The beginning of the year is always full of new resolutions, habits, and hopes. It’s a new year, and with that new excitement comes new forms to fill out. Right now, we are in the midst of W-2 season.

Employees around the nation are filling out these forms and sending them to their HR department or organization, but some don’t fully comprehend the amount of important information on this document. Can you remember and list all the information you recorded on your W-2? Maybe or maybe not. It’s extremely important for employees and professionals to make sure their W-2s are properly protected.

This past week, the IRS reported that it has received an increase in reports of attempts to steal people’s W-2s. The agency and many other tax businesses released a warning about a W-2 email scam, usually targeting managers or payroll departments. However, that doesn’t mean that any employee won’t receive the email.  Scam emails may seem as innocent as “Hey, are you here today?” or posed as an executive, but by the end of the conversation, cybercriminals could have their hands on the organization’s W-2s.

The IRS also warned all employees and taxpayers about emails that look like they are coming from the agency. The IRS only initiates contact and communicates through U.S. mail. Emails that say they are from the IRS are phishing attempts and have the ability to possess viruses to infect your computer. The cybercriminals gain entry by adding an attachment to the email.

We don’t want to be all doom and gloom, but we do want to make sure you and your employees are staying alert and possess the knowledge on how to properly protect W-2s. Here are some things you can do to make sure your and your organization’s W-2s are safe:

·         Be careful when using a third-party program to file your taxes. Make sure that the source is credible. If you have any doubt, don’t use it.

·         Extensively investigate any and all requests for W-2s or the information that is on them. It is better to be safe than sorry.

·         Be vigilant when to comes to emails asking for personal information. Do not fall for phishing emails or scam phone calls. Remember that the IRS does not initiate contact through emails or phone calls.

·         Take a look at the IRS’s guidance on how to prevent identity theft 

To avoid identity theft and the stress of tax season, file your taxes early. This way, you will know if someone is being fraudulent with your information.

Ultimately, everyone needs to be watchful. If you have any questions about W-2s, payroll, or other forms, do not hesitate to contact us. We would be glad to answer any and all of your questions.