The Internal Revenue Service is once again issuing warnings to 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, last year many had 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 cyber criminals who posed as company executives. Now in 2017, the IRS is warning that this email scam is being seen again.


This particular phishing scam is known as “spoofing” email and may contain the name of your company executive officers. The IRS Commissioner’s advice from last year should continue to be followed; “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 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.


For more information on how you can help protect yourself, go or Publication 4524.


Thank you for choosing Paylocity as your payroll tax partner. Should you have any questions please contact your Paylocity Account Manager.


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.