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Phishing Fraud Spreads During Tax Season

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is once again warning employers, payroll and tax professionals to be extremely vigilant of the following three specific fraudulent schemes designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS, tax professionals, company officials, or tax software companies:

  1. IRS/ACA Scheme: Target receives an email or letter that includes a fake CP2000 report. The fraudulent notice includes a payment request that taxpayers mail a check made out to “I.R.S.” at the “Austin Processing Center” at a P.O. Box address.
  2. Fraudulent Software Providers: Tax professionals receive emails that request they download and install an important software update via a link included in the email. The recipient believes he or she has downloaded a software update when, in fact, the person has loaded a program designed to track keystrokes. This program can steal login information, passwords, and other sensitive data.
  3. W-2 Phishing Scam: Targets payroll and human resource professionals by email. The emails pretend to be from company executives and request personal, sensitive information on employees. The email contains the actual name of the company chief executive officer or other C-level executive. The email from the “CEO” requests a list of employees’ personal information including Social Security Numbers. The IRS urges company payroll officials to double check any executive-level or unusual requests for lists of Forms W-2 or employee names and Social Security Numbers.

Organizations receiving a W-2 scam email should forward it to and place “W2 Scam” in the subject line. Organizations that receive these types of fraudulent schemes or fall victim to them should file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

For more information about this article, please contact our tax professionals at or toll free at 844.4WINDES (844.494.6337).
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