Individuals obtain employee data, and use it to file fraudulent tax returns.
Annapolis, Md (KM) It’s starting a little earlier this year. The W-2 Phishing scam where individuals call or send e-mails to human resources and payroll personnel at various private companies and government agencies, claiming to be from the IRS or the Maryland Comptroller’s Office. They’re asking for information contained in employees’ W-2 forms.
“It’s completely fraudulent, ” says Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. “No business, no entity, no individual should ever respond to a phone call from the IRS or from my office, asking for financial information, particularly a W-2 form.”
He says these individuals will use this information for fraudulent purposes. “Never, ever send that to anyone who calls you over the phone,” he says. “Because what they do is that they then take that information from that W-2 and use it to file fraudulent tax returns.”
The businesses and other entities being targeted by this scam are school districts, tribal casinos, chain restaurants, temporary staffing agencies, healthcare, shipping and freight industries, according to Comptroller’s Office.
Franchot says for the most part, many human resources and payroll personnel. know such requests are not on the level. “There are some H.R. managers and other folks at companies like restaurants and stuff who are taken in. They send–in an effort to comply with what they think is an official request–they send their employees’ W-2 information back.”
He urges H.R. and payroll employees not to send in this information based on a phone call or e-mail; check it out first to see if it’s a legitimate request.
Franchot says the Comptroller’s Office and the IRS do their best to keep pace with all of the frauds and to shut them down. “We like to say that it doesn’t cost the state very much because we identify so much of it before we pay anything out,” he says. “Honestly, it does cost the state and the federal government billions of dollars nationwide.”
Franchot says if you receive such a call, and you have caller ID on your phone, write down the number and then hang up. Then forward that information to the 1-800-MD TAXES, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.