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IRS Scams and How to Stay Safe

As an HR professional or business owner, your first priority is always the safety of your employees’ personal information. Staying on top of the latest identity theft and tax schemes is the best way to keep your business and employees safe from horrific financial consequences.

The IRS has recently issued a warning to all Payroll and HR Specialists about a grandiose and sophisticated phishing scheme involving employee W-2’s. As your dedicated NYC accountant, I took a moment to highlight the prominent need-to-knows about this scam.

Who’s Doing It?

The leaders of this latest tax scam are criminals with sophisticated website building and emailing capabilities. They may email you a direct link that looks like it’s coming from a trusted source. It may copycat an email directly from the IRS, automated IRS website, or even from your own business email server.

When you click on the link, you might be re-directed to an intelligent spoof of the IRS website created by the scammers. Once lured to the site, you’ll be asked for personal information about your business or your employees.

When this information is entered, it goes directly back to the scammers and they can use this personal and confidential information in any way they choose. The IRS and other authorities are currently investigating who these phishing scammers are and how to track them down to prevent more fraud victims of their tax scam.

What Do They Want?

The phishing email or fake IRS website form will ask for intimate information from you about your employees. It may ask for you to upload your employees’ W-2 forms directly, or attach them and email back to the recipient.

The W-2’s are an important part of the scam because they include the employees’ full names, street addresses, and social security numbers. A scammer can sell these pieces of information to other criminals, or keep them to start an ominous trail of identity theft and credit card fraud.

Other information that may be requested by the IRS scammers includes spousal information from employees or individual taxpayers, electronic filing data, and PIN’s used on the IRS website to file taxes.

How Do I Stay Safe?

If you ever receive an email that requests personal information from you or your employees, investigate it further. Even if the email appears to come from a superior in your inner office, check with that person before responding in any way to the email. This latest IRS phishing scheme is complex because the scammers are using fake email addresses that mimic a valid email address from an existing employee at your company.

These scammers are taking their time and paying close attention to detail. The email may even correspond with the font and logo frequently used throughout your company, so extra care should be taken to verify its validity.

One of the best ways to keep your company safe is to make sure all employees, especially those dealing with employees’ personal information, are abreast of the latest scams. Always share this important information with everyone at your company so they know to look out for suspicious interoffice emails and IRS emails asking for information.

As an experienced small business accountant in NYC, I’ve seen innocent people become the victims of these scams. This headache could have been avoided by seeking the help of a reliable NYC accountant, always in the know on recent scams. If you want to put your mind at ease and leave it to a seasoned professional, give 212 Tax Accounting Services a call today!

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