February 13, 2020

Sharing Your Tax Return Information On Social Media Is A Bad Idea

If you have a question about your tax return you’re better off talking to the IRS or a tax specialist, not random strangers in social media groups. That’s a sure way to get your identity stolen.

Last year, after I had done my taxes, someone from my old job mentioned something about there being a delay with the returns of people who claimed children. So I went to social media to see if anyone else heard anything like this.

On Facebook I found all kinds of groups more or less titled “tax refund help”, and I joined one to see if there was any news relating to my inquiry.

Apparently there was some sort of delay because a lot of people were freaking out, posting status updates about their tax return status and all the reason why they desperately need that deposit to hit. I was shocked to discover so many people literally posting screenshots of their personal bank accounts, IRS documents, and more sensitive information to the group. If I was a scammer, I’d be in heaven. Well these groups still exists, and they are much getting much larger and more active. Go look for yourself.

The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) gives this warning about scams, “Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals. The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Recognize the telltale signs of a scam.”

As a millennial, I understand the benefits of social media. However, there has to be an awareness for the dangers as well. These days it’s become easier than ever for even an average hacker to obtain someones personal information, and that’s without you sharing information in a chat room.

So why make it easier? Why not take the safer extra step of contacting a tax specialist or the IRS? Do you really want the entire internet knowing what your information is, when you’re getting paid and how much?

Do yourself a favor and keep your personal financial information out of social media groups. There’s a good chance that 99.9% of the advice or information you receive from these tax advice groups is useless. In fact, much of it can inspire can you to make unnecessary mistakes with your finances and become overwhelmed with anxiety.

What you may or may not get back on your tax return is your personal business. Don’t share your information then be surprised when your identity gets stolen or you get robbed because someone new what day and how much money you were getting on your tax return.