IRS Alerts

February 3, 2017

IRS, States and Tax Industry Renew Alert about Form W-2 Scam Targeting Payroll, Human Resource Departments

Jan. 25, 2017

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry today renewed their warning about an email scam that uses a corporate officer’s name to request employee Forms W-2 from company payroll or human resources departments.

This week, the IRS already has received new notifications that the email scam is making its way across the nation for a second time. The IRS urges company payroll officials to double check any executive-level or unusual requests for lists of Forms W-2 or Social Security number.

The W-2 scam first appeared last year. Cybercriminals tricked payroll and human resource officials into disclosing employee names, SSNs and income information. The thieves then attempted to file fraudulent tax returns for tax refunds.

This phishing variation is known as a “spoofing” e-mail. It will contain, for example, the actual name of the company chief executive officer. In this variation, the “CEO” sends an email to a company payroll office or human resource employee and requests a list of employees and information including SSNs.

The following are some of the details that may be contained in the emails:

  • Kindly send me the individual 2016 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, Salary).
  • I want you to send me the list of W-2 copy of employees wage and tax statement for 2016, I need them in PDF file type, you can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me asap.

Working together in the Security Summit, the IRS, states and tax industry have made progress in their fight against tax-related identity theft, cybercriminals are using more sophisticated tactics to try to steal even more data that will allow them to impersonate taxpayers.

For more information please visit their website at

Taxes. Security. Together. We all have a role to play in protecting your data.

We need your help.

In an unprecedented partnership, the IRS, the states and the tax industry are working together to protect your federal and state tax accounts from identity thieves.

Many of these steps are invisible to you but will help us verify the identity of the taxpayer and the validity of the tax return. The Summit partners’ priorities for 2017 remain focused on enhanced authentication procedures, improved information sharing, heightened cybersecurity and greater education and outreach to the public. (See Fact Sheet 2016-21 for details on our efforts.)

We are asking you – taxpayers, tax preparers and businesses – to join with us to create an even stronger partnership in the face of this constantly evolving enemy. Our “Taxes. Security. Together” awareness campaign is an effort to better inform you about the need to protect your personal, tax and financial data online and at home. People continue to fall prey to clever cybercriminals who trick them into giving up Social Security numbers, account numbers or password information. In turn, criminals use this information a variety of ways, including filing fraudulent tax returns.

For more information please visit their website at

IRS Security Awareness Tax Tips

Safeguarding Taxpayer Data: Create Strong Passwords
Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself Tax Tip Number 8, January 25, 2017

What to Do If You Suffer a Data Breach or Other Security Incident
Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself Tax Tip Number 7, January 18, 2016

How the IRS Taxpayer Bill of Rights Works
Special Edition Tax Tip 2017-01, January 17, 2017

Safeguarding Taxpayer Data: Monitor Your EFIN for Suspicious Activity
Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself Tax Tip Number 6, January 11, 2017

Security Awareness for Taxpayers: The Tax Community Needs Your Help
Taxes. Security. Together. Tax Tip Number 12, January 9, 2017

Safeguarding Taxpayer Data – Secure Your Office
Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself Tax Tip Number 5, January 4, 2017

IRS, States, Industry Urge Taxpayers to Learn Signs of Identity Theft
Taxes. Security. Together. Tax Tip Number 11, January 3, 2017

Safeguarding Taxpayer Data – Make a Security Plan
Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself Tax Tip Number 4, December 28, 2016

IRS, Partners Move to Strengthen Anti-Fraud Effort with Form W-2 Verification Code
Taxes. Security. Together. Tax Tip Number 10, December 27, 2016

Safeguarding Taxpayer Data – How to Get Started
Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself Tax Tip Number 3, December 21, 2016

IRS Offers Tips on Validating Your Identity on Your Tax Return
Taxes. Security. Together. Tax Tip Number 9, December 19, 2016

Safeguarding Taxpayer Data – Avoid Scams
Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself Tax Tip Number 2, December 14, 2016

For more tips, please visit their website at