Just as efforts to meet the Form W-2 deadline at the end of January get into full tilt, scamsters are at it again. The IRS has issued its fourth reminder for “National Tax Security Awareness Week” urging taxpayers to avoid identity theft by watching out for W-2 email scams that often surge during filing season. The W-2 scam has emerged as one of the most dangerous and successful phishing attacks as hundreds of employers and tens of thousands of employees fell victim to the scheme in the past year. This scam is such a threat to taxpayers that a special IRS reporting process has been established.

All employers are at risk including businesses large and small, public schools and universities, as well as tribal governments, charities and hospitals. The IRS has warned employers to beware of this scheme and to educate employees, especially those in human resources and payroll departments who are often the first targets. Further, employers are urged to put protocols in place for sharing sensitive employee information such as Forms W-2. Finally, in case of an incident, employers are urged to report it to the IRS and state agencies.