The IRS is warning businesses about a sharp increase in email phishing scams involving employees’ W-2 forms. The scams can put workers’ Social Security numbers and other crucial information in the hands of thieves, the Associated Press reports. The government said 200 businesses, public schools, universities, Native American governments and nonprofits were victimized by these scams during this year’s tax filing season, resulting in the theft of several hundred thousand employees’ data. That’s up from 50 in 2016, when the scam first appeared.
Cyberthieves send emails that appear to come from executives inside the targeted organizations. The emails ask payroll or human resources departments to reply with a list of all employees and their W-2 forms. Some emails also ask companies to transfer money to a specified bank account. Companies should be on alert for anyone asking for employees’ W-2 forms or for wire transfers of money. The IRS has an email notification address specifically for businesses and organizations to report W-2 thefts: firstname.lastname@example.org.