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[Solved] Possible Fake Unity Phishing Scam seeking Tax Info

Discussion in 'Editor & General Support' started by Vontarga, Dec 13, 2017.

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  1. Vontarga

    Vontarga

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2014
    Posts:
    99
    Thought I'd share this email I just received, either to verify its authenticity, or as a warning to others. Needless to say, DO NOT click the link. There is no reason I should receive this, as I do not sell anything in the store. I am always leery of any email which does not address me by company name and personal name. Also, this link does NOT direct to Unity.

    **************************








    Hello,


    IRS regulations require Unity to collect certain tax information from Publishers who earned income in a calendar year. Depending on your tax status, we might be required to file a Form 1099Misc or 1042-S for you after the end of the year.


    To comply with the IRS regulations, please complete the tax interview as soon as possible, and no later than Dec 31, 2017. Your future payout could be delayed if we do not have your tax information in file by the end of the year.


    To help protect the security of your taxpayer identification information, please do not respond to this e-mail with your tax identity information or share it over the phone. When you have all necessary tax information prepared, please take the tax interview by selecting the following url: https://unity3d.taxidentity.com/Interview/Start?PrepopulateData=eNpNjl1rgzAUhv_KyLUpTZPY2KtZ2zDZB2XKdh2T02JRM2IsE_G_L25Qdnd43vfhPRPKDXS-9uMzjGiHDK0SqGKKBacUM042OADAEANnLCaCVwxFKNXaDp3PTVBkwsRW8hjvecIxk-sDFkJmOD2sYyKTLDsSEpQP6Ix1v8ZGbGlCF_gCF9W8qRYCfYfaPORn60wIjq2qm9QYB30fMg328WY7r9xFrbRtQ6NU33kXTijHr0UvwN1qDSHJ-2KorqB9afefTyXanVXTQ4RO1nnVFHZwehH-Hgr9E7j2PjXNEXr9vz3N8w-721pi&LinkExpiryTime=2018-01-12T04:54:28&Signature=FrRZc-ZX4hTCcO7w0u6WFy-rxFLID61E-auFnBYs_asmKnLeqvVzWED7MIuHeVKRQTBu1EoPazJq4OjjYqU5BPcMIuIHrMTjcJqd1-Y0EcLD5KiTsxrDeMOB6itXi4j0vO6PV5B77vDqawORS36fX_aF2PZDsloeJqicemxdmEfsmlN99AxEH7RXD1k-GLC9eqGJ7OAikYM2BchTkAAr6KEIxaWogkPFhP8wHndR-l_S11g8w-TIEr8kTmOywXPI3hiE0Q1M7Sv2GIFWWY5TfMrh8FwcQjaznNKpXmKQcogJZQnwhjRydcDQcfxr4YQDCXkgnbDDKFe9j5l4dWfQew==

    - note this is a personalized link for your legal entity and will expire in 30 days. It is a short interview process that must be completed by the legal owner of the account.


    Please note that Unity uses Tax Identity Solutions LLC, a third-party tax provider, to receive and validate this additional documentation.



    Important Notice: Information in this document does not constitute tax, legal, or other professional advice and must not be used as such. If you have other questions, please contact your tax, legal, or other professional advisor.



    Thank you for your assistance.



    Unity3D
     
  2. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Posts:
    3,980
    Interesting that the scammers would know you use Unity. I wonder if either Unity's account database or the forum database got hacked. Though it could just as easily be some 3rd party that provides assets for Unity that had your email address.
     
  3. jcdelz

    jcdelz

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Posts:
    1
    I got the same thing which showed up in my spam box. Needless to say I don't trust it.
     
  4. penneyworth1

    penneyworth1

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Posts:
    9
    I got this too. Any Unity team members out there that can verify that this is a phishing scam?
     
  5. karl_jones

    karl_jones

    Unity Technologies

    Joined:
    May 5, 2015
    Posts:
    3,103
    Hey. We are looking into this. Just waiting for a reply from the relevant team to find out if it is legit.
     
    JamesArndt likes this.
  6. supernat

    supernat

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Posts:
    44
  7. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Posts:
    23,825
    Unity really needs to get ahead of these things, it's not the first time mails have hit customers out of the blue that might or might not be unity related. All very baffling for customers, no doubt and a rather poor display of manners.
     
    Novack likes this.
  8. mrleon

    mrleon

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2014
    Posts:
    18
    Yea, I don't publish anything using Unity... I just use it for making non public, non commercial art and prototypes. I replied to the email for more details and got "Our records indicate that you are receiving Advertising income from Unity, generated by Advertisement placement within your games. The income paid is reportable to the IRS, so we ask that you complete the tax interview. Depending on your tax status, we might be required to file a Form 1099Misc or 1042-S for you after the end of the year."

    I'm assuming Unity's user base got compromised and this email is a scam or Unity is giving my personal info (with incorrect data) to 3rd party companies even though there's no reason to. Very troubling in either case and makes me super distrust Unity's handling of my data....
     
  9. WKupper

    WKupper

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2017
    Posts:
    1
    Watching this thread with interest. Will certainly not be filling out anything in any capacity for any one. Not sure what to tell my CEO at this moment.
     
  10. orb

    orb

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    Posts:
    2,958
    A simple way to check how legit it is would be to inspect the mail headers (use a real e-mail client - Outlook kills important information). Compare it to legit mail, like asset store updates and any subscription notifications for Plus/Pro. Paste it on SpamCop if you can't read mail headers.

