Archive for the ‘membership’ Category

Don’t Take the Bait: Watch Out for the W-2 Email Scam

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

WASHINGTON – The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry today urged tax professionals and businesses to beware of a recent increase in email scams targeting employee Forms W-2.

The W-2 scam – called a business email compromise or BEC – is one of the most dangerous phishing email schemes trending nationwide from a tax administration perspective. The IRS saw a sharp increase in the number of incidents and victims during the 2017 filing season.

Increasing awareness about business email compromises is part of the “Don’t Take the Bait” campaign, a 10-part series aimed at tax professionals. The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, working together as the Security Summit, urge practitioners to learn to protect themselves and their clients from BEC scams. This is part of the ongoing Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself effort.

A business email compromise occurs when a cybercriminal is able to “spoof” or impersonate a company or organization executive’s email address and target a payroll, financial or human resources employee with a request. For example, fraudsters will try to trick an employee to transfer funds into a specified account or request a list of all employees and their Forms W-2.

“These are incredibly tricky schemes that can be devastating to a tax professional or business,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Cybercriminals target people with access to sensitive information, and they cleverly disguise their effort through an official-looking email request.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported earlier this year that there has been a 1,300 percent increase in identified losses – with more than $3 billion in wire transfers – since January 2015. The FBI found that the culprits behind these scams are national and international organized crime groups who have targeted businesses and organizations in all 50 states and 100 countries worldwide.

During the 2016 filing season, the IRS first warned businesses that the scam had migrated to tax administration and scammers were using business email compromise tactics to obtain employees’ Forms W-2. The criminals were immediately filing fraudulent tax returns that could mirror the actual income received by employees – making the fraud more difficult to detect.

In 2017, the IRS saw the number of businesses, public schools, universities, tribal governments and nonprofits victimized by the W-2 scam increase to 200 from 50 in 2016. Those 200 victims translated into several hundred thousand employees whose sensitive data was stolen. In some cases, the criminals requested both the W-2 information and a wire transfer.

The Form W-2 contains the employee’s name, address, Social Security number, income and withholdings. That information was used to file fraudulent tax returns, and it can be posted for sale on the Dark Net, where criminals also seek to profit from these thefts.

If the business or organization victimized by these attacks notifies the IRS, the IRS can take steps to help prevent employees from being victims of tax-related identity theft. However, because of the nature of these scams, many businesses and organizations did not realize for days, weeks or months that they had been scammed.

The IRS established a special email notification address specifically for businesses and organizations to report W-2 thefts: dataloss@irs.gov. Be sure to include “W-2 scam” in the subject line and information about a point of contact in the body of the email. Businesses and organizations that receive a suspect email but do not fall victim to the scam can forward it to the BEC to phishing@irs.gov, again with “W-2 scam” in the subject line.

Protecting Clients and Businesses from BECs

The IRS urges tax professionals to both beware of business email compromises as a threat to their own systems and to educate their clients about the existence of BEC scams. Employers, including tax practitioners, should review their policies for sending sensitive data such as W-2s or making wire transfers based solely on an email request.

Tax professionals should consider taking these steps:

  • Confirm requests for Forms W-2, wire transfers or any sensitive data exchanges verbally, using previously-known telephone numbers, not telephone numbers listed in the email.
  • Verify requests for location changes in vendor payments and require a secondary sign-off by company personnel.
  • Educate employees about this scam, particularly those with access to sensitive data such as W-2s or with authorization to make wire transfers.
  • Consult with an IT professional and follow these FBI recommended safeguards:
    • Create intrusion detection system rules that flag e-mails with extensions that are similar to company email. For example, legitimate e-mail of abc_company.com would flag fraudulent email of abc-company.com.
    • Create an email rule to flag email communications where the “reply” email address is different from the “from” email address shown.
    • Color code virtual correspondence so emails from employee/internal accounts are one color and emails from non-employee/external accounts are another.
  • If a BEC incident occurs, notify the IRS. File a complaint with the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.)

Veteran Resource Fair this Friday

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

How to Transition to ISO 9001:2015

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

This course will introduce you to ISO standards and how to implement the associated Quality Management Systems. Differences between ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 2001:2015 will be identified. How to move your company to the revised standard is also covered.

Cost: $150
Date: September 18, 2017, 6-9 p.m.
Location: Waubonsee Community College, Downtown Aurora Campus

To register, visit www.waubonsee.edu/register

Please call Workforce Development, (630) 906-4152 with questions.

Cloud 9 Infosystems Named Microsoft Partner of the Year

Friday, August 11th, 2017

Cloud 9 Infosystems today announced it has been named 2017 US SMB Rising Star Central Region Partner of the Year by Microsoft’s US Small and Mid-sized Business (SMB) Group. The award recognizes the top New US SMB Partner in the Central Region decided by overall SMB YoY revenue growth of a partner new to the SMB partner program. Members of the US SMB Partner Program have shown dedication to arming the small business community with the right technology and services they need to be successful.

“Cloud 9 really excels at navigating their customers in digital transformation journey,” said Brent Combest, General Manager of Microsoft Central Region SMB&D. “Whether the customers are looking to empower their employees, improve engagement with their customers, optimize their operations or transform their products, Cloud 9 has the expertise & experience in building a state of art, cost effective solution. With Cloud 9, our mutual customers in the manufacturing, health care financial services sectors within the mid-market can really harness the power of the Microsoft Cloud platform.”

