IRS Warns About W-2 Phishing Scam

Post By Sean Urbany

Late last week, the Internal Revenue Service issued an urgent warning related to a recent spike in email phishing scams. The statement warns about a specific scam where cybercriminals are disguising their email address as to appear as an executive from the targeted organization. The cybercriminal then sends an email to individuals in the human resources or payroll departments of the organization requesting copies of all employee Form W-2s. The IRS indicates that this scam is now reaching beyond the corporate world and spreading to school districts and nonprofit organizations.

In a recent Security Summit, the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry have enacted numerous safeguards to identify fraudulent tax returns filed as a result of scams such as these. However, if you believe your entity has fallen victim to this or a similar scam, you can help protect your employees from tax-related identify by reporting immediately to the IRS. Additionally, if you believe your entity has received a phishing email, you should forward the email immediately to phishing@irs.gov and place “W2 Scam” in the subject line. A complaint should also be filed with the FBI’s Internet Crime Compliant Center.

As this warning is mainly directed towards employers, we remind all taxpayers to be vigilant when it comes to your personal information. Any time you receive a request to provide your personal information to a third-party, always verify that the request is legitimate. The Internal Revenue Service and state agencies will never request your personal information through email or unsolicited telephone calls. If any taxpayer believes that they have been a victim of identity theft, they should review the recommended actions as prepared by either the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov or the IRS at www.irs.gov/identitytheft.

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