Beware of Phishing and Phone Scams!

Editor's note:

This is a reprint of an article we have previously published.  Unfortunately, phone scams, phishing, and other fraudulent demands for our money are an ongoing problem.

May 24, 2018

Fraudulent emails and phone calls are a big problem, and we all need to be vigilant in recognizing them.

The ISSO has heard from several international students that they received phone calls purporting to be from U.S. government representatives from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) with detailed knowledge regarding the students' majors and studies and demanding money for unpaid taxes. In the past, others have received similar types of calls claiming to be from the FBI, CBP (Customs and Border Protection), ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), a U.S. Consulate, or other government agencies.

Be aware that government agencies will not use email or phone calls to contact you. Please refer to the following information to help identify scams and phishing and how to report them to the proper authorities.

Resources

IRS Tax Scam Video

IRS Tips

Their guidance includes, but is not limited, to the following:

If you receive an email claiming to be from the IRS that contains a request for personal information, taxes associated with a large investment, inheritance or lottery,

  1. Don't reply.
  2. Don't open any attachments. They can contain malicious code that may infect your computer or mobile phone.
  3. Don't click on any links. Visit our identity protection page if you clicked on links in a suspicious email or website and entered confidential information.
  4. Forward the email as-is to us at phishing@irs.gov. Don't forward scanned images because this removes valuable information.
  5. Delete the original email.

If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee,

  1. Record the employee's name, badge number, call back number and caller ID if available.
  2. Call 1-800-366-4484 to determine if the caller is an IRS employee with a legitimate need to contact you.
    • If the person calling you is an IRS employee, call them back.
    • If not, report the incident to TIGTA and to us at phishing@irs.gov (Subject: 'IRS Phone Scam)