TAX ALERT: IRS Warns about Scam Targeting Payroll & HR Departments

Kathleen Kaminski is a Senior Tax Manager and practices in the areas of individual, partnership corporate, fiduciary and not-for-profit tax return preparation.   Kathleen also engages in representation of clients with federal and state tax authorities.  She has expertise in business entity formation and the preparation of detailed income, asset and cash flow analysis for client’s personal financial plans. Contact Kathleen Kaminski, CPA  with tax issues at or 315.701.6322. 

Syracuse, NY – January 2017 – TAX ALERT – The Internal Revenue Services has renewed their warning about an email scam that uses a corporate officer’s name to request employee Forms W-2 from company payroll or human resource departments.   Last week, the IRS received new notifications that the email scam is making its way across the nation for a second time.   The IRS urges company payroll officials to double check any executive-level or unusual requests for lists of Forms W-2 or Social Security Number.

The W-2 scam first appeared last year.   C ybercriminals tricked payroll and human resources officials into disclosing employee names, social security numbers, and income information.   The thieves then attempted to file fraudulent tax returns for tax refunds.

This phishing variation is known as a “spoofing” e-mail.   It will contain, for example, the actual name of the company chief executive officer.  In this variation, the “CEO” sends an email to a company payroll office or human resource employee and requests a list of employees and information including social security numbers.

The following are some of the details that may be contained in the emails:

– Kindly send me the individual 2016 W-2 (PDF) and earnings summary of all W-2 of our company staff for a quick review.

– Can you send me the updated list of employees with full details (Name, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Home Address, Salary).

– I want you to send me the list of W-2 copy of employees wage and tax statement for 2016, I need them in PDF file type, you can send it as an attachment.  Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me asap.

Working together in the Security Summit, the IRS, states and tax industry have made progress in their fight against tax-related identity theft, cybercriminals are using more sophisticated tactics to try to steal even more data that will allow them to impersonate taxpayers.

The Security Summit supports a national taxpayer awareness campaign called “Taxes. Security. Together.” and a national tax professional awareness effort called “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself.” These campaigns offer simple tips that can help make data more secure.


Founded in 1957, Grossman St. Amour CPAs PLLC is located in the historic Armory Square district of Syracuse, New York. The Firm provides businesses and individuals with professional services in the areas of accounting, audit, taxation, business planning and valuation, financial planning, investment consulting, and fraud examination and deterrence. For information about how we can be of service to you, we invite you to visit, or contact us at 315.424.1120.