The FBI and IRS have repeatedly warned the public about W-2 phishing scams, and that number has significantly increased this year. W-2 scams are hitting everywhere, even a Cybersecurity Contractor was hit with one of these!
“On Thursday, March 16, the CEO of Defense Point Security, LLC — a Virginia company that bills itself as “the choice provider of cyber security services to the federal government” — told all employees that their W-2 tax data was handed directly to fraudsters after someone inside the company fell for a W-2 spear phishing attack.”
When handling personal data of any kind, always show caution. How can you best prevent yourself from falling victim to one of these scams? Below we have an excerpt from KnowBe4, Inc on how to best protect yourself:
This year, authorities are warning about a massive wave of W-2 tax form phishing scams. Cyber criminals are sending “spoofed” emails that look like they come from the CEO or another C-level executive and ask for a PDF with the W-2 tax information of all employees. The W-2’s have all the information needed to file fraudulent tax returns and steal anyone’s identity.
Here are five steps to prevent an incredible amount of hassle and possible damage:
- If you receive any email requesting any kind of W-2 tax information, pick up the phone and verify that request before you email anything to anybody.
- File your taxes at the state and federal level as quickly as you can, or file for an October 16 extension early, before the bad guys can file a bogus claim.
- Consider filing form 14039 and request an IP PIN from the government. Form 14039 requires you to state you believe you are likely to be a victim of identity fraud. Even if cyber criminals haven’t tried to file a bogus tax return in your name, virtually every American’s data has been stolen which can lead to your identity being stolen.
- Every 4 months, get a free once-a-year credit report from the three major credit bureaus. Get them on your calendar (cycle through them) and dispute any unauthorized activity.
- Place a “security freeze” or “credit freeze” on your files with all three credit bureaus to prevent ID thieves from assuming your identity and open up a line of credit in your name.