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Coronavirus stimulus payment scams: What you need to know

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We know there’s been a flood of information and updates about the government’s economic impact payments, or so-called stimulus checks, lately. But quickly and safely moving massive amounts of money into the hands of those who need it is a big job with a lot of moving parts.

We also know that the more you know about the process, the less likely you’re going to be tripped up by calls, text messages, or emails from scammers trying to steal your money or personal information.

Here’s what you need to know about the stimulus payments and how to avoid scams related to these payments.

Who will get money?

Adult U.S. residents that meet established income limits are eligible to receive money from the government. This includes:

Taxpayers – people who filed a federal tax return for 2018 or 2019.

Retirees – people who get Social Security, Railroad, or other retirement benefits.

Beneficiaries – people who get public benefits like SSDI, disability, or veterans’ benefits.

Non-filers – people who do not have to file a federal tax return, including people who made no income or made less than $12,200 (or $24,400 for married couples).

If you get Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, have a qualifying child, and didn’t file a return in 2018 or 2019, you have to take action by noon ET on Wednesday, April 22 to add the $500 per eligible child to your payment. See details from the IRS.

What to do

Most people don’t have to do anything to get their money because the IRS will use the same payment method – direct deposit, Direct Express debit card, or paper check – used to send you your tax refund, Social Security, retirement, or other government benefits money. If the IRS doesn’t have your direct deposit information, you can go to the “Get My Payment” feature at irs.gov/coronavirus and let them know where to send your direct deposit.

If you don’t usually file a tax return, go to irs.gov/coronavirus to access the “Non-filer” portal and to figure out what, if anything, you have to do to claim your money.

To check on the status of your payment, you can now use the “Get My Payment” feature at irs.gov/coronavirus.

Avoiding Coronavirus stimulus payment scams

Scammers are using these stimulus payments to try to rip people off. They might try to get you to pay a fee to get your stimulus payment. Or they might try to convince you to give them your Social Security number, bank account, or government benefits debit card account number.

4 tips for avoiding a Coronavirus stimulus payment scam

  1. Only use irs.gov/coronavirus to submit information to the IRS – and never in response to a call, text, or email.
  2. The IRS won’t contact you by phone, email, text message, or social media with information about your stimulus payment, or to ask you for your Social Security number, bank account, or government benefits debit card account number. Anyone who does is a scammer phishing for your information.
  3. You don’t have to pay to get your stimulus money.
  4. The IRS won’t tell you to deposit your stimulus check then send them money back because they paid you more than they owed you. That’s a fake check scam.

Report scams to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint.

To keep up with the latest scams, sign up for the FTC's consumer alerts.

(This post is part of the FTC's imposter scam series.)

Updated April 21, 2020 with new deadline for some benefit recipients.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

I'm having the same issue. I did not file 2019 taxes, however I have my information from my 2018 taxes. Has anyone answered your question yet?

I have the same issue.I haven't filed for 2019, so I enter my 2018 information to a T and i keep getting the same message. My information doesn't match....like what in the world...

I am getting the same error message and have checked and double checked my numbers each time I entered.
What is happening ?

We faced the same problem. We tried to put 2018 and 2019 info, but no luck. And it says we are eligible. Tried also with both info mine and my husband's.
We filed taxes and paid what we have owed already.

Same thing happened to me. Could be you have to round to nearest dollar

I agree. I get the exact same error message. I even
double checked the figures by getting an online tax transcript from IRS. The system is so flawed, and of course you can't contact anyone.

Same thing happened to me. Could be you have to round to nearest dollar

Did you ever figure this out? I'm having the same issue!

On getmy payment, when I enter the amount I owe off of my tax return it sends an error message saying this does not match our records.

I am also getting this response, my information entered does not match what they have on file, I have an account with the irs and when I log in my numbers do match what they have on file so what now? I guess just give up because you can't call anyone there. What a joke...

Same issue. Have tried my husbands info and mine. Every time..info does not match ours. Very frustrating. Called my accountant and he said HE is even having issues accessing the site! Bogus!!

I enter my info at the get my payment and it kicks out my social and says the info you have entered does not match our records. I went through H and R Block and did my 2019 taxes and used the emerald card. No one knows how to help me and I have an issue with the mail man. He hates my dog and will not deliver my mail so I had to have my mail forwarded to my mother's house. The problem now is that I will not receive the check through the mail because USPS will not forward a government check. I'm so screwed and I need money too!

I am having the same issue. I plug in the requested info directly from my 2018 taxes and the message says it doesn’t match the records. I am now locked out for 24 hours. I have a tax preparer so the records should match. Very frustrating because I need the direct deposit.

Same problem here. Used the numbers directly from the IRS transcript for my 2018 return, but it tells me that our numbers do not match.

I am having the same issue, did you find out how to get the numbers to match the IRS when you owed taxes?

Same here, when my spouse goes on he enters the requested information and gets a message saying the information he's entered (on multiple tires) does not match the information in the IRS records. We are dumbfounded as to what could be the issue, other than it's a glitch on some kind, which is frustrating because you don't know when it will be fixed and we need these funds coming in.

I'm getting the same message. I am glad to know I am not alone.

