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Facebook Tax Cheats
By: Jessica Cherok
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Not that you should be cheating on your taxes, but just in case you are — the IRS is using Facebook as a way to catch you. We’ve all heard about the feds monitoring social media for criminal activity, but tax cheats?

It’s not entirely outside of the realm of possibility. After all, government and law enforcement have used social media to uncover gang-related activities, establish timelines in suspected criminal cases, and pile on fault in divorces. Why not add on monitoring social media activity for tax fraud?

With the continued collection of data by social media sites, Facebook in particular, more and more details about our personal lives are being collected and mined. While advertising and marketing companies are using the data for things like better targeted ads, it makes sense that the government would find some of the information just as useful to fit their needs.

If the IRS or other agency has enough reason to get a court order to search through your information, that's one thing, but it’s entirely another to just hand the data over them because you didn’t bother to check your privacy settings. Nearly 14 million people have said they didn’t know about, never set, or didn’t know how to set the privacy settings within Facebook.

And while people who cheat on their taxes certainly deserve to be caught, they’re also probably the ones better versed in covering their tracks.

For the rest of us, getting caught up in any sort of investigation with the feds can be a nightmare.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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