DA Seal
San Joaquin County
District Attorney's Office
Consumer ALERT

April 5, 2021

New IRS imposter scam targets college students and staff

SOURCE: Ari Lazarus, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

If you’re a college student, faculty, or staff member, you’re going to want to pay attention to this one. IRS imposters are sending phishing emails to people with “.edu” email addresses, saying they have information about your “tax refund payment.” What do they really want? Your personal information.

Scammers are sending emails with subject lines like, “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of your tax refund payment.” The email asks you to click a link and submit a form to claim your “refund.”

Hey College Students: The IRS is NOT emailing you. That's a scammer. Learn more: ftc.gov/IRScollegescam

What happens if you click the link? The website asks for personal information, including your name, Social Security number (SSN), date of birth, prior year’s annual gross income (AGI), driver’s license number, address, and electronic filing PIN. Scammers can use or sell this information for identity theft.

The emails can look really real and include the IRS logo. But no matter what the email looks like or says, one thing stays true: the IRS will not first contact you by email. They will always start by sending you a letter. And, to confirm that it’s really the IRS, you can call them directly at 800-829-1040.

If you clicked a link in one of these emails and shared personal information, file a report at IdentityTheft.gov to get a customized recovery plan based on what information you shared.

If you spotted this scam, the IRS is asking you to forward the email as an attachment to phishing@irs.gov. And tell us too, at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Looking to find the status of your pending refund? Go to Where’s My Refund on IRS.gov.