March 1, 2016 -The Internal Revenue Service today issued an alert to payroll and human resources professionals to beware of an emerging phishing email scheme that purports to be from company executives and requests personal information on employees.
The IRS has learned this scheme — part of the 400% surge in phishing emails seen so far this year — already has claimed several victims as payroll and human resources offices mistakenly email payroll data including Forms W-2 that contain Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information to cyber-criminals posing as company executives.
This phishing variation is known as a “spoofing” email. 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 employee and requests a list of employees and information including SSNs.
The following are some of the details contained in the e-mails:
- Kindly send me the individual 2015 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 2015, I need them in PDF file type, you can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me asap.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security Number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. You may be unaware that this happened until you e-file your tax return and discover that a return has already been filed using your SSN. Or, the IRS may send you a letter later saying they received a suspicious return using your SSN.
So what is the solution? The fix has to be more than just a credit monitoring company, like you see on TV or with the banks. And, the fix has to be more than just contacting the IRS and completing an Identity Theft Affidavit. We believe our clients deserve a comprehensive identity theft solution. Because when your identity is stolen, you want a professional to unravel a complicated situation for you. With the comprehensive identity theft solution we recommend, a licensed investigator will restore your identity back to where it was before your identity was hacked!
Please call our office to learn more about this comprehensive identity theft solution.