The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued an urgent alert earlier this month to employers about the “W-2 scam.” Recently W-2 scammers have doubled their efforts to steal tax-related information and thousands of dollars from wire transfers. According to the IRS, the W-2 scam occurs when cybercriminals disguise an email to appear as if it is from a company’s executive. The email is then sent to the human resources and payroll departments, and requests a list of all employees, their W-2 forms and that a wire transfer be made.
“This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams (recently seen),” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. This type of phishing scam could result in large scale identity theft and the filing of fraudulent tax returns.
According to the IRS, this tax season the scam has expanded “to a broader cross-section of organizations, including school districts, tribal casinos, chain restaurants, temporary staffing agencies, healthcare and shipping and freight (companies).”
According to the IRS, employees whose tax return is rejected because of a duplicate Social Security number should file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.
If an employer suspects it has received the W-2 scam email or fallen victim to the scam, the email should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org. Organizations that receive the email should also file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center. In addition, victims can report the scam to BBB Scam Tracker. BBB’s Scam Tracker collects and tracks scams reported from people in the U.S and Canada.