Posted by: on February 15, 2017 at 5:16 pm

‘Tis the season… for a familiar email scam.

The email scam we warned you about last year involving W-2 forms is back again. In fact, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says, “This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time.”

The scam typically goes like this: An email that looks like it comes from the CEO, CFO or other “big boss” is sent to a lower-level employee, telling them to send the W-2s of all employees.

The “bonus” this year is that scammers are following up the W-2 request with a wire transfer request. Per the IRS, “Some companies have lost both employees’ W-2s and thousands of dollars due to wire transfers. “

Remember that when you receive sudden requests like this, they are very likely spoofed emails. You should double check by picking up the phone and verify that this is a legit request coming from that executive.

Two Simple Steps to Avoid This Email Scam
  1. Education. Please share this information with your payroll, finance, and HR team.
  2. Create an internal policy on distributing W-2 forms and wire transfers.
What to Do If You are Targeted

If you receive a W-2 scam email, forward it to with “W2 Scam” in the subject line. Affected employers and companies should also alert state tax agencies by notifying

Employees whose W-2s have been stolen should go to or
If your tax return is rejected due to a duplicate Social Security number, file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.

This tax season, stay alert for scams like this, and — always — think before you click!


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