Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan
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w2 hack

Hacker’s Dream: Tax Season

Hackers use the “dark Web” to sell their stolen personal data. They will sell your data, including social security numbers, bank account details, and credit card account information.

How can they get your W2 form?

The compromises made by payroll providers have been the reason for W2 forms being sold online in the past. These types of compromises have been caused by a Phishing email. However, employees with access to these data are suspected to have leaked the information.

The bounty offered by data brokers on the dark internet is active. When a low-paid employee discovers that they could earn a few thousand more dollars, the temptation is strong. There’s very little risk of being caught. It takes only a quick copy of the work data to be able to breach.

What happens to the victims?

Before you file your taxes, you will not be able to tell if anything is amiss. The IRS will notify you after your taxes are filed that your social security number has been used to file a tax return. Many times, the tax refund was already paid to the fraudster based on the fraudulent return. They run away with the money.

You’ll have a lot of mess to clean up.

First, you need to file your tax returns with IRS Form 14039. This is called an Identity Theft Affidavit. This form tells the IRS that your previous tax return was fraudulent.

This is not a common problem. Due to the availability of W2 and other personal information via the dark web, fraudulent tax returns are on the rise. Every year, the IRS deals with thousands to thousands of fraud cases.

Be patient, the system will work. You should not expect a refund as soon as you receive it. You can track the status of your refund online after 4 weeks. Your refund should arrive within two to three months.

How can I avoid such fraud?

It is best to file taxes early to avoid tax fraud. You want to beat them to the punch. Get your tax returns submitted early and prepare your taxes as soon you can.

You need to be proactive in today’s world of stolen W2 information. It is a race against the clock for fraudsters. They are ready and waiting to cash in when tax time arrives. You can get ahead of them by filing quickly and neutralizing their threat.