Revenooer Rants: Phishing problems worsen for the IRS |

Revenooer Rants: Phishing problems worsen for the IRS

Jeff Quinn

We have been reporting, in recent weeks, about IRS’s concerns during this tax-filing season about all of the worsening cybercriminal activity going on.

And just within the last several days, the Revenooers have further warned payroll and human resources folks to beware of bogus emails purportedly coming from company executives which request personal information about employees.

“This is a new twist on an old scheme using the cover of the tax season and W-2 filings to try tricking people into sharing personal data. Now the criminals are focusing their schemes on company payroll departments,” quoth IRS Commissioner Koskinen. “If your CEO appears to be emailing you for a list of company employees, check it out before you respond. Everyone has a responsibility to remain diligent about confirming the identity of people requesting personal information about employees.”

This new “phishing” scheme has been labeled “spoofing,” and such emails typically contain the actual name of the company CEO. Following are examples of some of the details contained in these emails (note the inattentiveness to proper grammar and punctuation):

Kindly send me the individual 2015 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) as at 2/2/2016.

I want you to send me the list of W-2 copy of employees wage and tax statement for 2015. I need them in PDF file type, you can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me asap.

Bottom line: Stay vigilant!

And if you haven’t filed that 2012 tax return yet (yes – it’s a bit overdue) beware that you need to do so pronto if you’re entitled to a refund. IRS announced last week that refunds totaling some $950 million are still awaiting claims from about 1 million taxpayers.

Again we quote the Commish: “We especially encourage students and others who didn’t earn much money to look into this situation because they may still be entitled to a refund. Don’t forget, there’s no penalty for filing a late return if you’re due a refund.”

Further – time is of the essence if this is you. If a return wasn’t previously filed, the law says that unless one is filed within the three-year statute of limitations, the dough reverts to Obama (F’rrevinsakes!) and you cannot get it back. Thus, your looming deadline is this coming April 18, 2016!

Finally this week – get this: We hear that all California Franchise Tax Board offices have begun accepting cash payments from folks who are unable to use alternative methods of paying!

This exception to the “no cash” policy instituted last October applies to those whose only available method of payment is cash – like blokes pushing “medical” marijuana because the banks won’t allow them to use checking accounts!

Cash is now “king” in California!

CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISER – This article contains general information about various tax matters. You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation. Jeff Quinn is a CPA recently retired from Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno. He welcomes comments at

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