Phishing scams has been around since the dawn of the technological age. Ever since digital messages were enabled and could be sent, scammers have been out to steal identities by posing as a validated professional services. Even in the 2016 tax season this scam continues with emails that have been sent out to request personal information. These emails are supposedly being sent from company executives that request to see W-2 forms that contain Social Security numbers and other valuable identity information that cyber-criminals can utilize.

In order to identify spoofing emails, take close attention to the detail, often times the CEO will ask for employee lists or information such as social security numbers.

Some examples include:

  • 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) as at 2/2/2016?

  • I want you to send me the list of W-2 copy of employee's 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

With a 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents this tax season, the IRS have renewed a wider consumer alert. By attempting to trick taxpayers into believing these are official documents from the IRS or tax software companies, the cybercriminals are a lot more likely to gather valuable personal information by assuming the title of a trusted source. For additional steps you can take to protect yourself, please see the IRS webpage for the campaign or Publication 4524.


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