IRS warns of new phishing scheme targeting colleges

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — With tax season upon us, the IRS is warning of a new scheme, that appears to target colleges and universities across the country.

According to the agency, phishing emails were sent to students and staff from public and private, profit and nonprofit institutions in the last few weeks.

The phony messages, impersonating the IRS, are branded with the agency’s logos, and include subject lines like “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of Your Tax Refund Payment.”

The emails then ask the recipient to click a link and submit a form to claim their refund. But, if you click on that link, you’ll be asked to verify or supply information that you should never hand over to strangers, like your social security number, driver’s license number, or your Identity Protection Pin, the number that’s used to file a tax return electronically.

It’s important to note that the IRS will never contact you by phone or email — only by a mailed letter. So, if you get one of these messages, don’t click any links, and do not respond. If you already got one of these emails, and provided any of your personal information, contact the IRS immediately.

You should also apply for a new Identity Protection Pin if you believe your information has been compromised. The IRS has additional information for anyone concerned about identity theft, or the current status of their refund.

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