Be Alert For Email Tax Scams
Jeff Stimpson of Accounting Today warns that phishing emails involving payroll direct deposits, wire transfers and W-2s have been increasing. According to his post (https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/phishing-scams-target-tax-pros-via-payroll-wire-transfers) while all businesses are targets, the IRS and state revenue departments have reported that tax preparers are especially vulnerable going into tax season.
Email scams impersonate employees or executives and target payroll or human resources departments. They will request lists of W-2s, changes in direct deposits to the thief’s account, or wire transfers to fraudulent accounts.
The best defense is employee training on spotting and reporting suspicious emails. Spelling and/or grammar errors can be a clue. Ask for verification without using the email address or phone number provided by the email.
Stimpson lists websites for reporting scams:
For the general public, www.ic3.gov.
Tax professionals report tax-related phishing to email@example.com.
Employers victimized by scams report to firstname.lastname@example.org. If no loss, forward email to email@example.com. (Warning: due to the partial government shutdown the IRS website may not be available or regularly monitored.)