Your BBB® would like to share information regarding a scam that’s been on the rise during tax season. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) warns that the scam in question is targeting school districts, nonprofits, and other organizations. The W-2 phishing scam has previously targeted for profits only.

This is how it operates: a scammer pretending to be a high-level executive from the targeted organization sends out an email requesting employee information and W-2 forms from the HR department. Human resource representatives are asked to provide employee personal information such as social security number, home address and salary.

The scam is also known as BEC (business email compromise) or BES (business email spoofing). With just one email, the fraudsters can gain access to hundreds of personal accounts, which is exactly what happened to a popular Indiana-based restaurant chain (you can read the entire story here).

Scammers later use this information to file fraudulent tax returns to obtain false tax refunds

“This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time. It can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns. We need everyone’s help to turn the tide against this scheme,” explains IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

If you or your department receive this type of email, contact the IRS and the authorities and don’t reply to the said email!

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