That's a good reminder about the lack of true privacy in social networking.
This is a discussion on Careful what you post -- someone is watching within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Careful what you post -- someone is watching Is 'Friending' in Your Future? Better Pay Your Taxes First - WSJ.com Is 'Friending' in Your Future? ...
Careful what you post -- someone is watching
Is 'Friending' in Your Future? Better Pay Your Taxes First - WSJ.com
Is 'Friending' in Your Future? Better Pay Your Taxes First
By LAURA SAUNDERS
Tax deadbeats are finding someone actually reads their MySpace and Facebook postings: the taxman.
State revenue agents have begun nabbing scofflaws by mining information posted on social-networking Web sites, from relocation announcements to professional profiles to financial boasts.
In Minnesota, authorities were able to levy back taxes on the wages of a long-sought tax evader after he announced on MySpace that he would be returning to his home town to work as a real-estate broker and gave his employer's name. The state collected several thousand dollars, the full amount due.
Meanwhile, agents in Nebraska collected $2,000 from a deejay after he advertised on his MySpace page that he would be working at a big public party.
In California, which has recently been so strapped for revenue it has had to pay some bills with IOUs, agents are also using social Web sites. When one delinquent was identified as a rigger of sails, a curious collection agent searched his name and the term online and found a discussion board used by local riggers. In one thread someone asked where the rigger was because his store had closed, and a reply was posted, "Oh, he moved across the bay." The agent found the man and collected a four-figure sum.
An Internal Revenue Service spokesman declined to say whether its agents use social-networking sites to pursue delinquent taxes or assist audits.
Searches for tax dodgers typically begin with examinations of bank, employment, tax, and motor-vehicle records. "These new supplements are often far more efficient than the older ones, such as reading the local newspaper or making inquiries at barbershops and church meetings," said Jim Eads, director of the Federation of Tax Administrators.
Now, when a tax dodger can't be found, said Nebraska tax official Steven Schroeder, agents often turn to Google. One agent collected $30,000 of unpaid tax from a resident after a Google search found him listed as a high-ranking local marketing rep for a national firm. If a Google online search isn't productive, agents use the social sites or chat rooms in a last-chance hunt for their quarries.
There are limits to what state agents can do on the Web. In Nebraska, agents are only allowed to use information that is publicly available online. So, MySpace -- owned by News Corp., publisher of The Wall Street Journal -- tends to work best because its users often post more public information than do those of sites like Facebook, Mr. Schroeder said. The default settings for adults on MySpace create a public profile, while the default settings on Facebook create a profile only viewable by an approved list of friends.
"Agents are not allowed to 'friend' someone using false information," Mr. Schroeder said. The same ethics rules hold in California, according to a spokesman for the state's Franchise Tax Board.
Not all state tax departments are jumping on the trend. Massachusetts, long known for its aggressive tax collections, said it has "no systematic program" for trawling social media at the moment. According to Mr. Eads of the tax administrators' group, many state tax authorities currently block social sites on workplace computers to prevent employees from spending personal time on them. "They may change their minds," he said.
"Using social media is something we will explore," said Jessica Iverson, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. A spokesman for Oregon's revenue agency said his state is also "considering it."
Other states are looking for ways use Internet information to enhance not only collections but also audits and negotiations. A Minnesota tax official said that when firms try to negotiate payments by claiming to be strapped for cash, agents always check their Web sites. At the time one tanning business was crying poverty to the state, agents pointed out that its site boasted of supplying all the tans for participants in a big body-building contest.
Write to Laura Saunders at email@example.com
Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A2
I'm just one root in a grassroots organization. No one should assume that I speak for the VCDL.
I am neither an attorney-at-law nor I do play one on television or on the internet. No one should assumes my opinion is legal advice.
Veni, Vidi, Velcro
That's a good reminder about the lack of true privacy in social networking.
Oh ya.. Don't type anything that you don't want the world to know..
I learned that lesson when I put a picture of a fresh tattoo up on my facebook, and within 5 minutes my mother, who doesn't have a facebook, had already seen the picture (through my brother), and was yelling at me for not telling her yet.
Fortes Fortuna Juvat
Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor
You must be careful, big brother is always watching
I always remembered the story about a mother who was a GM of
a Olive Garden I think maybe a diiferent restaurant but her kids posted
pics of themselves holding beer bottles at a B-day party that their mother
was also present at on Myspace and the restaurant fired her.
She had been working there for years. She stated the beer bottles were
empty and her kids took the pics just joking around.
We really need to abolish the IRS.
We had a run-in with them once. It cost us thousands in legal fees in order to prove our innocence.
Then my Wife wanted a letter of apology from them after it was all over since it really screwed up our home sale and they froze our bank accounts so that we couldn't even pay our utility bills.
They laughed at her and said: "We're the IRS...we don't apologize."
Are you reading this post....IRS?
SCREW YOU and all of your Mothers too! You smug bunch of asshats!
I hope I live to see the day that you're all out of work and standing in the soup line begging for another slice of day old bread.
Stories like this remind me that some companies WAY over extend their boundaries. I would have fought this tooth and nail as an invasion of my privacy. Maybe it is public but still. It didn't happen on company property and it was none of their business.
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”
Originally Posted by UnklFungus
My buddy sent me an email with a facebook page of some lady that apparently meant to type an IM or something to a guy she had a date with and instead posted it on her myspace page,let's just say she had a really good time on her date,and was repeatedly posting "HOW DO I REMOVE MY POST"
"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
--Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .
One of the members in a firearms forum here had their firearms licence revoked due to comments made in public forum (police are watching)
Evil prevails when good men stand by and do nothing
Not just the feds, but also your employer. People think that what they write, post, or upload on social networking sites (or even forums like this if you access them while at work) are private. Not so, by any means.
And I really hope that no one accesses boards like this from work. Whether it's about guns, cars, or whatever, stuff on corporate networks get recorded. You should never assume you have any privacy at work, it is someone else's property after all.
Should anyone be reading-snooping-carousing or other at DC.com :
For the record:
I hate guns! Please ban them and enact stricter laws concerning them!
I love to pay taxes. Please raise mine immediately.
I love the current President and our whole government!
Now, if you believe that, I have some beach front propety in the middle of West Virginia for sale! (Good price too!)
"A Smith & Wesson always beats 4 aces!"
The Man Prayer. "Im a man, I can change, if I have to.....I guess!" ~ Red Green