New IRS phone scam targeting college students, posing as FBI office

LANSING, MI. (WLNS) — A new IRS phone scam is targeting college students here in mid-Michigan — and unfortunately it’s been successful.

The FBI is getting complaints about the scam — every day for the past few weeks.

Fake IRS phone calls are nothing new — but this scam is a little different.

It’s targeting students at Michigan State University — the FBI won’t say how many exactly — but so far they’ve lost money, ranging from $1,500 to $3,000.

The FBI says, the scam involves callers demanding immediate payment through cash cards, waiting on the line while students go out and buy a card, and asking for the card’s security codes.

“That person is, you know, on the other end, punching it all in, and so that money is taken immediately,” said Jill Washburn, a spokesperson for Detroit’s FBI field office.

Washburn talked to 6 News today and says a big red flag is the scammer even calling in the first place.

“Government agencies don’t call you and demand money. And they don’t call you and make weird demands like that,” Washburn said.

Washburn says the IRS only contacts people through mail.

But the strangest thing about this scam?

“They are spoofing the FBI Lansing office number,” Washburn said.

So when students go online to Google the number — it looks like it’s legitimate.

But Washburn says one government agency would never call you from another one.

She says if you do get this call — don’t do anything, except hang up.

“Don’t follow their directions. Don’t give them the money,” Washburn said.

Sometimes the best action to take — is no action at all.

If you have received a call you think might be an IRS scam, contact the FBI. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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