Unlock & Form W-2 Scams Exposed

This month alone, two email phishing scams have emerged that are impacting tax season. Cyber thieves are becoming more and more crafty when it comes to deceiving tax professionals and taxpayers into providing personal information. Keeping that in mind, tax professionals and taxpayers must stay up-to-date on the latest scams. Tax professionals not only need to be aware but must know how to protect themselves and their customers.

Unlock: The Unlock scam uses an email with the subject line Access Locked. The text of the email states that the tax preparation software being using has been suspended. The email instructs the preparer to unlock the account by clicking on the unlock link. Clicking the link will direct the person to another website where the scammer will be able to access account information, if the requested information is provided.

Form W-2:  This scam has evolved over time and involves a number of employers in various industries, ranging from healthcare to tribal casinos. Scammers are also targeting persons who received the email last year. The Form W-2 scam uses a bogus company executive executed email, to acquire employee W-2s from a payroll or human resources employee. The first email is often followed by a second email asking that monies be wire transferred to a specific account.

If you’ve received any of the above emails, it is imperative that you send a copy of the text to your tax software provider and the IRS at Phishing@IRS.gov. Be mindful not to click on or open any of the links or reply to the email.