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Within the pages of this online financial resource, you’ll find financial accounting, payroll services and tax preparation products. And this blog will bring you news you can use, like today’s tax scam alert, detailed below.
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Your Gavrilov and Company Tax Accounting Squad Alert: the Recent W-2 Tax Scam
We are all accustomed to opposing political parties referring to each other’s tax proposals as “scams.” We want to alert you to some genuine, criminal scams. Beware of them in the months ahead. Do not let them victimize your company. First and foremost, consider this an official Gavrilov and Company Accounting alert to watch out for the infamous W-2 Scam.
Gavrilov Tax accountants explain how the W-2 scam works:
1. An employee in the payroll, financial or human resources department receives an official e-mail or memorandum. When you examine it closely, you believe it’s in the proper, format, right down to the logo.
And it indicates that the CEO, president or company owner has a special request.
2. The request is for a detailed list of the company employees’ and their W-2’s. The employee industriously creates the list. He complies with the request and forwards the e-mail. Task accomplished.
3. As you might have guessed, the forwarded e-mail does not go to the CEO or company member who supposedly requested it.
4. Instead, it goes directly into the hands of the scammers who sent it. Everyone on that list, every employee of the company with a W-2 is at high risk of identity theft. Gavrilov and Co tax experts warn you. In the words of the IRS, “Don’t take the bait!”
A Warning Revelation for All Kinds of Accounting Information:
- Also known as a BEC scam, this is a very prominent scam. Experts term the first step, the perfect formatting of the email message, “spoofing.” According to Technopedia, “Spoofing, is a fraudulent or malicious practice in which communication is sent from an unknown source disguised as a source known to the receiver.”
- Because this is a popular Internet and e-mail scheme, it also comes under the heading of “phishing.” Broadly speaking, this term indicates any type of e-mail scam that attempts to trick the reader into revealing personal information. This information may include bank account numbers, social security card numbers and passwords.
- You might have received a few of these types of phishing e-mails from foreign princes over the years. However, the W-2 scam is considerably more sophisticated. And it typically features much better spelling and grammar.
There is Help if Your Company Receives the W-2 Scam E-Mails
On the one hand, there have been a tremendous number of these W-2 scams coast to coast. As a result, the government has set up a special online resource for reporting the receipt of such e-mail.
The first step will be, “If your business received the email but did NOT fall victim to the scam, forward the email to the IRS.”
- There is an entire online protocol. The authorities need the evidence to investigate these cyber-criminals.
- Meanwhile, do not attach any sensitive data such as employee SSNs or W-2s.
- Likewise, you should also file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.) This agency is operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
On the other hand, if you actually lose data such as W-2’s or social security numbers to these criminals, we hope you would then do the right thing. Report the breach through the proper government channels. They also have an appropriate online presence.
Gavrilov & Co Alerts: Free Warnings for Taxpayers, from Your Ethical Accountants
Perhaps you were already aware of the W-2 scams. There are more warnings about cyber crimes ahead. The IRS, FTC, FBI and various cyber-security agencies report all of the new scams to us.
If blog warnings can help prevent the data breach and identity thefts of even one small company, then we will have spent these words well.
We also want you to know that at Gavrilov and Co, we go to the utmost extremes to protect our clients’ security and confidentiality.
Our Tax Accountants Also Have Scam Warnings for Individual Tax-payers: A Twist on the W-2 Scam
Scam emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry. These may include tax software companies. These are positively creepy phishing schemes. They often seek information related to refunds. The emails look genuine while they ask for your filing status.
They might appear to be legitimately confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information. But they are not legitimate! And they are not from the IRS or from your tax service. We are trained to know the difference.
Gavrilov & Co: Meet Your Trained Anti-Scam Accounting Champions
We are constantly on guard for bogus emails. For a twist on this, crafty scammers creation. They pretend to need information for an obscure Life Insurance and Annuity update. It’s obscure, alright. It does not exist. The entire so-called “Life Insurance and Annuity Update Form” is a fake.
“The IRS does not require Life Insurance and Annuity updates from taxpayers or their tax professionals.”
Beware of this complex new scam. Recently, the IRS warned us, “The cyber-criminal, using data from the completed form, impersonates the client and contacts the individual’s insurance company.”
Moreover, the cyber-criminal, when disguised in your identity, attempts to obtain a loan or make a withdrawal from those accounts.”
Of course, you can avoid this type of scam entirely when your team includes a squad of champion tax accountants like those at Gavrilov & Co. We’re on your side.
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Thank you for reading the Gavrilov and Co Blog this week. Keep watching out for our tax-related scam alerts, tax tips, and accounting strategies.