Identity Theft Tax Fraud: Is Facebook Putting Your Refund at Risk?


We all want to prevent tax-time identity fraud, but as it’s the no. 1 scam on the IRS Dirty Dozen list for 2012, it’s pretty clear this may take some effort.

One of the best tips is to safeguard your Social Security number. After all, in order to file a phony tax return, a thief simply needs a taxpayer’s name, Social Security number, and birth date.

What is less apparent is that your social networking pages could be helping an identity thief.

Although the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media accounts to request personal or financial information, everyone’s need to over-share personal details on the Internet may be unwise.

A Yahoo! news article points out that “computer programs can accurately guess Social Security numbers 8.5% of the time using information found on Facebook and other social networks. Hometowns and birthdates are particularly helpful information for identity thieves, so avoid making that information public.”


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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.