    But the first warning sign is a non-Unity Technologies web address linked.
     
  11. mrleon

    mrleon

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2014
    Posts:
    18
    I checked. The email is sent by a random 3rd party using amazon email service and the link is just some page hosted on godaddy. Their parent site is a barebones Drupal site.... If Unity confirms they are legitimate, I still wouldn't trust them enough to give any personal info even if this actually applied to me .

     
  12. matthewpruitt

    matthewpruitt

    Unity Technologies

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2016
    Posts:
    12
    Hi everyone,

    This is not a scam. Tax Identity is working with Unity to help our US-based mobile Ads monetization publishers fill out tax forms required by the IRS for the 2017 year. Due to a communications mix-up, not all of our publishers were informed about this. If you are a US-based, Ads monetization publisher with Unity, please contact customer support for help with next steps.

    We've put together a small FAQ as well that may answer any questions you have...

    Q: Why am I being asked to complete a US tax form using the online tax interview?
    A:
    Instead of asking you to fill out U.S. tax forms that can often be confusing, we developed the online tax interview as a more user-friendly, step-by-step way of gathering the same tax information that we then pass along to the IRS. We use that information to reduce, or possibly eliminate, the amount of U.S. tax deducted from your Unity payments, which are subject to U.S. tax rules.

    Q: Can I mail you a paper form instead?
    A:
    Yes, but we don’t recommend it. The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has updated the forms. You must provide the current version of the form and know which form is right for you. The tax interview ensures the right form will be used, it will be completed correctly, and the US TIN’s you include are validated. If a mailed form fails validation, we will have to reject it and request that you do it again.

    Q: I have little to no sales with Unity; does the online tax interview apply to me?
    A:
    Yes. No matter how many sales you have had in the past, it will be beneficial to you to complete the tax interview to avoid unnecessary tax deductions from future payments.

    Q: If I complete the tax interview, does that mean that I will not have US tax deducted from my payments?
    A:
    Not necessarily. The amount of reduction of U.S. tax will vary person by person. It will depend on your country of tax residency, the information you provide during the tax interview (such as your U.S. TIN). U.S. Developers completing the tax interview and providing their U.S. TIN will typically be exempt from any U.S. tax deductions.

    Q: What is a TIN?
    A:
    TIN is a Taxpayer Identification Number. This may be a US TIN, such as a Social Security Number (SSN), Employer Identification Number (EIN), or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). If you do not have a US TIN, you may provide your Foreign TIN for your local country.

    Q: How do I get a US TIN?
    A:
    The fastest and simplest way is to apply for a US Employer Identification Number (EIN) using form SS-4. There is information on how to do this available in the tax interview.

    Q: I’ve entered a TIN but the interview is telling me I have not entered a valid TIN.
    A:
    There are a number of reasons this might occur:
    • You are entering your U.S. TIN in the Foreign TIN field.
    • You are entering a U.S. TIN that is not registered in the U.S. IRS database for that name, resulting in a Name-TIN mismatch.
    • You are entering a U.S. TIN including hyphens. Do not include hyphens when entering your U.S. TIN.
    • You are entering an invalid U.S. TIN.
    • You are copying and pasting your TIN instead of typing it out.
    Q: I’ve completed the online tax interview with Unity, and printed my form. Do I have to send it to Unity?
    A:
    If you consented to using an electronic signature during the tax interview, you do not need to send us your form. If you did not consent to electronic signature, you do need to send us your signed form. After you complete the tax interview, you will be sent an email reminder. You can reply to that notification with a scanned copy of your signed form or you can mail it to:

    Tax Identity Solutions – Re: Unity 3D
    3020 Issaquah Pine Lake Road, PMB 321
    Sammamish, WASHINGTON 98075-7253
    U.S.A.​

    Q: I’ve completed the tax interview but did not receive any notification that it was received.
    A:
    On the last screen of the tax interview, after clicking on the Submit button, you will see a message confirming that it has been received: "You have completed the Tax Interview. Your data has been received and may be subject to further validation." You will only receive an email from us if we need to get in touch to validate any of the information you have provided.

    Q: I’ve completed the tax interview but now I have been contacted for more information. Why?
    A:
    Under some circumstances, the IRS may require us to obtain additional information or documentation from you. For example, if you have indicated that you are not a US person but have provided a US address, we may need to ask for more details.

    Q: Who do I contact if I have a problem completing the tax interview?
    A:
    If you have problems with the tax interview. Please email taxclientsupport-Unity3D@taxidentity.com and please provide screenshots reflecting the point in the interview in which you are getting stuck.
     
  13. supernat

    supernat

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Posts:
    44
    Hi Matt. Thanks for the clarification. What do you consider a publisher exactly? I don't sell any assets. I just use Unity to make apps for people. I don't understand how that has tax implications outside my normal business taxes.
     
  14. matthewpruitt

    matthewpruitt

    Unity Technologies

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2016
    Posts:
    12
    Hi Supernat,

    We only need to collect tax information from you if you received Ads payout from us. If you did not receive Ads payout from us, please ignore the message.
     
    JamesArndt likes this.
  15. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Posts:
    23,825
    There's no warning for this stuff and it does not come from Unity domains and you knew this would happen and yet you did not tip your customers off. This is of course, unacceptable and cannot continue without a negative reputation.

    It's not the first time so make it the last.
     
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