Small Businesses Should Be Aware Of A W-2 Scam
The IRS has recently called attention to a growing email scam involving W-2s. The scam allows an identity thieve to gain access to employees’ W-2s and other sensitive tax information.
W-2 Email Scam
The W-2 email scam is a phishing scheme that prompts unsuspecting staffers to provide sensitive tax information. The scam has been around for over a year but appears to be becoming more effective. Weight Watchers recently fell victim to the scam, providing thieves with the private information of 434 current and former employees.
The IRS recommends that businesses promote awareness about the scam, and instruct human resource and payroll employees how to avoid falling victim to the scam. The IRS provided warning signs about the scam that employees can be on the lookout for.
1. The identity thief will mask themselves as a school official, company executive, or another high-ranking member of an organization
2. The identity thief will use a simple, innocent greeting, such as “Hey, you in today?”
3. The identity thief will target employees with payroll access, and request a list of employees and their accompanying W-2’s.
4. The identity thief will use keywords in their subject, like “Review” or “Request.”
5. The identity thief may send a follow-up email requesting a wire transfer if their original request is ignored
If W-2s are turned over, identity thieves can file fraudulent tax returns, complicating the lives of employees.
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