Tax season is here! People are rushing to do their taxes as COVID-19 has left many people financially impacted. Along with this, many businesses are falling for a tax scam as many employers prepare their W-2’s for their employees. The scammer emails them, pretending to be a W-2 preparer for the company. Then once the employer falls for it, the scammer takes all of their employees’ information and uses it to steal their funds. Here is more on this W-2 tax scam to watch out for and how to avoid it.
The Business W-2 Tax Scam to Watch Out For
A scammer sends a business an email claiming that they are preparing the business’ W-2 forms for their employees. Sometimes they pretend to be the boss preparing W-2 forms and at other times they claim to be the preparer the business hired, depending on the situation. The email addresses, senders’ names, and the email look legit, making the business believe it’s a real email when it isn’t.
The employer sends their employees’ sensitive information to the scammer without even realizing it, and the scammer uses this information to commit identity theft. They also use it to file fake tax returns under the employees’ names so that the scammers receive their tax returns.
The W-2 tax scam is an example of spear phishing, BEC phishing scams, and CEO fraud. This is because the scammer uses confidential information about the business to earn the employer’s trust. They usually steal this information from social media sites, the business’ website, and LinkedIn. Since the scammer knows so much about the company, the business usually believes them and hands over the information without even thinking about it.
How to Avoid the W-2 Tax Scam
- Don’t provide your business’ personal and financial information to anyone via email or website.
- Always make sure to hold meetings with the CEO over video chat or in-person to talk about sensitive information, instead of texting and emailing personal information.
- Prepare W-2 forms yourselves or only with someone that you know can be trusted.
- Do your research before hiring anyone to handle your sensitive information.
- Don’t assume that someone is who they say they are over email or text message based on the information they know.
- Don’t click on any links within any email you get that you are unsure about.
- Trust your gut feeling if something doesn’t seem right.
- Report any scam that your company has been apart of to the FTC.
Social Catfish is Here to Help!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you think you’ve been a victim of the business W-2 tax scam.
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