The IRS announced in November 2021 that it will launch a new online identity verification process using the provider ID.me.
The verification features will be in effect for different portals operated by the IRS, including the Child Tax Credit Update Portal. It will also be used in the processes for online accounts, asking for transcripts, and online payment agreements.
The security website Krebs on Security examined what the new ID.me requirement means when it goes into effect in summer 2022. ID.me is already used by twenty-seven states for fighting identity theft and other purposes.
“The service requires applicants to supply a great deal more information than typically requested for online verification schemes, such as scans of their driver’s license or other government-issued ID, copies of utility or insurance bills, and details about their mobile phone service,” Brian Krebs wrote.
This also includes the requirement to upload a live, video selfie. Multi-factor authentication is also required.
Krebs signed up for an ID.me account and shared his observations. He noted that signing up requires a great deal more time and effort than what is typically the case for such security efforts. Those signing up are required to upload several documents, including a driver’s license, passport, or state-issued ID. ID.me also requires phone number verification and does not accept Google Voice or Skype phone numbers.
Krebs added that taking the “live selfie” was not easy, and required multiple attempts, and the overall process took multiple days.
ID.me was in the news last summer when Axios reported that as much as half of the unemployment benefits paid out in the pandemic to that point had been stolen by fraudsters. Much of that money ended up in the hands of international criminal organizations. This put the amount of money stolen is believed to be in the neighborhood of $400 billion.
The Axios story was not sourced from any type of official government figures, but from ID.me and LexisNexis Risk Solutions. Some skeptics argued that both companies had a vested interest in getting governments to worry about unemployment fraud, thereby pushing the government to turn to such companies to combat it.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.