Jen and I are gathering all of the files we need to do our taxes, and one of those is the 1099-G, which reports on our state refund from 2022. We need this for our 2023 taxes, so I did a search on the Maryland.gov website to log in and download it. The site I was presented with looks similar to stuff I built back in 1999, optimized for Netscape Navigator 4.0. Hesitantly I registered to log in to the site—which seemed to be asking for a lot more information than necessary—and after some fits and starts (anytime a website offers a field to create a new password, the rules for the password should be clearly spelled out next to that field) I hit ENTER and expected I’d be able to see my records and download them. Nope.
It then sent me an email from “Office365@email@example.com” with a mysterious attachment named “message_v4.msg” and a button linking to a a pre-populated “protected message”. Not dodgy at all. Knowing better, I clicked the link and was sent to a prepopulated Sharepoint page with boilerplate text requesting the state send me my record via mail and a signature field I couldn’t fill out. It took me a couple of minutes to realize I had to click a tiny button to then generate a reply window where I could enter my name, and it then required me to photograph the front and back of my driver’s license and attach them to the message. WHAT THE FUCK. At this point I knew my personal information was compromised. I hit send and was rewarded with a noncommittal screen which may or may not mean I was successful.
I’m pretty sure there’s a passport factory somewhere in Africa now pumping out dupes of my ID for doing crimes, and my SSN is all over the dark web being used to buy fentanyl and viagra. We will probably never see this 1099-G and need to file an extension for our taxes. I cannot believe this is the SOP at my state government, and that there is no portal that contains all of this information readily. But then, I also know that our local governments are being strangled by budgets and partisan fighting, so I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised.