Email Scam Impersonating IRS Targets University Students and Staff

With less than a month remaining of the spring semester, Computing Services wanted to take the opportunity to remind our students and employees of the threats posed by phishing attempts and email scams.

Phishing attempts can be fraudulent emails and telephone calls from someone posing as a trustworthy source in order to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and financial information. These attacks are on the rise, so it is critical that you remain vigilant about emails or calls you may receive.

We have been notified by our Financial Aid staff about one such phishing attempt. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reporting that an IRS-impersonation scam is targeting university and college students and staff with “.edu” email addresses (see the NASFAA bulletin about this warning here).

These phishing emails display the IRS logo and use various subject lines such as “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of Your Tax Refund Payment.” It also asks individuals to click a link and submit additional information, such as date of birth, social security, and other personal details to claim their refund.

The IRS would never contact you via email, requesting personal information. If you receive one of these emails, you should not click the link nor provide any information.

Universities can often face an increase in the number of phishing attempts they receive in the build up to busy periods like semester end, so please continue to be vigilant and take the following action to prevent phishing attempts and email scams:

  • Do not open or respond to emails that you suspect as being a phishing attempt or scam.
  • Do not open attachments that have been sent to you by unknown sources or click on unknown links.
  • Be mindful of the sender’s email address and any web links that you are sent – even a single character out of place may mean that it’s fake.

When in doubt, don’t click.

For questions or to report a scam email, contact ASU Computing Services at or (719) 587-7741.