Department of Education joins IRS in warning of phishing scam
April 15, 2021
The Department of Education is reminding financial aid professionals about identity thieves that are impersonating the Internal Revenue Service in a new phishing scam.
In a April 12 Electronic Announcement (EA), the Department said the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) warned of an ongoing IRS-impersonation scam that appears to primarily target educational institutions, including students, faculty, and staff who have “.edu” email addresses.
The Department said The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and IRS Criminal Investigation has been notified about the suspicious emails that display the IRS logo and use various subject lines, such as "Tax Refund Payment" or "Recalculation of your tax refund payment." The emails ask individuals to click a link and submit a form to claim their refunds.
The Department encourages institutions to visit the IRS web page—which contains details about the phishing campaign and asks that institutions share the web page with students and staff to raise awareness about this scam.
Anyone who receives the email should report it to the IRS by forwarding the email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and, if they may have provided the information to the identity thieves, they should obtain an Identity Protection PIN.
In addition, the Department said institutions that believe they have targeted or breached, should report the incident immediately to CPSSAIG@ed.gov and FSASchoolCyberSafety@ed.gov. The EA provides instructions on what information to include in that email.