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Students Beware - New Scam Tactic for IRS Impersonators

Higher Education|Internal Revenue Service|Tax

By Melanie Pantalone

As fraud techniques are revealed and taxpayers are made aware of the tactics used by fraudsters, fraudsters have no other option but to evolve their scheme in order to continue to scam money from individuals.  In 2014, the IRS warned taxpayers when there were numerous reports of scammers calling victims to tell them they owed money to the IRS.  Fraudsters would threaten the victims with being arrested or the revocation of their driver licenses.  Immigrants were also threatened with deportation or arrest.  The most recent tactic is aimed at students. 

On Friday, May 27, 2016, the IRS issued a new warning to taxpayers stating that there have been multiple reported instances of phony phone calls from IRS impersonators who demand a payment for a bogus tax they call "federal student tax."  The victims have stated that the fraudster will demand that a wire be made to them immediately and if the taxpayer questions the fraudster, the fraudster threatens to report the failure of payment to the police.  John Koskinen, IRS Commissioner, stated, "Taxpayers should remain vigilant and not fall prey to these aggressive calls demanding immediate payment of a tax supposedly owed."  Five IRS impersonators involved with scamming taxpayers through phone calls have been arrested due to the hard work of agents in the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). 

In the IRS notice to the public, listed were the following items the IRS will never do:

  • Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If you get a phone call from an individual who claims to be from the IRS and is asking for money and you do not owe taxes, here's what you should do:

  • Do not give out any information.
  • 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 by visiting FTC.gov and clicking on "File a Consumer Complaint."  Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in notes.
  • If you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.

To read the full IRS article on the Federal Student Tax fraud, please visit https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-warns-of-latest-scam-variation-involving-bogus-federal-student-tax.

Please share this article with students you know, so that they are aware of this new phone fraud scheme targeting students.

Contact us if you have questions regarding Federal Student Tax Fraud and visit our Our Thoughts On blog for more articles pertaining to tax fraud techniques. 

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