AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The IRS is warning companies across the country of what they’re calling one of the most dangerous email schemes they’ve ever seen. As a reminder, the IRS will never call or email you. This is how cyber-criminals disguise themselves, and now they’ve found a new way to do it through your work.
This tax season, cyber-criminals are trying to hack your information by posing as your employer. They’re sending emails to a company’s human resources department, requesting a list of all employees and their W-2 forms. The IRS says the scheme is now circulating to school districts, restaurants, and healthcare agencies.
Ralph Guisti of Liberty Tax services in Amherst told 22News there are red flags you can look out for in any case where your employer sends you an email about your taxes. “It’s really on the companies to protect their own data,” says Guisti. “If you see anything that doesn’t have the company name in the email, that’s a sure indicator.”
In the latest twist, these same hackers have started to ask a company’s H-R department to wire them money.
The IRS is urging employers to create an internal policy of distributing W-2 forms to their employees. As for us taxpayers, Guisti says, “My recommendation to everybody would be to get in and file as early as possible, so they IRS can look at it and legitimize it.”
If your W-2 information has been stolen, contact the IRS immediately to fill out an Identity Theft Affidavit. Be mindful of what tax software you’re using if you’re filing taxes by yourself.
If you come across one of these email schemes, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org and place “W2 scam” in the subject line. Organizations that receive the scams or fall victim to them should file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center operated by the FBI.