Numerous businesses became victims to the rise of phishing scams involving W-2 forms in 2016. The IRS warned consumers and businesses in an alert related to these schemes when they discovered that there was a 400% increase in phishing and malware attacks during 2016. As the tax filing season is well underway in 2017 the IRS has released an alert that these W-2 phishing schemes have not only had a major impact in the corporate world, but are gaining traction in other sectors such as school districts and non-profit entities.
While phishing scams can be difficult to plan for or predict, it’s important that HR and payroll departments are educated so they are able to prevent their organization falling victim to these types of schemes. Suitable training can help employees:
It’s important that temp employees and contractors are informed as they have a higher chance of being targeted because they are newer and lack familiarity with the company. Each organization should appoint key internal individuals that have a high security clearance to be notified in the event an employee has potentially responded to a phishing email. Having an identified team in place prior to a phishing event can ensure that it will respond promptly and appropriately should an incident occur.
It’s clear that IRS W-2 phishing scams will continue to promulgate in 2017. Companies and other organizations need to provide their employees with appropriate information so they can recognize and prevent falling victim to phishing emails. And, in case an employee does fall prey, companies need to be prepared to respond in a coordinated and consistent way. If you or your business is concerned with phishing scams and cyber theft, contact the experts at Lanier Upshaw and learn how you can be protected.