This is How YOUR W-2’s Could Get Swiped

Treasury Department says slick criminals study a company’s hierarchy

Michigan resident’s W-2 information may be vulnerable if businesses aren’t aware of a scam that is continuing to grow. It starts with cybercriminals researching company’s hierarchy and then using the information fraudulently. Michigan Department of Treasury spokesman Ron Leix says step two of the scam involves fake e-mails that look legitimate.

“Cyber criminals impersonate persons of authority, basically high level bosses within a company. And they send an email to payroll personnel asking for copies of W-2 forms” -Ron Leix

Leix says the e-mail address from the criminal requesting the W-2’s is often so similar to the real employee, it is overlooked. 

“They’ll receive an email from what appears to be high level boss, john or jane doe, in that email it was say ‘hey, can you send me all the W-2’s”. And the unsuspecting employee sends these W-2’s to that scammer”

Leix says W-2’s include sensitive information scammers use to steal identities.​ ​He says companies should review policies regarding what is allowable when e-mailing confidential employee information and what protocols are in place to avoid scams. ​


  • Amy Miller
    Amy has been working in public and commercial radio for the last 30 yrs. She is an award winning reporter and news anchor, born and raised in Detroit.