The internet can be a source of many different types of scams and one new scam in particular is starting to surface in Montana. Consumer Protection Bureau Investigator Ryan Sullivan says people need to be on the lookout for a W-2 tax return scam they are calling spear phishing.

“You have people going out and pretending to be a part of an organization or business,” said Sullivan. “They will create an email that is similar to one within the business and then they go out and ask for personal information. It is particularly despicable because it is taking advantage of trust that colleague’s build between each other.”

According to Sullivan, many Montana companies have reported this attempted scam, but a handful of companies have actually fallen victim to it.

“So far we have had three Montana companies affected by the W-2 scam,” Sullivan said. “There was one company alone that we had received a report from that they at least had 300 employees that were affected. People really need to be careful. They need to be careful where they click and they need to be careful who they are talking with online.”

If you feel you have been victimized by the spear phishing scam, you can report it to the Consumer Protection Bureau. They have an identity theft passport program that helps consumers that have been victimized by identity theft. You can report your incident here or call 406-444-4500.

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