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.