Nothing can be said to be certain during this season, besides taxes and phishing attacks!

Email schemes fraudulently using the name and logo of the IRS, as well as tax software companies, aim to deceive individuals into disclosing their W-2 information. Cyber-criminals mislead you into revealing sensitive information by asking for a reply to a spoofed, phishing email or by having you click on a link to a counterfeit web page to enter your information. Once they have your information, they gain access to your financial assets and commit further acts of identity theft.

The IRS reported an approximate 400% surge in phishing and malware incidents during the 2016 tax season. Don’t take the bait! Follow these best practices to minimize your risk of being poached:

  • DO NOT respond to electronic requests for your W-2 information. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, phone, text messages or social media channels.
    • DO NOT open attachments or click on any links in messages requesting your W-2s.
  • DO NOT solicit online tax preparation software products through a link sent in an email or on a social media site. 
    •  Research the best option for your circumstance, then enter the name of the tax service in a new internet browser window. Ensure you are using a secure, encrypted site prior to entering any information.
      • Note, most browsers display a padlock in the website toolbar to confirm the site is encrypted.    
  • DO NOT share your W-2 statement with anyone, unless you have specifically initiated tax-related services and are directly sending your information to a legitimate preparer.    
    • Note, W-2 forms contain highly sensitive information (such as your social security number) and should never be transmitted through email. 
  • REPORT IT.  If you receive a fraudulent request, please do not delete the message; it is evidence! Report this to abuse@missouri.edu
  • If you have shared your W-2 information prior to receiving this warning, please contact us at abuse@missouri.edu. We are investigating these incidents and need your assistance with this matter. 

 

This information is provided by the Division of IT’s Information Security & Access Management (ISAM) team. Questions can be directed to isam@missouri.edu

Last updated: February 28, 2017