Articles

Latest Tax Scam Targets Students by Joseph L. Saka, CPA/PFS


Posted on September 02, 2016 by Joseph Saka

Back-to-school should be an exciting time of year for students and their families. However, according to the IRS, families should be on alert to scammers taking advantage of this year’s back-to-school season and attempting to trick students and parents into making bogus payments for fake taxes.

In the latest scam, criminals impersonate IRS officials and demand immediate wire payment of a “federal student tax,” which does not exist. The calls that students receive can easily be mistaken as legitimate because the callers provide some piece of personal information about the student, including the student’s name or the name of his or her school. Moreover, the callers become aggressive and threaten legal action when students do not comply with their requests.  In a similar scam, criminals rely on threatening robo-calls that attempt to trick students and their families to call back and settle a fake tax liability.

As scammers get more creative in their efforts to steal taxpayers’ money and identities, it is important for parents to educate their children and other young family members about the tell-time signs of fraudulent tax-related calls. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. The IRS will never call taxpayer’s about owed taxes.
  2. The IRS will never demand payment without first giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal.
  3. The IRS will never require taxpayers to use a specific payment method.
  4. The IRS will never request credit card or debit card information over the phone.
  5. The IRS will never threaten to call law enforcement and have taxpayers arrested for failure to pay taxes

 

Should students or any individuals receive calls from someone claiming to be with the IRS should report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Information at 1-800-366-4484 and to the Federal Trade Commission via its Complaint Assistant at www.FTC.gov. They should also contact their accountant and tax advisor, if they have questions about the call or think they might owe taxes.

About the author: Joseph L. Saka, CPA/PFS, is co-CEO of Berkowitz Pollack Brant and co-director-in-charge of the firm’s Tax Services practices. He provides a full range of income and estate planning, tax consulting and compliance services, business advice, and financial planning services to entrepreneurs, high-net-worth families and family companies and business executives in the U.S. and abroad. He may be reached in the CPA firm’s Miami office at (305) 379-7000 or via e-mail at info@bpbcpa.com.