Have you received an email from your CEO, CFO, COO or any other company executive asking for personal information on employees? If it seems fishy to you, you’re right. That’s because scammers have learned a new trick to their old trade: Email phishing directly to payroll and HR departments.
You’ve probably heard of Snapchat being swindled by this scenario. Others have also fallen victim, accidentally sending payroll data such as W-2’s and Social Security numbers to cyber criminals. While the email will look legitimate, coming from your CEO’s email address with his or her name, here are few things that can tip you off:
- Viewing the source of the email will show you the exact “from” address. After doing this, you may notice the email address isn't associated with your company.
- The language of the email may not match your boss’s overall diction and syntax used in his or her day to day email or speech.
- As reported by the IRS, these fake emails will contain details such as:
- Kindly send me the individual 2015 W-2 (PDF) and earnings summary of all W-2 of our company staff for a quick review.
- Can you send me the updated list of employees with full details (Name, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Home Address, Salary).
- I want you to send me the list of W-2 copy of employees wage and tax statement for 2015, I need them in PDF file type, you can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me asap.
This type of phishing is on the rise, along with many other tax scams. The best thing to do if you find yourself in this situation? Exercise skepticism.
These free resources should not be taken as tax or legal advice. Content provided is intended as general information. Tax regulations and laws change and the impact of laws can vary. Consult a tax advisor, CPA or lawyer for guidance on your specific situation.