Any one with a Facebook, Myspace or Twitter account, (probably everyone who reads this blog, ) needs to read two recent posts on Mashable, about how tax authorities and burglars are both using social networking sites to find people to go after.
The first Mashable post talks about how state tax authorities from several states, have been succesful in collecting back taxes from taxpayers using information acknowledged that they are using social networking sites to gather information to use to go after taxpayers:
“”They look for a wide range of publicly posted personal financially-related information including relocation announcements, earnings boasts, gig announcements”
The article goes on to explain why Myspace.com uses are at great risk but also says that tax officials are using Google as well.
Although not discussed in the article, the IRS is most likely using these tools as well. Let’s not forget Richard Hatch who after winning $1 Million on Survivor went on the radio to tell the world he neglected to pay taxes on the income. Telling your network of “friends” about a big sale or a huge win at the race, might wind up on the authorities radar.
The second Mashable post, talks about how professional thief’s are using social network sites to decide whom to rob and when to rob them.
“”The combination of a willingness to “friend” total strangers and open broadcasting about one’s holiday plans, whereabouts, purchases, home interiors and other personal information essentially creates a field day for professional burglars.””
The post goes on to note that hardly anyone blocks a follower from its Twitter account.
Many people use Twitter to tell all their followers what they are doing, where they are at every moment of the day, giving the bad guys all the info they need to come and take your stuff.
I personally notice 30 people joining and dropping off my Twitter follows a week. Unlike many, I do not automatically follow everyone who follows me and on FaceBook.com I do not accept requests to join unless I know the person, or they have many common friends and appear to be in the business. I also do not use either one, to update everyone on my location and travel plans.
Something to think about.
Bottom line, as I have said before, think about what you are posting on these sites, while we love the social networking aspects of them, there are some real downsides to spilling your guts.