The Federal Trade Commission recently released a statement warning college students not to fall for a new scam: the federal student tax scam.
Students from many colleges are telling the FTC that the calls go something like this: the so-called IRS agent tells you that you owe a “federal student tax,” and often has some piece of information that makes the call seem legit. Sometimes it’s the name of your school, or another piece of information about you. The caller demands that you wire money immediately, by MoneyGram or another untraceable method. And, if you don’t act quickly enough, the caller might threaten to report you to the police. If you hang up on the caller, they might make follow-up calls with spoofed caller-ID information. So, while caller ID might say it’s 911 or the U.S. Government calling, it’s not. It’s all fake.
As with all variations of these types of scams, you need to know a few simple things that will keep you safe:
- No one from the IRS will ever ask you to wire money, or pay by sending any sort of reloadable prepaid cards.
- The IRS will never contact you by phone first. If you owe money for an actual tax, the IRS will send a letter first.
If you get one of these calls, hang up immediately. Do not give out any personal information — no matter how mundane it may seem. Hang up, and report the call to the FTC.
For the news release from the FTC on this, visit here.