On March 1, 2016, the IRS issued an alert to payroll and human resources professionals concerning an expanding email scheme–with a focus on company payroll departments – involving purported company executives requesting personal information about employees. The news release states that several payroll and human resource offices have already been victimized. The full release text can be found here: IRS News Release 2016-34.

Payroll and HR offices mistakenly e-mailed payroll information that contained Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable data to “cybercriminals” pretending to be company executives. “If your CEO appears to be emailing you for a list of company employees, check it out before you respond. Everyone has a responsibility to remain diligent about confirming the identity of people requesting personal information about employees,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. IRS Publication 4524, available at www.irs.gov, discusses steps to protect tax information.