College students are the latest target of fraud schemes.
The Better Business Bureau warns scammers are calling students, pretending to be the IRS, in order to get their money.
If you get a call from a person claiming to be an IRS agent, saying you owe money on a federal student tax, hang up.
“They recognize college students are under stress and may be confused about finances and financial obligations,” said Greg Dunn of Better Business Bureau Hawaii.
Last year, scammers stole $26 million out of unsuspecting students using this fraud. The so-called “federal student tax” doesn’t even exist.
“It’s very high pressure,” Dunn said. “The scammers are very technologically savvy at this point. This is big business. We’re talking massive criminal enterprises.”
The caller demands the student pay money immediately by credit card or wire. Don’t do this, because the IRS doesn’t initiate phone calls.
“Even if you did owe debt or back taxes, you’d normally receive a letter first from the IRS with a phone number to call,” said Dunn.
The BBB says last year in Hawaii, 400 people complained about being targeted by this scam.
If you are a student, if you receive such a call, “Don’t give out personal info and don’t immediately send money. If you’re worried you have an old tax bill, hang up and call the IRS directly.”
And if you have a consumer concern or if you’re interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, call 591-0222 weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or send an email to email@example.com.