If you work directly with W-2 data or oversee those who do, you face the ever-present threat of scammers trying to get their hands on valuable employee information. In a typical year, the prevalence of these scams increases toward the end of January as forms get distributed.
Since no employer is immune from the dangers posed by these cybercrimes, it’s essential to know how identity thieves typically operate, how to protect your organization and employees before something ever happens — and what to do if it does.
‘Hey, you in today? Mind if I steal your employees’ valuable data?’’
Unfortunately, scammers only ask the first question before answering the second on their own. Using a seemingly innocuous email subject line like “Hey, you in today,” cybercriminals make it appear to an unsuspecting employee as though they’re starting a conversation with an executive or someone within an organization’s payroll or human resources departments.
By the end of the ensuing back-and-forth emails, however, identity thieves who sneak in using this tactic may have already managed to steal valuable data, such as employee W-2 information. What makes this scam particularly insidious is that much of the damage is done before anyone in a position to prevent it is even aware there’s been a cybersecurity breach.
How to tell if something’s phishy
Of course, vigilance against phishing scams isn’t a once-a-year need. It’s something you should be on the lookout for 365 days a year. Luckily there’s a lot of red flags you can look for and educate employees about. For example, encourage employees to hover over hyperlinks in emails before clicking on them and to look for the URL’s all-important “s” in “https” for added confidence about the security of the site they’re thinking about visiting. These are just a few tips, but there’s more. In fact, we’ve dedicated this entire article to the topic. Please check it out and share it with others.
What to do if you’ve already been victimized
The IRS has established a special reporting process to address this particular W-2 scam, complete with specifics about how to report it and who to inform about the crime.
For example, it’s important not to include any employee’s personally identifiable information even when reporting a scam. It’s also important to notify employees so they can take steps to protect themselves from identity theft. Get the full low-down by visiting this dedicated page on IRS.gov today.
How technology can help protect against scams
If you aren’t already using workforce management technology, it might be time to consider it. A safe, secure solution makes it easier for you to prevent and monitor malicious phishing attacks. Take Orbit Solutions, for example. With our platform and services, you can rest easy knowing that we take phishing-scam precautions on your behalf. Not only do we proactively monitor our software for suspicious activity, but we also provide multi-factor authentication to enhance our clients’ account security.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Orbit Solutions can help safeguard against phishing attacks, please contact us today. We’re happy to help!