By Evan Fagan; Edited by Craig Taylor

Beware W-2 Tax Scams

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.

Five Steps to Prevent Tax Fraud and Identity Theft

  1. If you receive an email requesting any W-2 tax information, pick up the phone and verify that request before sending any email to anyone. Consider that most reputable tax firms request critical and sensitive W-2 tax information (including your SSN#) via secure website, not email.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 somewhere which can lead directly to your identity being stolen.
  4. Every 4 months, get a free once-a-year credit report from the three major credit bureaus (link below). Get them on your calendar (cycle through them) and dispute any unauthorized activity.
    https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action
  5. Place a “security freeze” or “credit freeze” on your files with all three credit bureaus to prevent ID thieves from assuming your identity and opening a line of credit in your name. But, be forewarned, you yourself will not be allowed to open credit until you release these freezes through a formal process with the credit bureaus.

This time of year, it is more important than ever to Think Before You Click!