Just when I thought everyone knew about the continued W2 schemes, where phishing emails are used to get company employees’ W2 forms so the thief can file a false tax return and get a refund, several additional clients have been hit with the scheme and the thieves were successful.
Just like after holiday sales in retail stores, it is common now that after the holidays, there is an uptick of identity theft and tax fraud schemes as tax season looms upon us.
My tip this week is to re-educate all of your employees on the dangers of phishing emails and providing sensitive data of employees, (such as W2 forms) to criminals impersonating the CEO or head of the entity. It is happening every day, and will continue to be a problem in the next few month. If your boss or CEO asks for W2 forms, go into his or her office face to face and ask him or her why. If you can’t got into the office and ask face to face, then pick up that phone on your desk and call him or her. Stop relying on email for instructions in this area.
Further, put procedures in place that will thwart any phishing attack requesting sensitive data of employees. And finally, continually provide support to personnel so they feel comfortable to ask questions when their gut tells them something is off.
Since tax identity theft continues to be such a problem, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is hosting “Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week” next week (January 30-February 3). It will host a series of events designed to assist consumers and businesses on ways they “can minimize their risk of tax identity theft, and recover if it happens.”
Check out the FTC’s website for a list of events and listen in and learn—they are free! Stay vigilant and protect yourself and your employees from tax identity theft.