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IRS Issues Warning About Phishing Emails and Scams
10 January 2019

IRS Issues Warning About Phishing Emails and Scams

USE CAUTION: When changing banking information for employees, make certain that the change request is valid. Read the following excerpt from the IRS for more on fake direct deposit emails & W-2 scams.
 
From the IRS Newswire   (IR-2018-253 for full article)
 
IRS, Security Summit partners warn tax professionals of fake payroll direct deposit and wire transfer emails
 
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners today warned tax professionals of an uptick in phishing emails targeting them that involve payroll direct deposit and wire transfer scams.
 
……The IRS and the Summit partners, consisting of state revenue departments and tax community partners, are concerned these scams – as well as the Form W-2 scam -- could increase as the 2019 tax season approaches.
 
These emails generally impersonate a company employee, often an executive, and are sent to payroll or human resources personnel. The email from the “employee” asks the payroll or human resource staff to change his or her direct deposit for payroll purposes. The “employee” provides a new bank account and routing number, but it is actually controlled by the thief. This scam is usually discovered pretty quickly, but not before the victim has lost one or two payroll deposits.
 
…….A common theme in these and many other email scams is that they include grammatical and spelling mistakes.
 
All businesses should be alert to these BEC/BES scams that take many forms such as fake invoice payments, title escrow payments, wire transfers or other schemes that result in a quick payoff for the thief. Businesses should consider policy changes to guard against such losses.
 
One version the IRS and Summit partners have highlighted in recent years is the W-2 scam. This involves an email impersonating an executive or person in authority, which requests a list of the organization’s Forms W-2 covering all of its employees. The purpose of this scam is to allow thieves to quickly file fraudulent tax returns for refunds. All employers, in both the public and private sectors, should be on guard against this and other dangerous scams.
 
BEC/BES email examples
Here are examples of emails that have been reported by tax professionals to the IRS in recent days. These emails have been edited by the IRS:
 
From: [REMOVED]
Sent: Monday, December 10, 2018 [REMOVED]
To: [REMOVED]
Subject: (no subject)
                                     
Hello [REMOVED],
 
I changed my bank and I will like my paycheck DD details changed. Do you think this change be effective for the next pay date?
 [REMOVED]
Sent from my iPhone

 

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