity thieves with their personal information should consider immediately obtaining an Identity Protection PIN, the IRS said. The PIN is a six-digit number that helps prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns in the victim’s name.
The IRS said taxpayers who attempt to e-file their return and find it rejected because a tax return with their Social Security number has already been filed should file a Form 14039, called an Identity Theft Affidavit, to report themselves as a possible identity theft victim.
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This story was reported from Cincinnati.