Current Phone Scams

Posted on September 20th, 2016 by

Campus Safety has taken two separate reports of such scams happening to Gustavus students this year!! Please take a minute to learn about these so you know how to react if you receive a phone call like this.

Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS or FBI agents remain a major threat to college students.  The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. This January, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) announced they have received reports of roughly 896,000 contacts since October 2013 and have become aware of over 5,000 victims who have collectively paid over $26.5 million as a result of the scam.

Protect Yourself Scammers make unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS or FBI officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill or penalty fee. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via a phishing email.  Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim if they don’t get the money.  Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS/FBI will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam.

The IRS/FBI will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS/FBI and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • If they indicate they are sending the police to you, encourage them to do so, police will not likely show up but if they do, report the scam to them.
  • Contact Campus Safety at (507)933-8888.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax: Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.

Scammers are continuing to create new and inventive ways to try and scam you out of your money. Check out the link to this podcast for a short listen on what one current scam looks/sounds like. (The type of scam discussed has been reported in our area).


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