Don’t fall for student tax scams

warning from the IRS advises taxpayers of the latest tax scam and reminds them not to fall for these kinds of common theft attempts. Trying to collect money for an unpaid “Federal Student Tax” debt is the most recent twist on the old con of pretending to be the IRS in order to steal from unsuspecting citizens.

After falsely identifying themselves over the telephone as federal or state tax agents, or sometimes as tax preparation professionals, criminals often demand payment via wire transfer, pre-paid debit card or other means to pay the non-existent tax. Sadly, many people do fall for this and other blatant scams involving impersonation of tax officials.

To protect yourself from tax scam artists, never assume that a caller demanding money is legitimate. Don’t give out any personal information over the phone no matter what the request entails, as criminals sometimes pretend to be tax agents calling to “verify” tax information from individuals or human resources staff.

If the actual IRS thinks you may owe additional tax payments:

  • You will receive a bill in the mail prior to any phone calls.
  • The IRS will never request financial information like credit card or bank account numbers over the phone.
  • You will have an opportunity to examine the request for payment and ask questions or appeal IRS figures.
  • You may pay the debt using the method you choose.
  • The IRS will not send local or state police to arrest you.

You can learn more about tax scams and how to report them on the IRS website.

Consult your accountant immediately if you receive a call or written contact from the IRS. A trusted financial professional can help you determine whether the request is legitimate and if so, plan your best course of action.