|From: dos.sm.LocGovt.LGEprogram <LGEprogram@dos.ny.gov>
Date: March 6, 2017 at 1:05:19 PM EST
To: dos.sm.LocGovt.LGEprogram <LGEprogram@dos.ny.gov>
Subject: Email to Business Owners on Tax ScamsGood afternoon,The Division of Local Government Services would like to make you aware of cybercriminal activities that we have become aware of in New York State. Please pass this on to pertinent departmental professionals and community/business leaders in your area. This email contains information on particular scams and how to report your concerns if you feel you have been targeted.
Scammers Renew Scheme Targeting Payroll and HR Professionals
These emails may appear legitimate because they contain the name of the company’s chief executive officer. However, if you receive such an email, don’t include any payroll data, such as W-2 forms and Social Security numbers, in a response.
The Tax Department is aware of at least 37 businesses with New York employees that have fallen for this scam and believes more than 5,000 Social Security numbers may have been compromised. The Tax Department is in contact with those businesses and is working with them to protect their employees.
If you’re an employer that has been a victim of this scam and, in response, released any payroll data, such as W-2 information and Social Security numbers, see Guidance for employers affected by a W-2 phishing scam for instructions.
Spear-Phishing Scheme Targeting Practitioners
The caller, falsely claiming to work on behalf of the ERO, suggests the need to reinstall or correct problems with the practitioner’s software. The caller asks the practitioner to connect to their website and provide the passcode and access to the practitioner’s computer. If the practitioner complies, the scam artist can steal sensitive client information to commit fraud.
An ERO is an e-file provider authorized by the IRS to submit tax returns for processing.
Cybercriminals Pose as Clients to Solicit Services from Tax Professionals
If you receive a suspicious email, such as one from an unknown sender, don’t select any links or open any attachments contained in the email. This is the scammer’s entry into your computer, exposing you to malware. This could allow the cybercriminal to capture sensitive information without you even knowing that you’ve been compromised.
Phishing Email with the Subject Line “Mails on Hold!” Targets Tax Professionals
If you receive an email with this subject line, don’t select any links or open any attachments contained in these emails. Again, this could provide access into your computer, exposing you to malware and leaving private information vulnerable.
Protecting Yourself and Your Clients
The NYS Tax Department and the IRS will never make threats over the phone and will never request personal or financial information by email.
If you’ve been contacted by a con artist claiming to be from the New York State Tax Department, visit the Tax Department’s Report fraud, scams, and identity theft webpage to learn how to report it. The Tax Department promptly reviews each complaint and takes corrective action when appropriate.
Best wishes and thank you for your help, A.
Ann M. Thane
Gifts of time, talent and treasure are most appreciated!