University of Wisconsin–Madison
Tax Fraud

Income tax impersonation scam targets .edu email addresses

The IRS’ phishing@irs.gov has received complaints about an impersonation scam in recent weeks from people with email addresses ending in “.edu.” The phishing emails appear to target university and college students and staff from both public and private, profit and non-profit institutions. The sender’s objective is to get enough information from you to steal your identity and file a fraudulent refund claim.

The phishing email messages

  • Display the IRS logo
  • Use various subject lines such as “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of your tax refund payment.”
  • Ask you to click a link to a phishing website and submit a form to claim your refund.

The phishing website requests that you provide your

  • Social Security Number
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Prior Year Annual Gross Income (AGI)
  • Driver’s License Number
  • Current Address
  • City
  • State/U.S. Territory
  • ZIP Code/Postal Code
  • Electronic Filing PIN

What to do

If you receive this scam email do not click on the link in the email, but report it to the IRS. For security reasons, save the email using “save as” and then attach it to an email to phishing@irs.gov or forward the email as an attachment to phishing@irs.gov. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and IRS Criminal Investigation have been notified.

If you have provided identity thieves with this information, consider immediately obtaining an Identity Protection PIN. This is a voluntary opt-in program. An IP PIN is a six-digit number that helps prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns in the your name.

If you attempt to e-file a tax return and it is rejected because a return with your SSN already has been filed, file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit PDF, to report yourself as a possible identity theft victim. See Identity Theft Central to learn about the signs of identity theft and actions to take.

More resources

If you have a pending refund, you can easily check on its status at Where’s My Refund? on IRS.gov.

To learn more about various kinds of income tax scams and how to protect yourself, see Beware of these income tax scams in 2021.