I just received an email from Google AdSense claiming that my tax information had been changed. This induced a small panic thinking that 1) my Google account has been compromised and 2) my AdSense revenue was going to be diverted elsewhere.
The email, a screenshot of the email is included at the bottom of this article, is genuinely Google and not a phishing email. Just to be safe, you should visit Google.com/Adsense instead of clicking any links in the email. The message states that the tax information from my account has been changed and gives today’s date. I certainly made no changes and upon reviewing my tax information registered with Google, it appears to be correct.
Hello from Google,
On May 8, 2015, you changed the tax information for your Google AdSense account.
To review your information, you can follow the provided steps which include signing into AdSense, clicking the gear in the top right, and selecting Payments. Under Payee profile, you will see your tax information, which may be a W9. My W9 says it was last modified several years ago. Another step to take to secure your account would be to review recent account information, which you can do from the Google Dashboard. You might also implement Google’s 2-step verification.
Fortunately, it appears that this notification is sent on error by Google. After not finding any changes made to my tax information, it appears to be a bug. A thread on the Google AdSense Help Forum has 45 others chiming in that they have also received the email for Google AdSense and Google Wallet Merchant Center. The first message was posted about 10 hours ago and has received increased attention very recently as more people find the thread and continue to receive the email notifications.
The thread has been flagged for Google to review, so we may receive an official response soon. This feels like another example of Google’s support being very sub-par since you cannot reach a human to notify them of something going wrong.
Screenshot of the email I received, except account info has been cleared:
Update: It was posted to the AdSense support thread that Google has responded with this response:
Thank you for reaching out to the Support team.
As part of our usual tax process with the Internal Revenue Service, we often verify your tax information. Due to an error on our part, we accidentally sent you an email during this process.
Please disregard this message, and rest assured that it wasn’t the result of unauthorized access or changes to your account. No action is required on your end.
Our sincere apologies for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused you.
Update 2: Google sent out an email, appearing to be to all US-based AdSense publishers, confirming the previous email sent 4 days ago now was indeed erroneous.
Dear Jason Hamilton,
Recently, a communication from Google was sent to you in error.
During regular verification of customer tax information with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a technical error resulted in an email to you incorrectly stating that your tax information has changed. In no way has your tax information changed or been compromised.
No action is required on your part and you can disregard the email.
Google sincerely apologizes for this error and any confusion or inconvenience to you.
The Google Billing Team