As tax season gets underway, the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (DRS) and the Internal Revenue Service are once again warning about the W-2 scam.
According to the DRS, this email scam first appeared last year. It uses a corporate officer's name to request employee Forms W-2 from company payroll or human resources departments.
“It can appear to come from where you work. It can look very real. It is very easy to do that and these are smart thieves by in large,” said Department of Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin Sullivan.
Thinking it is a legitimate request, payroll and human resource officials have been tricked into sending employee names, social security numbers and income information.
“That material that information was then used to create corporate tax returns and steal from these particular companies,” said Sullivan.
This is not the only way people are being fooled before they file. On Friday, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, D-Third District, discussed the spike in IRS phone scams during tax season. She says her office has received numerous constituent complaints about these calls.
“They dig up just enough information to sound legit,” DeLauro said.
Manu Malhotra of Hartford says he has received that call many times. He says he has always handled the situation appropriately, but knows how convincing they can be.
“I get a lot of calls fake calls saying I’m calling for the IRS, saying you have taxes pending so you don’t pay your taxes in next 10 to 15 minutes over the call, police will come to your home and arrest you,” said Malhotra.
Congresswoman DeLauro promised to keep educating the public, but said everyone should be aware the IRS communicates by mail, not phone calls.
“A real IRS agent would never ask for your credit card info over the phone, nor would they threaten you with arrest or discipline,” DeLauro said.
In regards to the W-2 scam Sullivan says it never hurts to double check.
“The boss won’t be mad, the head of payroll won’t be mad if you say I would like to get you that information but let me just confirm with the person that ordered it,” said Sullivan.
He also recommends people contract DRS at (860) 297-5962 or outside the Hartford calling areas at (800) 382-9463 to make a report.