Time for a short Friday afternoon social engineering discussion. If you work in HR / finance / benefits, you’ll want to stick with me.
It’s January, the beginning of tax season in the US (and I presume, other countries as well). Employers in the US are required to provide W2 statements documenting pay and tax to their employees by the end of his month.
Scammers know this, and love to exploit this annual ritual. The common schemes I see are an email or phone call pretending to be from either a company executive (often the CEO or CFO), or from the taxing authority, with an urgent request for employee records.
Urgent because, a sense of urgency can short-circuit skepticism and get an employee to respond before thinking.
Oddly, even though employers must provide this data by January 31, W2 scams have tended to peak around March for the last few years. Perhaps there’s a psychological element since individual tax returns are due by April 15 so it remains top of mind for the HR/finance/benefits/payroll employee.
If you work in HR / finance / payroll / benefits, or otherwise have access to employee personal data, stay vigilant over the next 90 days or so. Be suspicious of any request for employee records, especially if it comes in an unusual manner.
Take the time to verify the request through a trusted channel. Depending on your organization size, that might mean in person, over the phone, or via an established business process.
DON’T ship a CSV or XLS of employee data simply because someone – even the CEO – sends an email requesting such.
If you own or manage a business, or manage those that have access to employee records, be sure they know how employee records are handled, and know the appropriate process for requesting and approving transfer of that data.
If there is no established process for handling employee records – make one, and stick to it.
Security for Real People
It’s W2 scam season
by / Friday, 14 June 2019 / Published in Hacking