IRS warns of back to school scams |

IRS warns of back to school scams

Scammers take advantage of the start of the school year by targeting students and parents.

— Parents and students are the most recent targets for telephone scam artists who are impersonating Internal Revenue Service officials demanding payment of bogus federal student taxes, according to a news release from the IRS.

Variations of the IRS impersonation scam continue year-round, they tend to peak when scammers find prime opportunities to strike”, said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “As students and parents enter the new school year, they should remain alert to bogus calls, including those demanding fake tax payments from students.”

Phones in Moffat County are not yet ringing with calls from scammers using this latest ploy, according to both Moffat County School District and Craig Police Department; however, other telephone scams are active and the community should remain vigilant, warns the IRS.

“It sounds like a variation of a common scam,” said Sgt. Tony Fandel of the Craig Police Department. “The ones we have been seeing tell people they owe IRS taxes and that we will arrest you if you don’t pay. Or you’ll get a phone call to say your child or grandson is hurting in jail and needs money to get out.”

Telling the difference between a scammer and a legitimate call is simple, according to Fandel, “if anyone calls soliciting personal info, it’s a scam. Don’t give them any personal information such as your date of birth or Social Security information.”

The IRS wants students, parents and taxpayers to know that it never calls to demand immediate payment. The IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes. The IRS will never threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying. Nor will they ever demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

If you suspect a scam, the IRS recommends hanging up immediately. Fandel suggests that you do not give out personal information or pay money before checking further.

Many scammers are based in foreign countries well outside the jurisdiction of local law enforcement; yet, Craig police are happy to take down information such as phone numbers, names and addresses of suspected scammers so that it can be forwarded to the proper federal authorities.

“If you’re not sure, give the police a call before, not after, giving information out over the phone. We can advise if it’s a scam rather than people getting taken for a lot of money,” said Fandel.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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