RE: W-2 Phishing Scams
February 7, 2017


Dear Colleagues,

As some of you are aware, last year saw an unprecedented amount of W-2 fraud. The IRS estimated that tax fraud due to phishing scams rose 400% in 2016. On that note, the IRS recently published the following.

“This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time. It can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns. We need everyone’s help to turn the tide against this scheme,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

Here’s how the scam works: Cybercriminals use various spoofing techniques to disguise an email to make it appear as if it is from an organization executive. The email is sent to an employee in the payroll or human resources departments, requesting a list of all employees and their Forms W-2. This scam is sometimes referred to as business email compromise (BEC) or business email spoofing (BES).

The Security Summit partners urge all employers to be vigilant. The W-2 scam, which first appeared last year, is circulating earlier in the tax season and to a broader cross-section of organizations, including school districts, tribal casinos, chain restaurants, temporary staffing agencies, healthcare and shipping and freight. Those businesses that received the scam email last year also are reportedly receiving it again this year.

For the full article, please see Dangerous W-2 Phishing Scam Evolving; Targeting Schools, Restaurants, Hospitals, Tribal Groups and Others

Please be diligent in your review of incoming email, and make sure that you DO NOT email protected information. You may want to take this time to review LBCC data classification standards.

If you have any questions about this advisory, please contact the ITS Help Desk.