If you have already received your W-2 form from your employer, you should pay attention to a warning issued by the Better Business Bureau about a new identity theft scam. The scam involves e-mails supposedly from the IRS and is phishing for your W-2 information.
There are some red flags that should immediately go up to signal scams. First of all, the IRS will not e-mail you. You will receive a letter if they need more information from you. This also applies to your bank, the FBI or your credit cards. None of these organizations will e-mail you, asking you to click on a link to provide personal information.
W-2 forms are not submitted by individual taxpayers until you file your income tax return. They are submitted to the IRS by your employer. You should never click on any links in unsolicited e-mails. Doing so could infect your computer with viruses and spyware.
You should never give out personal information like your wages, Social Security number, home address or birth date to anyone who e-mails or calls you. These pieces of information are like gold to scammers because if they have this information, they have all they need to steal your identity.
If you receive an unsolicited e-mail, pay attention to the spelling. Often times, when it's a scam, there are misspelled words. This usually means English isn't the first language of the sender, who is probably located in another country.
If you receive an e-mail that you suspect is a scam, report it to your local police or sheriff's department, as well as to the Federal Trade Commission and your local Better Business Bureau. Copy and paste the URL into an e-mail and send it to these agencies, who can then use the information to track the scammer.
Being cautious is something you should do in every area of your life when it comes to protecting your identity – but being safe online is crucial.