IRS Warns of Scam Emails About Tax Refunds

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The IRS warned this week of yet another ruse by scammers to separate people from their cash and personal information.

This scam involves emails appearing to be from the IRS, and primarily targets people at educational institutions who have ".edu" email addresses, including students and staff members. It joins a growing list of scams federal agencies have warned about in recent weeks involving stimulus checks, unemployment insurance benefits, and even student loans.

The emails—a form of phishing—have subject lines like "Tax Refund Payment" or "Recalculation of your tax refund payment," and feature the IRS logo. Directions in the email tell the recipient to click a link in the email’s text in order to claim their tax refund. The form asks for personal information like Social Security number, name, date of birth, address, driver’s license number, and your prior-year annual gross income.

Anyone who receives an email like this should not click on the link in the email, and should report it immediately, the IRS said in a release Tuesday. To report the scam, save the email as an attachment and send it to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

Those who think they might have provided personal information to scammers should obtain an Identity Protection PIN from the IRS that acts as an obstacle to identity thieves trying to file fraudulent tax returns in the victim's name. Any person who has tried to file their tax return electronically and had it rejected because another return with their information already has been filed should file a Form 14039, or an Identity Theft Affidavit, the IRS said.