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
- 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.
- 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 somewhere which can lead directly to your identity being stolen.
- 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.
- 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!