How to Identify Tax Season Phishing Scams

    It comes as no surprise that there is fraud during tax season. This year, the IRS is warning businesses of a recurring e-mail phishing scheme directly targeting businesses. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said this is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams they’ve seen in a long time and it can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns. If you receive a suspicious email from a business, think twice about opening and replying.

    Fraudsters target their emails to payroll and human resources professionals. The emails appear to be legitimate, from company executives. The email requests personal information about company employees such as the following:

    • “Kindly send me the individual 2015 W-2 (PDF) and earnings summary of all W-2 of our company staff for a quick review.”
    • “Can you send me the updated list of employees with full details (Name, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Home Address, Salary)?”
    • “I want you to send me the list of W-2 copy of employees wage and tax statement for 2015. I need them in PDF file type, you can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me ASAP.”

    They are using this information to sell or file fraudulent tax returns to receive the refund. If you receive an email that raises a red flag, ask your manager or IT department to take a look. Not only are businesses a target, elderly are more susceptible to tax scams. If you think your senior living community is at risk, report it to the IRS immediately. To learn more about how your community can prepare and educate employees on tax fraud and phishing scams, visit AssuredPartners Senior Living.

    Sources: IRS, Benesch Attorneys at Law

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