March 2, 2016 | Payroll Software | Posted by Vicki Lambert, CPP
Watch Out for Fraud, W-2s, Your “CEO”
We all know that fraud has been occurring with the Form W-2. This is what has caused the IRS to request and Congress to approve moving the due date of the form up to January 31st. But now the IRS is alerting payroll professionals to be aware of an emerging phishing email scheme that is targeted directly at payroll and the information you have on your employees. It seems that these schemes send bogus emails purporting to be from company executives and requests personal information on employees. This is a new twist on an old scheme and is focusing on the busyness of this time of year. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has advised payroll departments to be sure to check out requests for company lists that come from executives before sending out the data. “Everyone has a responsibility to remain diligent about confirming the identity of people requesting personal information about employees” states Commissioner Koskinen.
The IRS is already investigating and reviewing several cases of what is known as a “spoofing” email. It will contain, for example, the actual name of the company chief executive officer. In this variation, the “CEO” sends an email to the company payroll office employee requesting a list of employees and information including social security numbers. The following are some of the details of the scheme that the IRS has furnished:
- Kindly send me the individual 2015 W-2 (PDF) and earnings summary of all W-2 of our company staff for a quick review
- Can you send me the updated list of employees with full details (Name, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Home Address, and Salary) as at 2/2/2016.
- I want you to send me the list of W-2 copy of employees wage and tax statement for 2015, I need them in PDF file type, and you can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me ASAP.
What can payroll professionals do to handle this situation? First, immediately inform your higher ups that the phishing scheme is now in play. Make sure they are aware ahead of time of your need to be even more diligent than ever on guarding your payroll information. And then, as usual, guard the information in your system as you always have, in the most professional manner available. If your managers need more info please refer to this link for a copy of the IRS alert
Vicki M. Lambert, CPP, is President and Academic Director of The Payroll Advisor™, a firm specializing in payroll education and training. The company’s website www.thepayrolladvisor.com offers a payroll news service which keeps payroll professionals up-to-date on the latest rules and regulations. With 40 years of hands-on experience in all facets of payroll functions as well as over three decades as a trainer and author, Ms. Lambert has become the most sought-after and respected voice in the practice and management of payroll issues. She has conducted open market training seminars on payroll issues across the United States that have been attended by executives and professionals from some of the most prestigious firms in business today. A pioneer in electronic and online education, Ms. Lambert produces and presents payroll related audio seminars, webinars and webcasts for clients, APA chapters and business groups throughout the country. Ms. Lambert is also an adjunct faculty member at Brandman University in Southern California where she is the instructor for American Payroll Association’s “PayTrain” online program.