Beware of email scam asking for employee W-2s

The Internal Revenue Service calls for workers to beware of an emerging email scam that requests personal information on employees. The IRS has learned this scheme already has tricked several people into sending payroll data including W-2 tax forms that contain Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information to cybercriminals posing as company executives. Criminals use the stolen personal information to file fraudulent tax returns for refunds.

This kind of email will contain, for example, the actual name of a City leader and request a list of employees and their personal information including Social Security numbers.

Tax frauds surge this time of year

The IRS recently saw an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far this tax season and has had reports of other scams targeting taxpayers.

The emails trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The phishing schemes ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics. Emails ask for information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.

The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax preparation industry are engaged in a public awareness campaign to encourage everyone to do more to protect personal, financial and tax data. Find out more.

Published Mar 8, 2016

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