Tampa-area police have uncovered hundreds of millions in tax fraud, according to the Tampa Bay Tribune. Two employees of a local home security system provider, Tampa Signal, have allegedly been implicated in selling sensitive customer information – including Social Security Numbers – to criminals for up to $200 a record. The criminals in turn filed fraudulent tax returns and had the refunds deposited in fake bank accounts.

The article rightly identifies the “lucrative market” in selling customer information, which is why it’s important for companies as well as individuals to exercise caution. In this example, the employees in question gained the data by claiming it was necessary to run credit checks – but Tampa Signal had changed its credit check process earlier in the year to exclude the need for SSNs. The bottom line: when you’re asked for personal information, don’t just hand it over – you should question why you’re being asked for that information.. Otherwise, you could have your security compromised by anyone – even your security company.

  1. Your article does not explain the next step. Once the consumer asks why its needed the criminal will likely have an explanation. What should be done next? Simplistic anseres to complicated issue are not helpful.

    • You are right. There isn’t a perfect answer to this complicated issue. However, in this particular scenario, the consumer should have thought twice before giving out their Social Security Number (SSN) or any other personal information (PI) to this vendor. My advice is if you are hesitant and/or question in any way the need to pass over your PI, then you should not proceed any further with them and/or consider working with another vendor and/or ask to speak with a manager so you can get additional details on why the particular information is needed before the you decide (if at all) to pass over your PI to another person over the phone, in-person and/or online. You should always proceed with caution when handing out your PI, especially your SSN.

      In addition, when you push back on giving an SSN the vendor will simply bypass it on the application. I have personally done this multiple times.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>