Protect Yourself from Cybercrime at Tax Time

Protect Yourself from Cybercrime at Tax Time

It’s that time of year again – ready to prepare your income tax return?  Let’s take a look at some potential scams to help you protect yourself from cybercrime at tax time.

W-2 Email Phishing Scam

This starts when an employee, usually in the organization’s human resources department, receives an email, claiming to be from the boss or supervisor, requesting W-2 information.

A family member became a victim when the human resources person neglected to confirm an email he received from the “boss” requesting W-2 data. He unwittingly forwarded W-2 information to the bad guys. The end result?  After the theft was discovered, the employer implemented identity theft protection for all employees, but the damage was done.

The lesson here is always verify an email within your organization if the request sounds unusual or suspicious, especially if it involves a trove of personal information.

IRS Email Phishing, Phone, Text, or Social Media Scam

You may receive an email, phone call, text, or contact via social media claiming to be from the IRS.

Remember, if the IRS needs to reach you, they will contact you by letter delivered via the U.S. Postal Service.  (You can even verify the authenticity of a letter at

If you receive a phone call, the number can be spoofed to look like it’s an “official” call from the IRS.  Don’t give any information – instead ask for a name and badge number of the caller.  If the caller hesitates, or presses for more of your personal information, hang up immediately.

If you receive an unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, don’t click on it or respond, just delete it.

Tax Refund Fraud

If you’ve completed your taxes and filed your return but the IRS rejects it, someone may have filed a fraudulent return using your Social Security number.  (Stolen Social Security numbers are available on the Dark Web.)

If you’re a confirmed identify theft victim, you can help prevent someone using your stolen Social Security number from filing a fraudulent return.  You can get an Identity Protection Pin from the IRS before you file your taxes.

The best way to protect yourself from cybercrime at tax time is to be aware and alert to all attempts by the bad guys to access your personal information.  There is helpful information available on the IRS website.  Fortunately, in most cases you’ll prepare and file your tax returns with no problems.

CRU Solutions can also help teach your team to be safer.  Contact us!