Get Started: IRS warns firms, beware of phishing email scam

W-2 PHISHING SCAM

The IRS is warning employers about a spreading phishing email scam whose targets include companies and that seeks to get employees' Social Security numbers and other information.

Cyberthieves send emails that appear to come from executives inside the targeted organizations. The emails ask payroll or human resources departments for a list of all employees and their W-2 forms.

The scam first appeared in 2016, and has spread this year beyond corporations to other businesses like temporary staffing agencies, chain restaurants, health care and shipping and freight companies. The cybercriminals are also targeting school districts and casinos run by Native Americans.

Organizations that receive an email should forward it to phishing@irs.gov and type "W2 Scam" in the subject line, the IRS says. They can also file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center. And if employees' W-2s have been stolen they can get information about how to proceed from the IRS at www.irs.gov/identitytheft and the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov .

MANAGING YOUR CUSTOMERS

Many small businesses use customer relationship management, or CRM, software to keep track of who buys their products and services. These programs can also help companies increase their sales. SCORE, the organization that gives free advice to small companies, is sponsoring an online seminar about CRM on Tuesday, March 1, at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Learn more and register at http://bit.ly/2kUz87T .

RETIREMENT SAVINGS

Small business owners can learn about starting a retirement plan for themselves and their employees in an online seminar sponsored by the Labor Department. It will be held Tuesday, March 1, at 2 p.m. Eastern time. You can learn more and register at http://bit.ly/2mzxncv .

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Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg . Her work can be found here: http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joyce-m-rosenberg

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