New tax scam targets companies to surrender employees’ information

AP File Photo

Tax season is here and that means many are busy filing their returns.

But the Internal Revenue Service says there’s also a new tax scam that could put you at risk. The scam targets the human resources or personnel department of a company. An email or letter is sent to make it seem like it’s from the company’s president or CEO.

Grace McKnight with the IRS says “what they’re requesting is a list and all information regarding the employees of that company. It could be ‘give me all of the data and give me all of your W-2s.'”

If the company ends up surrendering that confidential information, all of its employees’ records could be at risk.

“Now it becomes a tax-related identity theft if they begin to start filing a tax return for these people and trying to get a refund,” said McKnight.

If the IRS hears of this kind of breach, notices will be sent to affected employees. A red flag would also be placed on their returns, adding an extra layer of security to verify the actual identity of the filer.

So far, the scam has hit a variety of companies in the health care and restaurant industries. Temporary staffing agencies have also been targeted as well.

As for this tax season, it’s all about filing electronically, which means getting a faster refund versus filing by paper. “We really don’t carry many paper returns anymore,” McKnight said. “A lot more people are using software, which is a lot easier.”

The deadline for filing your federal taxes this year will be Tuesday, April 18, since Monday is observed as a holiday in Washington, D.C.

State tax forms are due on Thursday, April 20.

Here are some reminders as you file your returns:

  • Be sure your Social Security number is on your forms
  • Double check your math
  • Attach your W-2 forms
  • And make sure you sign your returns.

For those of you who haven’t filed your returns yet, our Action Line Tax Days kick off on Tuesday, March 28, when volunteers will be answering your questions. You can reach them at 591-0222 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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