This time of year, it is more important than ever to think before you click!
Security systems (like anti-spam, anti-virus, and firewalls) stop the majority of malicious emails, but they cannot stop all of them.
Cyber criminals are sending “spoofed” emails that look like they come from the CEO or another C-level executive in your organization, asking you to send employee’s W-2 statements or to transfer money.
We have seen a huge increase in these types of malicious emails, and authorities are warning about a huge wave of W-2 phishing scams going on right now.
Here’s how to protect yourself and your organization:
- Make sure that your organizations and your personal firewall, anti-virus and anti-spam systems are working, are being monitored and updated appropriately.
- If you receive an email requesting W-2 tax information, or asking you to transfer money to other organizations/people, pick up the phone and verify the request before you do anything else!
- Never click on a link in an email if you aren’t absolutely certain who the email is from. Call your IT service provider or IT department if you need help to identify legitimate emails and links.
- 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.
If you are uncertain if an email is real or a scam, remember to first verify by calling the person who sent it (if you know who they are), or by calling your IT service provider or IT department.