The Internal Revenue Service is warning payroll and human resources professionals about a phishing email scheme, which requests employees’ personal information and may “appear” to be from company executives.
According to the IRS, many have already fallen prey to this scheme due to payroll and human resources offices emailing payroll details, including Forms W-2 with Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information to cybercriminals who posed as company executives.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has stated that; “If your CEO appears to be emailing you for a list of company employees, check it out before you respond. Everyone has a responsibility to remain diligent about confirming the identity of people requesting personal information about employees.”
The IRS has provided some details of what this phishing email contains:
“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 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.”
The IRS has also seen a 400 percent increase in phishing and malware incidents this tax season and has recently renewed a consumer alert warning taxpayers of e-mail schemes used to gain personal tax information.
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This information is provided as a courtesy, may change and is not intended as legal or tax guidance. Employers with questions or concerns outside the scope of a Payroll Service Provider are encouraged to seek the advice of a qualified CPA, Tax Attorney or Advisor.