#6 – Losing Your Tax Refund and Other Fun Tales From The Equifax Breach

The Equifax hack was historically bad, with the data of over 145 Million people exposed, which is now for sale on the Dark Web. Now, that data is being used to file fraudulent tax returns, which lets the bad guy get your tax refund. So, when you go to file your taxes this year, you may find that Uncle Sam thinks they already sent you a refund. We will tell you what to do. Also, we take a deep dive into how Google Voice Search, Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa, and even Apple’s Siri – all record and store your voice every time you use it! We will tell you how to get rid of those recordings, and block them from happening again.


Great guests:

Dr. Dale Meyerrose, Retired Major General of the USAF, and;

Will Maxson – Assistant Director at FTC


Equifax hack a little worse than thought.

Hair on fire= 1 Nothing changed! Sometimes we get to tell you that things did not get worse:

  • September 2017 disclosed 145M hacked (ssn, names, addresses, etc. PLENTY to commit ID fraud. Put your credit report on hold or freeeze.
  • In February 2018, Just expanded to include tax identification numbers, email addresses and drivers’ license information , not just the license number itself, according to Wall Street Journal.



Lean into your taxes

Hair on fire 3 of 5: important – really!

If you file your taxes electronically and the return is rejected, and if you were the victim of identity theft (e.g., if your Social Security number and other information was leaked in the Equifax breach last year), you should submit an Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039). The IRS advises that if you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper.



Google/Amazon recording you:

Hair on fire … well, if you don’t care about your voice being recorded – 0. Otherwise 5.


Recording your voice wherever you say, “OK Google” or use voice searches while logged in on an app, google chrome – anything.  Fix it here:


Click ‘Item view’ – but if you are new to this have your comfort pet nearby because you may be surprised with whjat you see.

Click ‘Activity Controls’ and then ’pause’ anything you don’t want Google to track,, including “Voice and Audio Activity”

No government back doors, but they have to answer subpoenas.

There are times when we receive requests for user data from law enforcement agencies. Our legal team reviews these requests and pushes back when a request is overly broad or does not follow the correct process. (Google Privacy Policy) https://privacy.google.com/your-security.html


Amazon’s Alexa is pretty much the same. Here is how to delete:

In your Alexa app, go to Settings > History to see what Amazon has on file, and to delete them one by one. Or he to: https://www.amazon.com/mn/dcw/myx.html and go to Your Devices > Echo Dot > Manage voice recordings.


What about Siri?


Yes, it saves recordings, too, but the recording is orphaned from your proxy ID after 6 months.

Once the voice recording is six months old, Apple “disassociates” your user number from the clip, deleting the number from the voice file. But it keeps these disassociated files for up to 18 more months for testing and product improvement purposes.


To change your recording options, or to delete existing recordings on these products, go here:

Google: https://myactivity.google.com/

Amazon Echo: https://www.amazon.com/mn/dcw/myx.html

MS Cortana https://account.microsoft.com/privacy/activity-history

Published by

David W. Schropfer

David W. Schropfer is the CEO of SAFE (Smartphone Authentication For Everyone), a cybersecurity company in New York (www.theSafe.io).  Every day, he and his team of professionals keep the people who use The SAFE Button protected from some of the most common traps, hacks and attacks that target computer systems of all sizes. David is the author of the bestselling cybersecurity book, Digital Habits: 5 Simple Tips to Help Keep You and Your Information Safe Online. His previous books, including The Smartphone Wallet and industry whitepapers, predicted some of the biggest trends in the payments, mobile, and security industries.  Since graduating Boston College, David earned an Executive MBA from the University of Miami.