The IRS issued an alert to payroll and HR professionals to be aware of phishing e-mails in which fraudsters pose as company executives and ask for confidential employee information, such as W-2s or employee’s Social Security Numbers, date of birth, and salary information.
The information being stolen can be used to produce fraudulent returns or to steal an employee’s tax refund.
According to the alert, these “spoofing” e-mails will contain the actual name of the company’s CEO and may request a list of employees and their personal information, including SSNs.
A few of the instances reported contained the following statements 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 fraud is ever-increasing and ever-evolving. This is just one way that certain cyber-criminals are using to steal personal information. It is important to continuously be alert and aware of these cases to protect yourself (and your employees). To read the full alert by the IRS, click here.