IRS warns of back to school scams

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Internal Revenue Service has issued a warning urging students and parents to be aware of a back-to-school scam.

In the scam, IRS impersonators demand payment for the “Federal Student Tax,” which doesn’t actually exist. The IRS said the scammers can become aggressive and threaten to report the student to the police to be arrested.

This year, the IRS has seen scammers use a variety of schemes to fool taxpayers into paying money or giving up personal information.

Some of these include:

  • Altering the caller ID on incoming phone calls in a “spoofing” attempt to make it seem like the IRS, the local police or another agency is calling
  • Demanding fake tax payments using iTunes gift cards
  • Soliciting W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals
  • “Verifying” tax return information over the phone

If you get an unexpected call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here are some of the telltale signs to help 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, here’s what you should do:
  • 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. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
  • If you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.

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