Geek On The Hill

Google is Exposing Adsense Publishers to Identity Theft

As if we needed another reason to hate Google…

Due to some stroke of stupidity of either the human or artificial variety (or more likely both), Google has been sending 2017 1099 forms for Adsense Publishers who have moved since they signed up for the program to their addresses when they first signed up, not to their current addresses. In addition, if the publisher submits a request for a corrected 1099 form to be mailed to their current address, the new form will also be sent to the old address.

Google actually a post about this on their Adsense Support forum:!msg/adsense/y2Ndx3xyUew/6PK6IBHABwAJ

But because Google rarely (if ever) actually reads their own forums, it’s not clear that they’re even aware of the problem.

Perhaps even more annoying than Google’s incompetence, unresponsiveness, apathy, and lack of any way to contact an actual human is the fact that no one — NO ONE — seems to have any oversight authority over Google. They are, for all intents and purposes, a completely unregulated entity that is accountable to no one.

I have filed reports with the FTC, the IRS, the Treasury Department, the Postal Inspectors, the New York Attorney General (where I live), and the California Attorney General (where Google is based). They all took complaints, but also stated that they don’t think they can do anything because they don’t believe the problem comes under their purview.

I’m a Libertarian. I’m not big on regulation. But one would think that a company that’s sending personal tax and identity information for probably tens of thousands of people to the wrong addresses and exposing them to identity theft would come under some agency’s jurisdiction. But one would be wrong.