W-2 phishing scam targets workplaces through email


(WTNH) — A phishing scam that had just targeted businesses is now spreading. It is now reaching other sectors, including nonprofits, tribal organizations, hospitals and school systems. Crooks are finding ways to access your W-2 forms and steal your personal information.

Aliki Gialalidis is the manager of Wooster St. Pizza in Cromwell. Crooks have tried to scam her in the past, once saying she hadn’t paid her utility bills.

“She asked me to give four or five thousand dollars because I owe the electric company,” Gialalidis.

Gialalidis realized it was a scam and didn’t lose any money, but she has her guard up. She’s careful to protect herself, her business and her employees. She also avoids doing a lot of business online.

“I’m not working very well with the computers because I don’t know what kind of people [are out there],” said Gialalidis.

That’s how crooks are going after personal information in a scam targeting workplaces. You probably don’t question an email that looks like it came from your boss, and that’s what crooks are counting on.
They’re emailing employees in human resources departments and asking for employees’ W-2 forms.

“Personal information is valuable – more valuable than a credit card, more valuable than a stack of cash,” said Howard Schwartz, Executive Communications Director for the Better Business Bureau.

The IRS first saw this scam last year and it’s spreading earlier and to more people this year.

Be skeptical if you get an email asking for employees’ W-2 forms and avoid discussing them through email. But W-2s aren’t the only things cybercriminals are going after through email.

“They’ll ask for money to be sent by wire transfer to a bank that has no connection to the business whatsoever,” said Schwartz.

If you get a scam email, you’re asked to contact the IRS.

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