With tax season rapidly approaching, the IRS warns that businesses could find themselves at risk with regards to cybersecurity. The agency recently stated that there’s been an uptick in identity thieves seeking out employees’ W-2 forms due to the sensitive information they contain. That information, in turn, can be used to falsify a wide variety of documents.
The IRS says that these culprits often target employees that work in payroll or human resources departments, but any worker could potentially be vulnerable. As the scam commonly unfolds, an identity thief will pose as an executive in an email and request copies of employees’ W-2s. Per the agency, these email addresses often appear legitimate, and can fool those who merely give them a cursory glance.
For their part, the IRS recommends that owners advise their employees to not release W-2s without ensuring it’s not an attempted scam. The agency also encourages business owners to notify the IRS when such scams take place.
All taxpayers should use caution
This time of year, businesses aren’t the only ones susceptible to scams, as emails falsely claiming to be from the IRS can find their way into inboxes. These emails, which could aim to entice recipients with a phantom unclaimed refund, could be phishing attempts. By opening these messages, taxpayers could subject their server or PC to malware.
Taxpayers should know that the IRS does not correspond by email, text message or social media. Unless the correspondence arrives via U.S. mail, it isn’t from the IRS. All taxpayers should exercise greater caution this tax season in order to avoid falling prey to identity theft scams.