In 2015, 70 percent of college graduates had student loan debt. The average amount of that debt increased $2,000 from 2014 to over $35,000. For many students, paying off that debt is difficult, particularly if the loans have a relatively high interest rate.
To make matters worse, scammers are now targeting those students and former students to demand money. These scammers impersonate IRS agents and demand money from the students for the “Federal Student Tax” which, of course, does not exist. These scammers threaten to have the student arrested, deported, or revoke their driver’s license if they don’t pay immediately. The scammers often demand payment through prepaid debit card or ask for the victim’s credit or debit card information.
To avoid being a victim of this scam, remember:
- The IRS (or any other taxing agency) will never call and demand immediate payment.
- The IRS will never threaten to have you arrested in a phone call.
- The IRS will never demand that you pay taxes without giving you the chance to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- The IRS will never require you to use a specific form of payment such as a prepaid debit card.
- The IRS will never ask for your debt or credit card information over the phone.
If you do receive one of these calls, the IRS recommends the following:
- Hang up immediately; do not provide any information to the caller.
- Report the call to the Treasury Inspector for Tax Administration (TIGTA) here: https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml or call 800-366-4484.
- Report the call to the Federal Trade Commission here: https://www.ftc.gov/. Put “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
- If you think you do owe taxes, call the IRS directly 800-829-1040.
Have questions or need help with your student loans? Contact us at [email protected] or 402-502-0250.
Judith Ackland has more than 26 years of experience in accountancy and financial planning, including seventeen years as a CFO of a diverse business. She started Crystal Financial in 2010 to help a wide array of individuals, families, and business owners better understand their finances and how good financial management could help them achieve their goals. Judith has an MA in Professional Accountancy from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as well as a Certified Public Accountant Certificate and a Certified Financial Planner designation.