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Friday November 24, 2017

Washington News

Washington Hotline

'Don't Take the Bait' W-2 Scam

In IR-2017-130, the Service continued a summer series of warnings about tax scammers. In this latest scam, a business or nonprofit is targeted in an effort to obtain its employees' Forms W-2.

In this scam, the fraudster claims to be an officer of the business or nonprofit. He or she sends an email to a financial or human resources employee. The fraudster tries to trick the employee into sending him or her a list of all employee W-2 forms.

With the W-2 forms, the fraudster is able to file tax returns with exact income numbers and request improper refunds. Because the income numbers are correct, it is more difficult for the IRS to discover the fraud.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen stated, "These are incredibly tricky schemes that can be devastating to a tax professional or business. Cybercriminals target people with access to sensitive information, and they cleverly disguise their efforts through an official-looking email."

The W-2 scam has targeted businesses, public schools, universities and other nonprofits.

All businesses and nonprofits should take steps to protect Forms W-2. If a finance or human relations employee is asked for W-2 information, a good policy is to have the employee call the person requesting information and confirm the reason for the request.

The IRS has a special email address for reporting theft of Form W-2 information. The IRS email address is dataloss@irs.gov. Use "W-2 Scam" in the email subject line.

Published August 18, 2017
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