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Be alert for tax season con involving W-2s

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in Centerpiece,Office Management,Records Retention

IRS scamIf your CEO sends you an email requesting a list of employees and their Social Security numbers, watch out!

It may be part of an elaborate phishing scheme in which con artists harvest employees’ identifying data, use it to file fraudulent tax returns and then pocket tax refunds.

The IRS says the deception has already claimed several victims as payroll and HR offices mistakenly email payroll data, including Forms W-2, that contain Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information to cybercriminals posing as company executives.

“This is a new twist on an old scheme using the cover of the tax season and W-2 filings to try tricking people into sharing personal data,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.  

His advice: If a senior executive emails about employees and their personal data, either in person or by phone, confirm the identity of the person making the request.

Look for details like these, culled from emails the IRS has intercepted:

  • “Kindly send me the individual 2015 W-2 (PDF) and earnings summary of all W-2 of our company staff for a quick review.”
  • “Can you send me the updated list of employees with full details (Name, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Home Address, Salary).”
  • “I want you to send me the list of W-2 copy of employees wage and tax statement for 2015, I need them in PDF file type, you can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me asap.”

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