Internal Revenue Service Warns of Email Phishing Scam

February 2017 | Posted in Tax & Consulting
Tax & Consulting
Tax Planning and Compliance Blog

In late January 2017, the IRS issued News Release 2017-10 warning employers about the return of a phishing scam targeting payroll and human resource departments.  The phishing scam typically involves a spoof Email purportedly sent from one of the business’ executives to its payroll, finance, or human resource department requesting confidential employee information.

The scam Emails  request employee personal information such as PDF copies of Form W-2, salary and tax information, social security numbers, dates of birth, and home addresses.  The information is then used to file fraudulent income tax returns.

Last week, the IRS issued News Release 2017-20 notifying taxpayers that the scam has expanded to include employers such as school districts, tribal organizations and nonprofit entities.  In addition, business taxpayers that previously received a scam Email are receiving follow up Emails requesting that they make a wire transfer to a specific account.

Employers should immediately notify their payroll, finance, and human resource employees about the scam.  Employees that receive a request from a company executive or any other unusual request for confidential employee information should follow up immediately on that request to verify its validity.   In addition, note that the IRS will not contact taxpayers by Email, text message, or social media to request personal or financial information.

If you or your company receives a suspected phishing Email, you should forward the Email to the IRS at and write “W-2 Scam” in the subject line.

More information regarding this scam can be found on the IRS website using the following link:

If you have any questions or need any additional information regarding this information, please do not hesitate to contact your Whitley Penn tax advisor.

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