Urgent Alert: Beware of W-2 Phishing Scam

At Executech, we’re on the frontline of the battle against hackers, spam and viruses. Some of the threats we see are innovative and new, others have been around for years.

We wanted to let you know about a phishing attack that has been around for several years. This attack comes around this time of year and preys on the trusted relationships that exist within a company.

The scam works through spoofing techniques to create email messages that seem to be from an organization’s executives.  These emails are frequently sent to HR departments, accounting departments and people in charge of payroll requesting W-2 information for some or all employees.

Here are some sample messages we’ve encountered before:

  • 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)?
  • I want you to send me the list of W-2 copies 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.

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.

If you are scammed, immediately notify your payroll and human resources departments of this scam as well as the following steps:

  1. Forward the scam email to [email protected] and place “W2 Scam” in the subject line.
  2. File a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
  3. Employees whose W-2s have been stolen should review the recommended actions by the FTC or IRS.
  4. If an employee’s own tax return gets rejected due to a duplicate SSN or if instructed by the IRS, the employee should file a Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit.

For more information, visit this article from the IRS.

We strive to proactively keep your network and your company safe from cyber threats. By working together with you and your employees, we can stop a threat before it becomes an issue. Call your technical consultant if you have any questions about email protection and privacy.

Related Insights