The Internal Revenue Service has issued a warning to Americans about an email phishing scam that claims to reveal the status of their tax refund.

The scam seems to be primarily targeted toward email addresses for students and teachers at education institutions that end in “.edu.”

The IRS said Tuesday that it has received a number of complaints in recent weeks and has reason to believe that phishing emails have been sent to university and college students at both public and private, profit and nonprofit institutions.

In the phishing email, the schemers, who are impersonating the IRS, tell the email recipient they have a pending refund, asking them to click a link and submit a form to claim their payment. The emails use a range of different subject lines such as “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of your tax refund payment.”

The scammers also request the person’s social security number, first name, last name, date of birth, prior year annual gross income, driver’s license number, current address, city, state/U.S. territory, zip code, and electric tax filing PIN.

The IRS is advising anyone that receives these scam emails not to click on the links. They should report it to the agency and save the email as an attachment to send to phishing@irs.gov to notify the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and IRS Criminal Investigation.

If a person has provided this information to a scammer through one of these phishing emails and believes their identity was compromised, they should immediately obtain an Identity Protection PIN from the IRS, the agency said. This is a voluntary opt-in program, where a six-digit number is provided to help prevent fraudulent tax returns from being filed in a person’s name.

The IRS said that taxpayers who believe they have a pending refund can check the status on the IRS.gov website using the tool, Where’s My Refund?

Scam sign Scammers are using social media platforms to launch finanical scams. Photo: geralt/Pixabay