SAN MARCOS, Texas – The W-2 forms of every city of San Marcos employee wound up in the wrong hands after a city employee responded to what appeared to be a legitimate email on Feb. 22.
The mistake was discovered on Monday.
Heather Hulbert, the city’s director of finance, said an email was sent to an employee requesting the city’s W-2 files. The email address of the sender was “masked” to appear as though it was coming from another city employee, so the recipient responded with the requested information.
City staff didn’t discover what had happened until they began investigating after some city employees reported that tax returns had been filed by someone else using their name and Social Security number.
“We immediately notified all the employees,” Hulbert said. “We sent an electronic file to the IRS, so that everyone who received the W-2 files would be flagged at the IRS level.”
The city is also offering employees free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for the next three years.
Hulbert could not confirm whether any employees’ identities had been compromised because of the security breach. She also could not provide comment on whether the employee who responded to the phishing scam may face any repercussions.
The breach affects all city employees, including first responders and city council members.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has called phishing schemes like these the most dangerous the IRS has seen in a long time.
If you feel you’ve received a W-2 scam email, the IRS asks you to forward it to email@example.com. Type “W-2 Scam” in the subject line.
If your taxes have been filed by someone else using your Social Security number, you should fill out IRS form 14039. You can download it here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf
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