Recently the IRS warned tax professionals and payroll processors about an increase in email scams targeting HR professionals who process payroll for their organizations. Many small businesses, including some of our clients have received these emails. The way the scam works is an email is sent to an HR or payroll professional impersonating another employee at the company, often someone high up in the organization like an executive. The email asks the HR person to change the account the direct deposit is being sent to. If the change is made, the scammer receives the employee’s pay and the company is on the hook to replace the lost wages as the employee did not actually request the change.
The emails can be difficult to spot because the scammers use the employee’s name, casual language, and often provide reasons why the change needs to be made via email instead of another method. If you ever have questions about the legitimacy of an email request like this, we encourage you to speak personally to the employee who made the request. A simple phone call or in-person conversation can prevent a lot of issues.
Helpside has seen a number of these come through, with clients unknowingly passing scam emails onto us. We have safeguards in place to verify the information of the person requesting the direct deposit change and have caught many of them.
We encourage clients to be careful about accepting direct deposit requests from employees via email. Instead encourage employees to change their direct deposit account themselves online through the Employee Portal. This is the most secure way to change banking information. Also, please encourage your employees to keep their Employee Portal login information private.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the Client Success Management team at firstname.lastname@example.org.