As a college student or faculty member, budgeting can become very important to pay for educational materials, commuting to and from school, and for student activities throughout the college. However, scammers lurk on the Internet as they come up with ways to steal money from college faculty and students. They are sending phishing emails to university email accounts which state that they have more information on their tax refund payment. This is why it is important to know what this IRS imposter scam is and how to avoid this scam.
How Does the IRS Imposter Scam Work?
Scammers will send emails to their victims with subject lines such as “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of Your Tax Refund Payment.” The email instructs you to click a link to claim a refund that has been waiting for you. These emails are targeted at those with college email addresses, but it is still a good idea to be on the lookout just in case.
Once you click the link, it directs you to a fake website that looks like the IRS website. The website asks for a bunch of personal information, including your name, social security number, birthday, prior year’s annual gross income, driver’s license number, address, and electronic filing pin. In some cases, it even asks for your financial information so that scammers can drain your bank account.
The scammer wants to get their hands on your identity and finances, which is why they are interested in learning your personal and financial details. They will commit identity fraud with your personal information and pretend to be you as they apply for credit cards, benefits, and get a hold of your bank account under your name. With your financial details, they can steal your money directly from the bank easier.
How To Know if the IRS Really Contacted Me
The IRS will only contact you by mail. If they are calling you or emailing you, then it is not the IRS actually contacting you, they are scammers. All they want to do is get their hands on your money and will pretend to be the IRS to get it. The IRS will also allow you to pay with whatever method you choose. If they are telling you that you need to pay specifically with a prepaid credit card or money transfer, then you are communicating with a scammer.
How to Avoid the IRS Imposter Scam
- The IRS will NOT contact you by email, they will always contact you by letter first.
- If you are unsure whether or not an IRS letter is real or fake, you can call them at the number 800-829-1040.
- Do not send anyone claiming to be the IRS your personal and financial details.
- Don’t click on any links within emails just in case the fake website contains malware.
- If you see an email from someone claiming to be the IRS, delete it immediately.
- File a report at IdentityTheft.gov if you gave your personal information to anyone online.
- Also, forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org to report this scam over to the IRS.
- You can also report the scam to the FTC.
- If you have questions about your tax refund, go to Where’s My Refund on the IRS website.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with after reading about the IRS imposter scam which targets college email addresses.