The IRS issued an alert to payroll and human resource professionals about a new phishing email scam designed to trick them into giving out payroll data. In a March 1 news release, the IRS said that the new scam involves fraudulent email messages that appear to be from a company executive asking for sensitive employee information.
The IRS reports there has been a surge in phishing schemes this year and that several payroll and human resources offices have already been victimized by this particular scheme. The victims mistakenly emailed payroll data including Forms W-2 containing employees’ social security numbers (SSNs) and other personally identifiable information to cybercriminals posing as company executives. In this scheme, the “CEO” sends an email to a company payroll office employee and requests a list of employees and their information including SSNs.
The following are some of the details contained in the e-mails:
- 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.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen warns that, “If your CEO appears to be emailing you for a list of company employees, check it out before you respond. Everyone has a responsibility to remain diligent about confirming the identity of people requesting personal information about employees.”
You can read the full release here.
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