What you need to know about the newest tax scams

Published: January 29, 2017 NORTHEAST WISCONSIN (WBAY) – Tax season is officially here, and the IRS is seeing cyber criminals at work.

Target 2 has been warning viewers about IRS impostor scams for years. Someone pretending to work for the IRS calls and claims a victim owes back taxes. However, the IRS will never try to get a citizen to settle a tax bill over the phone.

People have lost millions of dollars by falling victim to these scam calls.

Now there are new scams targeting payroll staff and tax professionals that could put taxpayer information at risk.


The IRS is warning tax professionals to be alert to an email phishing scheme.

A tax professional will receive an email that looks like it’s from a potential customer. If the tax professional responds, a second email arrives with a web address or PDF attachment. When the tax professional clicks on the link or attachment, cyber criminals are able to collect the professional’s email address, password, and possibly other sensitive information.

The scammers use this information to prepare fraudulent tax returns and get refunds.


Another email phishing scam targets payroll and human resources departments.

It’s called Form W-2 Scam.

A scammer pretends to be a corporate officer and requests employee W-2 forms from payroll staffers. The IRS says cyber criminals have successfully tricked payroll staff into disclosing employee names, Social Security numbers, and income information. Again, the scammers use this information to prepare fraudulent tax returns and get refunds.

The IRS says payroll and human resources departments should watch for these phrases used by scammers:

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.
Double check all unusual requests for lists of W-2s or Social Security numbers.

This scam first appeared in 2016.


Tax time likely means increased IRS impostor scam calls. If you get a threatening call at home from someone claiming to be the IRS, that’s a scam.

Some advice:

If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov.
You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

Tax Day is April 18.