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Digital Privacy News

IRS Stimulus Website Plagued by Privacy, Security Issues

By Rob Sabo

Linda Elkington Huotari was excited when she logged into the new IRS website “Get My Payment” and learned she was eligible for direct deposit of her coronavirus stimulus check.

Huotari, who lives in Sherwood, Ore., had already filed her 2018 and 2019 tax returns, so the Internal Revenue Service had her correct banking information.

Two weeks have passed, however, and Huotari has yet to see any funds under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) deposited into her checking account.

She’s actually one of the lucky ones who successfully navigated Get My Payments to track the status of her payment.

“I’ve received my refunds from 2018 and 2019, but no stimulus funds — and there’s no reason why,” Huotari told Digital Privacy News.

Tens of millions of Americans have received stimulus checks via direct deposit, but millions more have encountered difficulty navigating Get My Payment.

The most-common issues are users receiving an error message stating “payment status not available” — and not having any way to provide correct banking information.

More alarming, security and data-privacy experts told Digital Privacy News, is the lack of safeguards and critical site vulnerabilities that potentially leave millions of consumers who accessed the site prone to data intrusion and cyberfraud.

“Get My Payment was launched a mere five days after the IRS announced it was being developed,” said Mandee Rose, editor at TheVPNShop.com. “Had efforts toward developing the site started sooner, the IRS would have had time to make sure cybersecurity and online privacy measures were properly implemented.”