Back 2 School: IRS scam targeting college students

Originally published August 31, 2016 GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - College students and parents have a lot of stress this time of year between new bills to pay and moving away from home. The last thing they need is scammers preying on them.

That's why Target 2 is sharing a Consumer Alert about a version of the IRS impostor scam targeting college students.

Here's how it works:

The impostors call up college students and tell them they must immediately pay a federal student tax.

The students are instructed to pay the tax by using a prepaid debit card, iTunes card, or to wire money.

The real IRS stresses that there is no such thing as a federal student tax.

"This is obviously a time when a lot of students are going back to school. So this is a timely warning for parents and especially students to be on the lookout for this scam," said Christopher Miller, IRS spokesperson.

Miller warns the calls can be threatening.

"So naturally, if parents or students get calls from IRS telling them there's a federal student tax, even if they don't think they've ever heard of this tax, they might be inclined to pay it," he said.

Miller's advice is to hang up immediately. The IRS will never ask anyone to pay a bill with a prepaid card or wire transfer.

Target 2 checked with UW-Oshkosh and UW-Green Bay, and they didn't have any reports of students falling victim to this scam.

Over the last few years, variations of the IRS phone scam have cost taxpayers nationwide about $45 million. In Wisconsin, more than 100 people have lost $426,000.