The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has urged university students and staff to watch out for emails that claim to come from the IRS but seek to steal sensitive personal information.
Although IRS impersonation scams are not new, this phishing campaign seems to target individuals in the higher educational system, using “.edu”email addresses.
According to a press release published March 30, the agency received multiple complaints via firstname.lastname@example.org in recent weeks.
“The phishing emails appear to target university and college students from both public and private, profit and non-profit institutions,” the IRS said. “The suspect emails display the IRS logo and use various subject lines such as “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of your tax refund payment.” It asks people to click a link and submit a form to claim their refund.”
Recipients who access the link are asked to fill out their Social Security number, first and last name, date of birth, prior year annual gross income, Driver’s License number, current address, city, State, ZIP code/Postal code and Electronic Filing PIN.
The government agency warns taxpayers not to click on any seemingly legitimate IRS links or provide personal information. They should, however, report unsolicited and fraudulent correspondence directly by forwarding or sending the attached email to email@example.com.
“Taxpayers who believe they may have provided identity thieves with this information should consider immediately obtaining an Identity Protection PIN,” the IRS explained. “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.”
Find out more about how to spot and protect against IRS impersonation scams here.