There is a wave of W-2 phishing attacks going on. We see these coming in through thousands of reported scam attempts via our Phishing Alert Button. The FBI and the IRS have repeatedly posted warnings that these attacks have started early and that the volume has gone up significantly this year.
Remember those Nigerian prince emails? They are also called ‘Nigerian 419’ scams because the first wave of them came from Nigeria. The ‘419’ part of the name comes from the section of Nigeria’s Criminal Code which outlaws the practice. Well, those gangs have all “growed up” and they are now behind many of today’s W-2 scams.
Here are five steps to prevent an incredible amount of hassle and possible damage: •If you receive any email requesting any kind of W-2 tax information, pick up the phone and verify that request before you email anything to anybody.
- If you receive any email requesting any kind of W-2 tax information, pick up the phone and verify that request before you email anything to anybody.
- File your taxes at the state and federal level as quickly as you can, or file for an October 16 extension early, before the bad guys can file a bogus claim.
- Consider filing form 14039 and request an IP PIN from the government. Form 14039 requires you to state you believe you are likely to be a victim of identity fraud. Even if cyber criminals haven’t tried to file a bogus tax return in your name, virtually every American’s data has been stolen which can lead to your identity being stolen.
- Every 4 months, get a free once-a-year credit report from the three major credit bureaus. Get them on your calendar (cycle through them) and dispute any unauthorized activity.
- Place a “security freeze” or “credit freeze” on your files with all three credit bureaus to prevent ID thieves from assuming your identity and open up a line of credit in your name.
This time of year, it is more important than ever to Think Before You Click!