Mapping Your Future: Identity thieves target students, faculty, and staff

COVID-19 information and resources


Identity thieves target students, faculty, and staff

By Catherine Mueller

March 31, 2021

As if students and employees of higher education haven't had enough challenges this past year, now identify thieves are impersonating the Internal Revenue Service in a new phishing scam.

In a March 30 announcement, 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.

According to the announcement, the IRS has received complaints about the impersonation scam in recent weeks from people with email addresses ending in ".edu."

The IRS said the phishing emails "appear to target university and college employees and students from both public and private, profit and non-profit institutions." The suspicious emails display the IRS logo and use various subject lines such as "Tax Refund Payment" or "Recalculation of your tax refund payment". The email message also asks people to click a link and submit a form to claim their refund, where they are asked for social security numbers, name, address, and other personal information.

Anyone who receives the email should report it to the IRS by forwarding the email to, and, if they may have provided the information to the identity thieves, they should obtain an Identity Protection PIN.