August 5, 2021

With the start of another school year just around the corner, the IRS has started warning individuals to be on the lookout for IRS-impersonation scams that primarily target educational institutions, students and staff who have a “.edu” email address. The IRS has recently been notified via their phishing@irs.gov email about impersonation scams from people with the “.edu” email.

The phishing emails seem to be targeting universities and college students from public, private, profit and non-profit institutions. These fraudulent emails typically display the IRS logo and will use a variety of subject lines such as “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of your tax refund payment.” These emails will attempt to persuade people to click a link and submit a form in order to claim their refund.

Taxpayers can protect themselves against scammers by recognizing the signs of what a phishing email typically contains:

  • Social Security number
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Prior Year Annual Gross Income (AGI)
  • Driver’s License Number
  • Current Address
  • City
  • State/U.S. Territory
  • ZIP Code/Postal Code
  • Electronic Filing PIN

Should an individual receive a scam email, they should avoid clicking on the link in the email and immediately report it to the IRS. For security reasons, individuals should save the email and send the attachment to phishing@irs.gov.

Taxpayers who believe they provided their personal information over to identity thieves should consider obtaining an Identity Protection PIN. Taxpayers have the option to opt into the program and will be provided an IP PIN that will contain a six-digit number that will help prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns in the victim’s name.

Taxpayers who attempt to e-file their tax return and find it rejected because a return with their SSN already has been filed should file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit PDF, to report themselves as a possible identity theft victim.

Optima Tax Relief provides assistance to individuals struggling with unmanageable IRS tax burdens. To assess your tax situation and determine if you qualify for tax relief, contact us for a free consultation.