Tax scammers are targeting bosses and payroll teams in large and small companies, across all private and public sectors. First, they will research and identify people inside the company using tools like Linkedi
n. Next, they can hack into a legitimate email account and send emails “from” the account holder, making it very easy to pose as someone from inside your firm.
The scammer will request one or more W-2 forms, and sometimes follow it by a wire transfer request. Why go through such bother to get one document? Because a W-2 form is all you need to commit a simple tax fraud. It contains a name, home address, Social Security number, income and withholding data. Anyone who obtains a legitimate W-2 form may simply put it up for sale on the Dark Web or use it themselves to file a fraudulent tax return, and receive sizable refunds directly deposited into their own bank accounts. You wont even know until you try to file your own return.
If you think you’ve been the victim of this or any tax scam, contact the FBI and your company's payroll department.
Also, you should never send a W-2 to anyone using unsecured email. This is true even if you trust the recipient. It's too easy to hack into unsecured email. Tax pros, like Treehouse Taxes, use secure client portals to exchange sensitive documents. If you have to use email, make sure the document is password protected.