Telephone scammers may target students and parents during the back-to-school season and demand payments for such non-existent taxes as the “Federal Student Tax,” the IRS has warned.

IRS impersonators may call students and demand that money be wired immediately to pay a fake federal student tax, according to the Service. As in other similar scams, if the taxpayer doesn’t comply, the scammer becomes aggressive and threatens to report the student to the police to be arrested.

This year, the IRS has seen scammers use a variety of schemes to fool taxpayers into paying money or giving up personal information, including altering the caller ID on incoming phone calls to make it seem like the IRS, the local police or another agency is calling; imitating software providers to trick tax professionals; demanding fake tax payments using iTunes gift cards; soliciting W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals; “verifying” return information over the phone; and pretending to be from the tax prep industry.

The IRS reminds taxpayers and preparers that it generally will first mail a bill for any taxes owed and doesn’t threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups, demand payment of taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed, or ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

The agency adds that the best responses to a suspicious call are to give out no information and hang up immediately, and search the Web for the telephone numbers scammers leave in their voicemails asking you to call back, as some of the numbers may be published online and linked to criminal activity.

Calls can also be reported to TIGTA online or at (800) 366-4484, and to the Federal Trade Commission online.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access