The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning for anyone with “dot.edu” email addresses. The announcement released on April 5, 2021, indicates an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) phishing scam is targeting colleges — students, faculty, and staff members regarding tax refund payments.
Scammers are sending emails to obtain personal information. The subject line could read “Tax refund payment” or “Recalculation of your tax refund payment.” In the email body, recipients will find a link with the instruction to submit a form to claim a refund.
The FTC warns the email can appear to be authentic and include the IRS logo. Scammers are really good at their ability to create correspondence that looks legitimate.
No matter what the email says or how it looks, the IRS will never use electronic communication the first time they reach out; the agency will always begin correspondence by sending a letter through the postal service. The FTC strongly suggests confirming communication from the IRS by phoning them directly at 800-829-1040.
What Happens When Link Is Clicked?
When the link is clicked, the landing page on the website asks for personal information — name, Social Security number (SSN), birth date, driver’s license (or state ID number), mailing address, prior year’s annual gross income (AGI), and electronic filing PIN.
Scammers sell or use the personal information provided for identity theft.
What to do “If You Clicked the Link”
If a person clicked the link in one of these emails and shared personal information, file an identity theft report at IdentityTheft.gov (1-877-438-4338). The agency will design a customized recovery plan based on the data shared with the scammers.
The FTC asks anyone who spots the scam in their inbox to forward the email as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org and another to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
People waiting on a tax refund can check its status go the IRS portal “Where’s My Refund” on IRS.gov.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
FTC: New IRS imposter scam targets college students and staff
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Collegedegrees 360’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of FTC – Used With Permission