One property manager in Portland allegedly illegally checked the status of their tenant’s stimulus check.
Cascadian Resistance, a political organization working to defend civil liberties, tweeted out the screenshot of the exchange between the tenant, who is one of its members, Austin Goodrich, and Goodrich’s property manager.
“You got your stimulus, just asking are you going to pay your rent with any. I am trying to close out my books for April,” the property manager wrote to Goodrich.
Goodrich questioned how the property manager knew he got his check.
“Because I had to check several people today and checked yours also,” they responded before adding, “People were calling me.”
Goodrich further questioned how and where the property manager checked it. They responded that they checked it online through the IRS.
“So you accessed this information on the IRS website? Did you like need to use my ssn for that or something?” Goodrich asked.
The property manager admitted that, yes, they had used multiple tenants’, including Goodrich, social security numbers (SSN) to check the status of their stimulus checks.
“So are you going to be making a payment towards rent ? So I can close the books out for April,” the property manager pressed again.
Goodrich, who is being represented by a lawyer, told the Daily Dot that he is waiting for the property manager to accept an “amicable settlement
arrangement.” Goodrich is demanding his rent be waived for the remainder of the lease, all past due amounts also be waived, a full return of his security deposit, and “excellent renters recommendations.”
If the property manager doesn’t respond to the demands by April 22, then he plans to file a lawsuit against the property manager and landlord.
At least one other tenant has reported that their landlord also admitted to using their SSN to track their check’s status “and asked me to pay April’s rent now that she knows I have it.”
In order to check the status of their stimulus check, individuals have to input their SSN, along with other basic information—information most landlords have due to the applications tenants fill out when they first sign a lease—into IRS’ new tool, Get My Payment. When going to the tool, users are hit with a notice stating that “THIS U.S. GOVERNMENT SYSTEM IS FOR AUTHORIZED USE ONLY!”
“Unauthorized use of this system is prohibited and subject to criminal and civil penalties,” the page reads. Users have to agree to the terms before moving forward to input their information.
As personal finance expert Shahar Ziv notes in Forbes, inputting someone else’s information is illegal. Ziv recommends those who have had their landlord check their status speak with a lawyer and “consider filing a police report.”
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