Cloud 9 Infosystems is a boutique technology consulting firm focused on midmarket enterprises. Cloud 9 Infosystems guides clients to get the most from cloud technologies by envisioning, architecting, developing, implementing and managing their cloud systems. Cloud 9 Infosystems’ expertise is in building custom solutions that leverage public and private cloud paradigms to solve complex customer scenarios.

“We are honored and humbled to receive this coveted award. Thanks to our customers whose successes have made us worthy of this award,” said Chetan Malavia, CEO & Founder of Cloud 9 Infosystems. “Clearly this is a reflection of confidence and trust our teams have earned with our customers over the years as their trusted advisor. It is result of dedication and commitment of our teams in driving digital transformation for our clients leveraging Microsoft Cloud.”

Cloud 9 Infosystems along with winners in six other categories were recognized during the Microsoft US SMB Partner Award Reception in Washington, D.C. on July 10, 2017.

The Microsoft Partner Network is designed to equip organizations that deliver products and services through the Microsoft platform with the training, resources and support they need to provide their customers superior experience and outcomes. Microsoft’s US SMB Partner Program designed for partners who have a proven track record of delivering Microsoft solutions to businesses in the U.S. small and medium business (SMB) segment and have committed to advancing their cloud business practice. As a member of the US SMB Partner Program, partners can further their Cloud growth by utilizing the benefits obtained through their program status.

About Cloud 9 Infosystems

Headquartered in Warrenville, IL has operations in US and India. Cloud 9 specializes in cloud infrastructure, data platform, business analytics, application development and ERP; the company has clients in US, South America, Asia Pacific, Middle East and India. Cloud 9 Infosystems is a Microsoft Gold Partner in Cloud Platform, Data Analytics and Application Development.

WYNTK: Common Uses, Scenarios of the Cloud

Friday, August 11th, 2017

Free Bug Fest Returns Aug. 19 to Lippold Park

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Insects and the fascinating world of bugs will take center stage from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19, when the eighth annual Bug Fest is held at Lippold Park, one-half mile north of Red Oak Nature Center on Route 25.

The free, family-friendly, stroller-friendly event will feature fun and educational attractions with a swarm of bug-related activities, demonstrations and crafts.

Parking is available at Schneider Elementary School (304 Banbury Road, North Aurora), with free shuttle buses running regularly between those sites from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Visitors begin their exploration at Lippold Park, where free guide books will be available, along with T-shirts, pins, lanyards and other buggy items for sale. Children can earn prizes for visiting special Bug Fest stations.

Children and adults alike will learn about the benefits of bugs and the important roles they play such as pollinating plants and flowers, aerating the soil and serving a major role in connecting the food chain for humans.

“Bugs hold a bit of intrigue for everybody, but they’re often viewed as nothing more than pests” said Red Oak naturalist and facility manager Margaret Gazdacka. “They’re actually pretty amazing creatures that play a huge role in nature.”

Patterson Farms will have local beekeepers on hand to discuss how bees make honey and explain their important roles in nature. They’ll also have various items for sale, including soap, lotions and candy, all honey-based.

Other vendor guests scheduled to attend include Butterflies are Everywhere, Kane County Audubon, Morton Arboretum, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Hickory Knolls and Cross Exotics, which will feature live animals.

Interactive play featuring story time with Charlotte’s Web and Bug Bash Music will host story times at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., with music at 10, 11 and noon.

For more information on Bug Fest – and to download a guidebook/map and coloring sheet – visit www.foxvalleyparkdistrict.org. For specific questions, contact Red Oak at 630-897-1808.

Blackberry Farm to host Civil War Days on Aug. 12-13

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

Blackberry Farm will commemorate the 153rd anniversary of the American Civil War with a weekend-long event on Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 12-13.

“Civil War Days” will be highlighted by a full-scale reenactment on the historic grounds of Blackberry Farm, featuring simulated battles between Union and Confederate soldiers. Guest speakers and interpreters will stage numerous demonstrations of 1800s-era war life.

“These stories we bring to life go beyond the battles; they’re about real people caught up in an unimaginable war – soldiers, civilians, enslaved people – all with a story to tell,” said Blackberry Farm manager Sandie Gilmer.

Examples include dyeing demonstrations showing how wool and fabric were dyed for troop uniforms, medical procedures as they were performed in the battle fields and crafts such as corn husk dolls. “Meet the Lincolns” will be held each day from noon to 4 p.m., featuring conversations with President and Mrs. Lincoln, who also host a special “Tea with the Lincolns” each day at 2 p.m.

A battle re-enactment will be staged Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. A full schedule of events is available at www.foxvalleyparkdistrict.org.

“This event is an opportunity to learn about democracy, sacrifice, heroism and hope – the many ways this war shaped our history,” said Gilmer.

Games and toys of Civil War days will highlight each day from start to finish. All of Blackberry’s regular amenities will be available – train, pony, carousel and hay wagon rides – along with the Adventure Playground.

Civil War Days is included with daily admission. Blackberry Farm will be open 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Mayor Irvin to Offer 100-Day Progress Report

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017