Why is the IRS asking university students and staff to watch out for phishing scams?

During tax season, scams tend to multiply. That is why the IRS, on its website has been giving advice to taxpayers on how to be careful and avoid them. What warning has the agency given university students and staff?

Scams multiply during tax season so, for the last weeks, the IRS has been warning of an ongoing IRS-impersonation scam that appears to primarily target educational institutions, including students and staff who have ".edu" email addresses.

The IRS' phishing@irs.gov has received complaints about the impersonation scam in recent weeks that seems to target university and college students from both public and private, profit and non-profit institutions.

The emails display the IRS logo and use various subject lines such as "Tax Refund Payment" or "Recalculation of your tax refund payment" and ask people to click a link and submit a form to claim their refund.

To avoid falling victim to these scams, taxpayers who believe they have a pending refund and are doubtful if these mails are fake, can easily check on its status at Where's My Refund? on IRS.gov.

The agency has informed that the phishing website requests taxpayers provide their:

• 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

If you receive this scam email you must not click on the link in the email and should report it to the IRS.

To do this, save the email using "save as" and then send that attachment to phishing@irs.gov or forward the email as an attachment to phishing@irs.gov.

If you believe you may have provided identity thieves with this information you should consider immediately obtaining an Identity Protection PIN, which 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.

According to the IRS, anyone who attempts to e-file their tax return and finds it is rejected because a return with their SSN already has already been filed should file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit to report themselves as a possible identity theft victim.

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