The latest tax scam is targeting people with '.edu' email addresses. Here's what to look out for.

  • The IRS is warning taxpayers of an ongoing tax-refund phishing scam.
  • Emails targeting college students and staff urge them to submit personal details to claim a refund.
  • The IRS will never ask you to share sensitive information over email, social media, or the phone.
  • Visit Personal Finance Insider for more stories.

As millions of Americans await tax refunds, a new scam is making the rounds.

The Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday in a news release that it has received complaints about a phishing scam that appears to target people with a “.edu” email address.

University students and staff at public and private institutions have sent complaints to the IRS in recent weeks reporting the emails, which display an IRS logo and ask people to click a link to an outside website to claim their refund. 

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The site then requests a ton of personal information, including Social Security number, prior year adjusted gross income, date of birth, electronic filing PIN, address, and driver’s license number. All these details would help a fraudster file a fake tax return. 

If you receive this scam email, report it to the IRS by downloading the email then sending that as an attachment to [email protected]

Always be wary if you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the IRS who says you owe money or need to share personal information to “claim” money owed to you. The IRS isn’t exactly modern. If it needs to get in touch with a taxpayer, it sends a letter — not an email, not a phone call, and definitely not a message over social media.

If you suspect you have provided personal information to an identity thief, you can opt into the Identity Protection PIN program to get a unique six-digit number known only to you and the IRS to use when you file your tax return.

How to check your refund status

There’s only one way to check the status of your tax refund: the IRS’s “Where’s My Refund” tool. 

It will display the status of your tax return and refund within 24 hours of filing a return online or within four weeks of mailing a paper return. The IRS updates its system daily, usually overnight.

To check your refund status, you only need three things:

  • Your Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number
  • Your filing status
  • The exact refund amount

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