Three Atlanta women have been accused of operating a $2 million tax fraud operation by using confidential information from the website Ancestry.com. The Internal Revenue Service sent refunds to the addresses associated with the defendant women.
According to reports, the women may have obtained social security numbers off the Ancestry.com web site. Arrest warrants have issued for Shawuana Sanders, Monica Person and Tania Zelada.
A close look at the site and its business reveals that Ancestry. com has a vast amount of private data and it is growing at a fast rate. Ancestry.com began when two Brigham Young University students began selling floppy disc-filled genealogical information to fellow Mormons. The company went public in 2009, only to be taken private again two years ago after being purchased by European private equity firm Permira. Last year, it generated $620 million in revenue and boasted 2.2 million monthly subscribers. It now offers a $99 DNA kit, which breaks down an individual by ethnicity and then provides a network of possible relatives. Using saliva, the DNA is expected to be a part of the company’s business plan pending Food and Drug Administration approval. Examining genes is expected to hold a significant place in disease prevention and treatment. Hopefully Ancestry.com will beef up its security and take off the private information with direct access.