Barletta Warns of Email Scam Asking for Employee IRS W-2 Forms

Feb 2, 2017
Press Release
Business and Payroll Offices Targeted Seeking Employees Personal Info

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today issued a warning that there is a new wave of email scams circulating which target company payroll or human resources offices and seek personally-identifying information of employees.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has reported that the email scams may use a corporate officer’s name to create an appearance of legitimacy, a form of the email phishing practice known as “spoofing.”  The emails may request a list of employee names, salaries, and IRS W-2 forms.  The purpose of the information is to file fraudulent tax returns in an attempt to collect refunds.

“Email scammers are getting more and more clever, which means that people must be more on guard than ever,” Barletta said.  “If you receive an email that looks like it comes from a company executive requesting sensitive information about employees, it is better to double check that it’s a legitimate request.  These emails can look extremely authentic, so it is always best to ask.”

The following are examples of requests 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.

Barletta advises residents who believe they have received one of the spoofing emails to forward it immediately to phishing@irs.gov.