As if tax season didn’t produce enough anxiety, scammers are out there hunting your W-2s, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has warned.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, scammers will send an email to an employee in a company’s human resources department that initially appears to be from the company CEO or another corporate executive, asking for copies of the W-2 forms of all employees. Next, they follow up with an urgent request to transfer a large sum of money to a bank account controlled by these cyber-criminals.
Hood said Mississippi residents should be wary of any sudden or unexpected requests from someone in authority at their workplace.
Employees should always verify by phone that this is a legitimate request coming from that executive.
“We have received calls and reports to our office this week from entities whose employees have fallen for this type of scam,” Hood said in a press release. “Employees who would have W-2 information, such as accounting or human resources personnel, are particularly susceptible to this scam. All types of organizations are possible targets, including schools, healthcare organizations, nonprofits, and private businesses.”
Tax-refund fraud increased by nearly 50 percent in 2015, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
This year, the IRS said, criminals have started tax-refund scams much earlier.
The best way to avoid becoming a victim of tax-refund fraud is to file your taxes as soon as possible — before the fraudsters can, the release from Hood said.
Consumers who need to report information about a phishing scam or any tax-related scam should contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-281-4418.