Faculty + Staff

How to protect yourself from tax scams and information about your W-2

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Tax season is coming and scammers soon will be sending fraudulent emails that look like legitimate tax communications. The IRS estimates that identity thieves have stolen more than $11 billion through tax fraud since 2012.

Be alert

You can protect yourself from becoming another victim by being cautious. Be alert for the following:

  • Any message asking for W-2 or other tax information
  • Authentic-looking emails impersonating UC communications that offer access to your W-2 or other tax information via an attachment or link
  • Messages that look like they are from executive management requesting copies of employee W-2s for review purposes. See the IRS alert from last year about this scam
  • Any messages that encourage you to click links, or that asks for passwords or other private or confidential information
  • Unexpected phone calls about such messages, including ones that ask you to install software

Your 2017 University of California W-2 statement

As a reminder, here’s how you will receive your 2017 W-2 from UC:

  • Printed W-2s will be mailed by Jan. 31 to the address you have on file. UC will send you a printed W-2 unless you request an electronic version.
  • Electronic W-2s will be available for viewing on At Your Service Online (AYSO) from mid-January to Jan. 31, depending on your location, and on UCPath after Jan. 22. Employees at UC Merced, UC Riverside and Associated Students UCLA, the three locations that transitioned to UCPath in 2018, can view their 2017 W-2 statements on AYSO.
  • You can request electronic delivery of your W-2 on AYSO or UCPath. Changes made to your delivery preferences after Dec. 31 for AYSO, or Jan. 18 for UCPath, will be applied to next year’s tax statements.

UC does not send actual tax statements to employees or retirees by email or text. If you have requested an electronic W-2, you must log in to UCPath or At Your Service Online to view it. If you receive an email or text that has an attachment for viewing your W-2 or other tax statement, it is a phishing scam designed to gain your private information. Do not open any attachments or click any email links.

Protect yourself

Here are additional steps you can take:

  • To access your W-2 statement, go directly to UC’s At Your Service Online or UCPath website, whichever your location uses, instead of clicking on a link in any email from any sender.
  • Use known contact information (such as a phone number or email listed on a UC directory) to verify any request for W-2 or other tax information before providing the information — even if the message looks like it’s from someone you know.
  • Do not reply to emails asking for your password or SSN.
  • Familiarize yourself with the IRS’ current list of tax scams so you recognize them.

But don’t stop there. Here are eight important cybersecurity habits to help protect your information, your family and your work, and reduce your risk of getting scammed.

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