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New telephone tax scam targets students with fake 'federal student tax' call

Uh oh! The Internal Revenue Service has filed a lawsuit against me for unpaid taxes!

Uh no. The call I got today was just another sad attempt to scam me into calling the crooks and giving them personal information or, more likely, sending them a prepaid debit card to cover my fake tax bill.

This pervasive and persistent telephone tax scam, as today's message -- my fifth so far this year; haven't the criminals realized by now that I'm a total tax deadbeat?! -- is still making the rounds. Ignore it.

But some con artists do tweak their schemes in an effort to separate us from our money and identities.

Student tax scam: A new one, according to the Federal Trade Commission, is a phone scam in which IRS agent imposters are invoking the federal student tax.


One big issue though. There's no such tax.

I'll let the FTC tell it:

Imposters posing as IRS agents are trying to trick college students into paying a "federal student tax" – a tax that doesn't even exist. 

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.

Note the FTC's last sentence. It's all fake.

UPDATE - IRS sends warning, too: On May 27, the IRS issued its own alert about this latest telephone tax scam. 

"These scams and schemes continue to evolve nationwide, and now they're trying to trick students," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "Taxpayers should remain vigilant and not fall prey to these aggressive calls demanding immediate payment of a tax supposedly owed."

Since the IRS is now in on the student tax scam warning act, let me repeat what I first posted on Tuesday, May 24. The federal student tax is all fake.

Don't be a tax scam victim: If you get any similar calls -- and that includes you, international readers of the ol' blog; the telephone tax scam has made its way into Canada and U.K. taxpayers are the latest tax phishing scam targets -- be suspicious.

If you're sure it's a scam because you know you don't owe any taxes, just hang up. Then report the crooks to the IRS (or your national tax collector) and to law enforcement.

If you think you might have an unpaid tax bill, get in touch with the IRS (or your national tax collector) directly yourself to take care of the situation. Yes, it will cost you what you legally owe the tax man, as well as some penalties and interest.

But that's a lot better than ending up as a scam victim, with your money going to crooks instead of toward national programs that are funded by your tax dollars.

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