There has been a lot of speculation about how the Internal Revenue Service could have been hacked and perhaps 100,000 tax payer records stolen. How could it have happened? Could it happen again? What about my records?

Well, apparently it wasn’t as hard as you might think, thanks to personal information that most of us leave laying around on the internet. Here’s an example, excerpted from the Credit Union Times:

“Mother’s maiden name has been a common security question for decades. How easy is it to figure out someone’s mother’s maiden name?

Suppose for a moment that you have a Facebook account. And suppose for a moment that you’ve identified a particular Facebook “friend” as your mother. And suppose for a moment that to make it easier for childhood friends to find her on Facebook, your mother has included her maiden name in her Facebook profile. And finally, assume for a moment that neither you nor your mother has adjusted the Facebook security settings so that currently anyone subscribed to Facebook can see both profiles.

That would mean that your mother’s maiden name is just a couple of mouse clicks away for anyone with any interest in finding it.”

The Times maintains that the IRS was not hacked at all…the system functioned exactly as designed.  For the full article, CLICK HERE (the link will open in a new tab and take you to a site maintained by the Credit Union Times).

We’ve said it before: the internet is very similar to an old party line telephone; the information you share is not as private as you might think. The best advice is what your grandparents knew about that telephone…pay attention. Somebody else might be interested.