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Security Summit warns employers: Be alert to identity theft and W-2 scams


WASHINGTON – As the 2019 tax season approaches, the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry joined together to warn small businesses to be on-guard against a growing wave of identity theft and W-2 scams.

Small business identity theft is big business for identity thieves. Just like individuals, businesses may have their identities stolen and their sensitive information used to open credit card accounts or used to file fraudulent tax returns for bogus refunds. Employers also hold sensitive tax data on employees, such as Form W-2 data, which also is highly valued by identity thieves.

“Identity theft can be devastating to small businesses, and the IRS continues to see instances where cybercriminals are targeting these groups to obtain sensitive employee information that can be used to file fake tax returns,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “And as tax season approaches, the IRS and the Security Summit partners continue to warn employers to be on the lookout for emails asking for sensitive W-2 information, a dangerous scheme aimed at payroll and human resource offices. We encourage small businesses and others to follow some important steps to help protect themselves and their employees.”

The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax community, partners in the Security Summit, are marking “National Tax Security Awareness Week,” Dec. 3-7, with a series of reminders to taxpayers and tax professionals. In part four, the topic is business-related identity theft and scams.


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