Report: IRS Data Mining Facebook, Twitter, Instagram And Other Social Media Sites

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The IRS is reportedly gathering massive amounts of online data hoping to find tax cheats. (Getty Images)

The IRS is reportedly gathering massive amounts of online data hoping to find tax cheats. (Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Word of warning to those who cheated on their taxes…don’t brag about it online.

The Internal Revenue Service is monitoring social media to find people who stretch the truth on their tax forms, or who don’t file taxes at all, reports CNet.

Agents who might otherwise be crunching numbers are crunching data…and there’s probably a whole lot of data about you that they consider fair game.

As part of its efforts to catch tax dodgers, the IRS is reportedly using online activity trackers to sort through the massive amount photos and updates you send out on your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media accounts.

“It appears from its public statements and some other reports, that it’s using data to piece together likely profiles or likely candidates for closer review,” Behnam Dayanim, co-chair of the privacy and data practice at Paul Hastings, tells Marketplace.

In other words, a lot of posts about a new car, new house or fancy vacation could attract some unwanted “likes”  from the taxman.

That information can be cross checked with information the IRS already has about you, like your social security number, bank accounts and property holdings.

Last year, the agency claimed the right to read email and private information on social media accounts, but announced it was rescinding that policy after push back from civil liberties groups.

It apparently reserves the right to collect all your public information.

So if you did cheat on your taxes (and no one is saying you did), best keep it to yourself.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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