IRS warning of new phishing scam to get tax information

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) —

The IRS has issued a warning about a phishing scam that is targeting businesses and organizations looking to get your W-2s.

Tax season can be a busy time for employers as companies work to distribute W-2 forms to employees. But now cyber criminals are using sophisticated techniques to con HR departments across the country into giving up sensitive material found in W-2s.

“An executive will email your HR payroll, and it’ll look like it came from the executive and what is asking for employee information W-2s all your employees maybe even socials,” said Kayleena Speakman with the Better Business Bureau.

Speakman says this is actually an old scam just re-invented.

“The old scam was just corporations,” she said. “The new twist is now school districts, tribal organizations even non-profits.”

The head of the IRS is not taking this scam lightly — saying in part:

“This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time. It can result in a large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns.”

“It’s a very dangerous scam because what’s going to happen if the payroll person actually falls for it and gives these scammers all the information,” Speakman said.

Experts say the best way employers can fight these fraudsters is by looking for red flags – like misspellings and poor grammar in the email.

“Tax season was our number one scam reported in 2016, and I would not be surprised if it wasn’t number one in 2017,” Speakman said.

This particular scam has not be reported in Central California but experts say it is on the rise across the country.

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