The IRS recently issued a new alert about form W-2 email scams targeting payroll and human resource departments. These email scams use a corporate officer’s name to request employee Forms W-2 from company payroll or human resources departments.
The W-2 scam first appeared last year. Cybercriminals tricked payroll and human resource officials into disclosing employee names, SSNs and income information. Ouch! The thieves then attempted to file fraudulent tax returns for tax refunds.
This phishing variation is known as a “spoofing” e-mail. It will contain, for example, the actual name of the company chief executive officer. In this variation, the “CEO” sends an email to a company payroll office or human resource employee and requests a list of employees and information including SSNs.
The following are some of the details that may be contained in the emails:
Kindly send me the individual 2016 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 2016, I need them in PDF file type, you can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me asap.
Security professional recommend that you NEVER send secure information over email. If you must share this information digitally, use a secure messaging system or an encrypted online file sharing service. If you feel that you've been targeted by a phishing scam, the IRS encourages you to forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.