Business Customers Beware of W-2 Scam

The IRS has once again issued a warning regarding an email scam that uses 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 and is resurfacing due to tax season. Cybercriminals trick payroll and human resource officials into disclosing employee names, SSNs and income information by requesting this information under the name of an actual corporate officer – sometimes the CEO or CFO. The criminals then attempt to file fraudulent tax returns for tax refunds.

To avoid putting your company and employees in jeopardy, the IRS urges company payroll officials to double check any executive-level or unusual requests for lists of Forms W-2 or Social Security number. If you receive a request, call that individual personally to confirm they asked for the information. Suspicious requests may be worded as:

  • 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.

Remember, any request for personal employee information should be confirmed with the individual requesting it. Taking the time to double check can save your company and employees from being victims of cybercrime.