Thus far in 2017, the Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry have released six official “Alerts” warning employers, tax professionals and tax payers of new and evolving phishing email scams.
Of particular note, a recently released Alert warns of a Form W-2 email phishing scam, which first appeared last year targeting corporate entities, but has now resurfaced and spreading to other sectors including school districts, tribal organizations and nonprofits. This scam involves various spoofing techniques to disguise an email to make it appear as if it is from an executive within the organization. The email is typically sent to a payroll or human resources department requesting a list of all employees and their Forms W-2. The latest twist to this scam is an additional request by the so-called executive to set up a wire transfer to a certain account. The IRS provides steps in the Alert for employers to take if they fall victim to this W-2 scam.
The IRS reports that businesses and payroll service providers can now quickly report data losses resulting from a scam where employees are tricked into revealing W-2 information. Additional information is available in this new release: Form W2/SSN Data Theft: Information for Businesses and Payroll Service Providers. The IRS indicates that if notified in time, the IRS can prevent employees from being victimized by identity thieves filing fraudulent returns in their names.
Employers and tax professionals can keep track of various nefarious activities by visiting the IRS accumulation of alerts (http://www.irs.gov/individuals/protect-your-clients-protect-yourself).
The information contained in this article is provided as general guidance and may be affected by changes in law or regulation. This article is not intended to replace or substitute for accounting or other professional advice. Please consult a CBIZ professional. This information is provided as-is with no warranties of any kind. CBIZ shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever in connection with its use and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.