Avoid Tax Scams: Know What to Expect from the IRS

OIA has just become aware that a member of our international community was recently contacted by individuals conducting a sophisticated tax scam that seems to target international students.

The scam consists of someone contacting an international student, claiming to be a representative of the IRS or other federal agency.  The callers may claim that tax returns were filed erroneously and a new check needs to be sent to a different address or threaten that a student’s visa will be revoked or they will be arrested if they do not pay their taxes immediately.

Usually in these incidents, the caller has some of the student's personal information, and may provide them with a case number, give a fake name and/or badge ID. They may explained that the student should not have used Glacier or Sprintax to file their taxes and/or that their taxes were filed incorrectly.  The callers then explain that the issue would be cleared up if the student paid a large sum of money or sent a new check to a different address.

Often in these scams, the caller will become more demanding and angry as the conversation continues. This makes the demand seem very real and the threats so much more frightening.

If you are approached in this or a similar manner, it is very important to understand that this is an attempt to defraud you.  The person contacting you is not a legitimate IRS, law enforcement or immigration official and under no circumstances should you pay any money or otherwise follow the instructions given. The IRS will never contact you via phone or email and will only send official communication through the mail.  

The IRS provides guidance on what to do if targeted in a phone or other tax scam and how to report the issue.

Additionally, If you are approached, you should contact your local police department right away and then contact OIA. Here are the police department numbers:

  • Calling UCPD from a campus phone: Dial 123
  • Calling UCPD from any phone: Dial 773.702.8181
  • Calling the Chicago Police Department: Dial 911
  • Anywhere else in the US, calling your local police department: Dial 911

If you call a local police department and have difficulty with the process there, call UCPD for assistance. 

Once you have contacted police, please also contact OIA.  You can do so by either contacting your regular adviser in our office.

Please do not hesitate to contact OIA if you have questions or concerns about this. I ask you to also be a good ally to others who may not have received this message but may be at risk.