Schools and Universities Advised to Stay Alert of IRS-Impersonation Email Scam

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning of an ongoing IRS-impersonation scam targeting individuals from schools and universities with email addresses ending in “.edu.”

The scam emails—known as “phishing”—appear to originate from the IRS and use official looking logos with subject lines such as “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of Your Tax Refund Payment.”

People who receive emails with same or similar offerings should act with extreme caution and not click any associated links within the email or respond.

Those who do click through are directed to a fraudulent site that will request sensitive information, including:

  • 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

Those who believe their personal information may have already been compromised by this scam should immediately consider obtaining an Identity Protection PIN—which can prevent fraudulent tax returns being filed in a victim’s name.

Those who find their e-file tax return rejected because their SSN has already been reported as filed should submit a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.

The IRS provides much more information on its Identity Theft Central page to learn about the signs of identity theft and the best actions to take. If you believe you have a pending refund, you can easily check its status via Where’s My Refund? page.

To report suspicious emails, the IRS advises individuals to archive the email using the “save as” function and forwarding the email as an attachment to

The best advice right now is to remain proactive and follow some best practices. Communicate with your school leaders, staff and students to be alert for these type of emails.

If you or someone at your school is worried that you may have been targeted, please don’t hesitate to contact Bolton’s Education Practice group for guidance and support.

We will provide more information in the following weeks that will review some insurance and coverage strategies that can help protect your school from these type of events—and the potential loss and disruption that can occur if sensitive information falls into the wrong hands.

About Cheryl McDowell

Cheryl has over 30 years of experience in the areas of insurance and risk management. With Bolton’s Education Practice Group, she works with education clients to review and improve their existing risk management and insurance programs, including coordination of forensic audits of the school’s existing risk management and insurance programs.

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