IRS Warns of Back-to-School Scams; Encourages Students, Parents, Schools to Stay Alert

August 18, 2016
Source: IRS Warns of Back-to-School Scams; Encourages Students, Parents, Schools to Stay Alert
Type of News: Protection & Security

The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers against telephone scammers targeting students and parents/grandparents/guardians during the back-to-school season and demanding payments for non-existent taxes, such as the “Federal Student Tax.”

Be on the lookout for IRS impersonators calling students and demanding that they wire money immediately to pay a fake “federal student tax.” If the person does not comply, the scammer becomes aggressive and threatens to report the student to the police to be arrested.

“Although variations of the IRS impersonation scam continue year-round, they tend to peak when scammers find prime opportunities to strike,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “As students and parents enter the new school year, they should remain alert to bogus calls, including those demanding fake tax payments from students.”

Protect Yourself. The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
  • 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.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If you get a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money:

  • 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. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes section.

If you are interested in learning more about fraud protection, speak with a Community Resource Specialist: (408) 350-3200, option 1.

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