Marquette Wire

IRS Phone Scam: International students targeted

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

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Over the past few weeks, individuals falsely claiming to be the Internal Revenue Service have targeted several Marquette students by calling them and asking for personal information.

According to MUPD students were told by the individuals that they owed the IRS money and if they don’t give them all of their personal information, the students will be tracked down and arrested.

“When a person hears they owe money and they will be arrested because they haven’t paid that debt, it frightens them and they feel obligated to pay something that they do not owe,” Jeff Kranz, Marquette University Police captain, said.

MUPD Chief Paul Mascari said several of the students being targeted on Marquette’s campus are international students.

“For those students who are not very fluent in English, it is hard for them to understand why people are demanding money from them,” he said. “These individuals claiming to be part of the IRS are trying to take advantage of the fact that these students are from a different country.”

On Aug. 31, an unidentified student received a call from a person claiming to be from the IRS and gave them their Visa card number. Losses are estimated at $4,742, according to an MUPD report. Mascari said the student who gave out his or her card information was an international student.

The IRS website advises people that the individuals can alter the caller identification to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names, bogus IRS identification badge numbers and often leave an “urgent” callback request.

“The best thing to do when you get a call like that is hang up and come to the Marquette Police Department if you have any concerns.” Mascari said. “The IRS will never call you if you actually owe something to them; they will send you documentation via the mail.”

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