Beware of Identity Scams During Tax Season

Beware Of Identity Scams During Tax Season by Susan Moussi

{2:42 minutes to read} There are countless identity scams to obtain important personal information. Why and how? Scammers try to access your personal information for identity fraud or to get monies from you by threatening you with action if you don’t pay up.

Below is just another example of what you need to be alert to as provided by The Tax Book News.

The IRS is once again warning taxpayers, employers, and tax professionals to be on guard against the latest wave of W-2 scams. This has become one of the more dangerous email scams for tax administration. The emails appear to be from an executive or organization leader to a payroll or human resources employee. It may start with a simple, “Hey, you in today?” By the end of the exchange, all the organization’s employee Form W-2s may be in the hands of cybercriminals. This puts workers at risk for tax-related identity theft.

Because payroll officials believe they are corresponding with an executive, it may take weeks for someone to realize a data theft has occurred. Generally, the criminals are trying to quickly take advantage of their theft, sometimes filing fraudulent tax returns within a day or two. This scam is such a threat to taxpayers that a special IRS reporting process has been established.

The following is an abbreviated list of how to report these schemes: 

•Email dataloss@irs.gov to notify the IRS of a W-2 data loss and provide contact information. In the subject line, type “W2 Data Loss” so that the email can be routed properly. Do not attach any employee personally identifiable information data.

•Email the Federation of Tax Administrators at StateAlert@taxadmin.org to get information on how to report victim information to the states. 

•Businesses/payroll service providers should file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.gov). Businesses/payroll service providers may be asked to file a report with their local law enforcement agency. 

•Notify employees so they may take steps to protect themselves from identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission’s www.identitytheft.gov provides guidance on general steps employees should take. 

•Forward the scam email to phishing@irs.gov. 

Employers are urged to put steps and protocols in place for the sharing of sensitive employee information such as Forms W-2. One example would be to have two people review any distribution of sensitive W-2 data or wire transfers. Another example would be to require a verbal confirmation before emailing W-2 data. Employers also are urged to educate their payroll or human resources departments about these scams. 

Download the original article from The Tax Book News here.

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Susan A. Moussi, CPA, CFP®, CDFA
SMD Tax & Divorce Financial Planning Consultants, Inc.
Phone: 614.429.4172
susan@smdtaxanddivorce.com

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