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W-2 email phishing scam targets businesses

Post Date:02/03/2017 1:14 PM

The West Chester Police Department is warning businesses to be aware of an email phishing scam involving requests for employees’ personal information.

Scammers are using phony email addresses to trick businesses into giving away sensitive information, such as W-2 forms and Social Security numbers. They do so by creating a fake email address in order to digitally pose as a real business owner. The username of the fake address looks the same, but ends in a bogus domain suffix. For instance, a real “.org” address may end in “.com” instead.

Using the bogus address, scammers send an “URGENT” message to the company’s finance or human resources department requesting the personal information of all its employees. Once disclosed, the information is then used by identity thieves to file false tax returns and steal tax refunds. Variations of this scam have become more common in recent years during tax season.

Police are urging businesses to make employees aware of this phishing scam and encourage everyone to verify all aspects of email requests before sending personal information over the internet. 

To report a scam, go to and file a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). 

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