Beware of W-2-Related Phishing Scams

Nadya Lukic/

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Don't get scammed this tax season.

Reports of spoofed emails that ask for W-2 information is on the rise, according to the IRS office that tracks agency-related phishing attempts.

Much like tax season itself, an uptick in tax-related scams is an annual event. The most popular scam this year targets human resource professionals, according to an FBI alert issued Wednesday. HR professionals may receive a request for W-2 information from an email that pretends to be an executive working at the same company—and sometimes those emails also request an unauthorized wire transfer.

Criminals, the alerts warns, are focused on “mass data thefts” but may still target individual taxpayers.

To avoid falling prey to digital scams, the FBI suggests embracing an older technology: telephones. Businesses should limit the number of employees who can approve or conduct wire transfers or handle W-2 requests, and they should verify requests with a phone call. Ditto for changes to vendor payments: call first.

If a phishing attempt is suspected or successful, the IRS, the FBI and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center all want to know. Click here for details on how to notify them.