The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Tuesday issued a warning about an ongoing tax refund phishing scam targeting college students and personnel.
In a press release, the agency explained that scammers are sending phishing messages to people affiliated with public or private educational institutions that use “.edu” email addresses.
The IRS also said phishing emails usually display the agency’s logo and have subject lines such as “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of Your Tax Refund Payment.”
Taxpayers are advised not to click on the link provided in the emails since it will direct them to a website that requests their Social Security number, full name, annual gross income (AGI), and electronic filing PIN.
College students are believed to be the most vulnerable to IRS phishing scams since they may be filing a tax return for the first time.
“Taxpayers who believe they may have provided identity thieves with this information should consider immediately obtaining an Identity Protection PIN,” the federal agency wrote.
“This is a voluntary opt-in program. An IP PIN is a six-digit number that helps prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns in the victim’s name,’ it added.
People who receive phishing emails are urged to notify the IRS through firstname.lastname@example.org and send an attachment of the scammer’s message.
For college students and personnel who are expecting a tax refund, they can check their refund status in the “Where’s My Refund?” section on IRS.gov.
If taxpayers attempt to file their tax return online and were rejected because a return with their SSN has already been filed, the IRS says they should submit an Identity Theft Affidavit to report themselves as possible victims.