Social Security and Business Tax numbers leaked on Cobb County government website

SMYRNA: Cobb County Government has been leaking citizens’ social security and business tax ID numbers out online, via a publicly-accessible website, which could enable criminal activity.  It’s time to call our Commissioners and ask for these documents to be redacted.

Is Cobb County’s Superior Court Clerk enabling credit card fraud?  Is the Court Clerk violating thousands of citizens’ Constitutional rights to privacy?  Maybe a class-action lawsuit could answer those questions; I am not a lawyer and therefore do not have the answer.  What do YOU think?  The Comments section, down below, is available.

The Story – or – How this whole mess got started:

When a loan defaults and is written off, the IRS treats loan write-offs as a taxable income source, because customers are assumed to be receiving a valued benefit for “nothing.”  So, when all these housing bubbles burst and dejected homeowners gave up on their homes, those who failed to give the IRS with their new addresses might have missed the tax bills and threats of litigation to collect.  Federal Tax Lien notices containing names and social security numbers were then filed in the Superior Court clerks nation-wide. These same Courts now have these old records publicly available online, and people are just now waking up to the negative consequences of leaking ID information online.

Make and Sign petitions – ASK you local and state government officials to encourage ALL Courts to cover ALL documents and redact ALL Social Security and Tax ID Numbers.

Another question: how many businesses have been exposed to fraud as a result of their Tax ID numbers being posted freely online?

In mere moments, with automation software, thousands of these numbers could be harvested.  And this same situation could exist nation-wide.  I am a programmer and my ethics prohibits me from building an application capable of harvesting these documents, BUT, there are unethical people out there – and ALL documents need to be redacted!

And you thought this was illegal?  It sure is – now.  However, there are old documents that have not been redacted, and these documents provide fertile ground for scammers to prey upon consumers, who do not know that their social security numbers may be online.

Here it is – the website: CobbSuperiorCourtClerk.org!
The directions on how to find the list of Tax ID numbers are posted below.

All you have to do to get access to THOUSANDS of IRS Tax ID numbers, is download the AlternaTIFF and SilverLight extensions, and then search the DEED books on the right – and choose the ENTER button, click the Search by Name function, insert INTERNAL and then go down to the Book Type, and click the LIEN Book.  I inserted a sample Date range of “05012004” and “06012004” – the app will auto-insert the “/” – and my search returned a rather “prolific” 200+ records, paginated by 40 records on each screen.

You can also search for a friend or family member and see if they or a business of theirs is affected.  Fraud affects our entire community – other counties may have this problem, too.

And there you go – from Cobb County Government, because the redaction law does not cover old documents, a potentially dangerous situation.  I give Cobb County Superior Court Clerk a grade of F+ for their Fabulous Failure at privacy protection.

I do not make the news, I just report it.

Here are some things that can happen to people with leaked socials:

  • Financial and banking fraud, overdraft fees billed to victims
  • Medical Insurance Fraud, a later denial of needed medical services
  • Utility service theft / fraud – thousands in bills left behind
  • ID theft for W2 and 1099 reporting fraud, leaving behind tax bills
  • Pawn shop sales that leave victims at risk of theft charges
  • Scrap metal sales that leave victims at risk for theft charges
  • Stolen ID info given to police and FTA arrests of innocent victims
  • and more… use your imagination.

A PICTURE is presented below on how, exactly, to do what I just specified above.

HERE.   Here is where someone might get YOUR social, if the IRS filed any Lien papers with your social on them. FREE, courtesy of Cobb County Superior Court Clerk.  We need redactions to apply to OLD files, too.

FREE, courtesy of Cobb County Superior Court Clerk. We need redactions to apply to OLD files, too.

A better world is possible – we need to work together to make it happen.

Please – call your Superior Court Clerk and elected officials and ask them POLITELY to remove ALL social security numbers from ALL documents!

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About Amy Barnes

Author has extensive experience in Retail, including two years as a supervisor. Educated in Psychology, Financial Accounting, Criminal Justice, and Programming. Work experience in Law Enforcement, Security (IT), Programming (REALBasic, SQL, VB, JAVA), Retail.
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