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.
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“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.