Students: Don't Pay This Scam "Tax"

Crime

Students: Don't Pay This Scam "Tax"

Justin Lavelle

July 1, 2016

Think phone scammers just target the elderly? Think again. Students are the newest target of this kind of scheme.

It’s called the “Federal Student Tax.” Students and parents, watch out because this tax is phony bologna. It’s a non-existent tax scam by IRS impersonators. The real IRS recently issued a warning to taxpayers about these scam artist impersonators. They convince students to wire money directly to them, and if they don’t, they threaten to report them to the police.

Some of the tactics we’ve seen before and others have evolved to specifically target younger people:

  • Demanding payment of taxes on an iTunes gift card.
  • Soliciting W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals.
  • “Verifying” tax return information over the phone.
  • Pretending to be from the tax preparation industry (e.g. H&R Block).

But here’s the truth about the IRS.

The IRS will NEVER:

  • Call you on the phone to demand immediate payment.
  • Call you about taxes owed without first billing you by mail.
  • Threaten immediate police force or other law-enforcement groups for not having paid.
  • Demand taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount you owe.
  • Require a specific form of payment, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If you ever receive a call from one of these scammers and they try any of their tactics on you, you’ll remember that you did your homework and learned what these guys do. If that happens, take the following steps:

  • Hang up immediately. Do not give them any information.
  • 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 by visiting gov and clicking on “File a Consumer Complaint.” Add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
  • If you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040. Yes, this is the real IRS number.

And remember this line from your student days? “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” That’s from Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. Well we hope this post helps you see a perspective you didn’t see before. So that you can have the knowledge to steer yourself any direction you choose, and not in the direction a scam artist wants to take you.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.