H&R Block Will E-Mail Your Tax Info To Just Anyone

Tax returns contain some pretty sensitive information. You would think that when a tax preparer collects your e-mail address, they might verify to make sure that it is your correct e-mail address. If that’s your assumption, clearly you are not H&R Block, which doesn’t particularly care whether they’re sending your personal information to you or not.

This will be familiar territory for anyone whose e-mail address happens to be [first initial][last name]@emailprovider.com, or [first name][last name]@emailprovider.com. There’s even an xkcd cartoon about the phenomenon, which is not limited to older people: I’ve run across it with L. Northrups young enough to be my children. However, one Ars Technica reader was not thrilled to receive the name, address, and security questions for the H&R Block account of someone he doesn’t know.

While the other man is a stranger, they have something in common: the same relatively common first and last names. While one Aaron reports that he does often get e-mail meant for the other Aaron, he was surprised to receive so much personal information.

Take this as a warning: if you use H&R Block, be sure to triple-check the e-mail address that you type in. Otherwise you might end up perpetuating identity theft against yourself.

Tax firm H&R Block doesn’t verify client’s e-mail, leaks personal info [Ars Technica]