I too get the same thing EVER time I put my tax info in it says it does not match our recorded. I am at a stand still now.

Did you find an answer for this?

I have the same issue. It says my data doesn't match their data. I've tried for about 7 days straight. I get locked out every day for 24 hrs. I'm entering exactly whats on my tax return. It even matches what's on my transcript. I have not figured out an answer for this yet.

I am experiencing the same frustration. I am entering the exact AGI from my 2018 tax form and the exact amount owed triple checked the number and gave me message that information I am entering does jotnmatch their records. I am again locked out for the next 24 hours.

So I used the non filers to submit my moms information for a couple of days it kept saying status is not available. Finally it said she was eligible for the payment but I could not get passed the "Enter amount if you owe or received money". I noticed something on one of the messages I got saying if you print your return you might see "1" put in on some of the questions so I decided to select print my return. My mom did not have an adjusted gross income nor did she owe or receive money. So when I was finally able to get back on the input bank information on Adjust Gross Income I out "1" and on received or owed I marked received and I put "0" and I finally successfully got through that part and set up her payment. I hope this helps

I have the same problem, I didn’t owe or get a refund but won’t allow me ripo leave blank...please help

There is never an answer on the website to things that don't make sense!!! General questions... yes, but not things like, your entry does not match our records"! When you copy your information right off your tax return and when you have had the same address for over 30 years, and when you have had the SAME social security number for over 50 years, then chances are you have entered your information correctly!! The FAQ do not take the place of a human being answering your question. Grocery store workers, nurses, doctors and many others are considered essential employees. Can't they put masks on some IRS people to help out all these people stranded without jobs or money???

The site said eligible for stimulus got direct deposit info from my American Express serve card rt and account number says it will be sent to it want give a date been over a week same message no date still what should I do

Same here!

Hi Kimberly, I am experiencing the same exact thing. Says "I'm approved for a payment" and it will deposited in the account I gave them but no date! I entered my bank info the day the tool was launched, it has been 9 days since I provided my bank information (04.24 today) and STILL no date when it will be deposited. There is no where for us to turn, but wait, I guess.

Hi Jason, I noticed they say enter "whole number". If our income was 74230.26, would I enter it 7423026 or round it down to 74230

I'm in the same boat. Entered my banking information the 1st morning it was available to add banking details and immediately said I qualify and the last four of my account # it would be sent to. A week and 2 days later, no change to the status and no pay date. I dont understand and we really need it now. Other people are already receiving their checks in the mail so why is the direct deposit not going through? Or updating at all with a payment date.

Did you get an answer or a date? Mine has been stuck on the same the first day 4/15/20

Did you ever get and answer I got and keep getting the same message since day one I have the serv card but their cards are shut down dont know I didnt get a date yet and it's been 3 weeks

I am having the exact same issue... it only gives those two options, nothing for someone who does not owe or does not get a refund.

Did you figure it out? I’m having the same issue.

i had to do this for my husbands payment. we werent married last year... he owned a business and broke even, not sure if this is your case or not. i ended up putting 0 as his agi and i believe i clicked i received a refund and put 0... but honestly it might of been owed and 0. then i put in bank info and it let it go through. i did try twice before this. one i put in agi of what business made before expenses... 32*** and 0 refund and it rejected it so i tried 32*** agi and 0 as owed and it rejected it. then i did 0 agi and 0 (i believe owed sense that is the last one i clicked on. if it locks you out you have to wait 24 hours before it will let you try again. i hope this helps.

Same problem. Did you get an answer,?

Same problem here with "0" for refund or payment due. I tried searching for answer within IRS website and google search. No answer available.

Same problem! We need a 3rd option!

It worked for me today. Entered refund and 0

I had the same problem and did not owe taxes or received a refund. These were the only areas to check I put 0 in the amount area and had exactly the same thing happen to me as this writer. I also filed taxes in 2018 and this was not checked or my direct deposit information would have shown up!! I am trying to tell everyone that 2018 was not accessed!!

@PATreehugger57 did you ever get this resolved? I have the exact same problem

As of today 4-25 you can now enter a "0" amount for Refund or Amount you Owed line, and then submit it with the "I received a Refund" checked (even though you did not receive a Refund). Hope that helps some going forward for those that did not receive a refund nor have an amount owed.

Thanks , PATreehugger57! Because you cut and paste from the website, when I logged into the site today, I could see it had been amended to include question marks added after the asterisks. I clicked the Amount You Owed circle since that matched the new instructions under the "?". I then filled in the "0" below it, completed routing and bank account info and YES! It worked. So-o-o-o glad to be in line for a direct deposit now instead of a check. :)

You have to enter the amount as $1.00.

As of today 4-25 you can now enter a "0" amount for Refund or Amount you Owed line, and then submit it with the "I received a Refund" checked (even though you did not receive a Refund). Hope that helps some going forward for those that did not receive a refund nor have an amount owed.

We were also having this problem. I selected "We Owe Money" and entered 0 in the amount owed line and it finally went through. Give that a try!

I had the same problem and it appears to be fixed on the "Get My Payment" page as of 4/28/2020. You can now choose either received a refund or owed money , then enter "0" for the amount refunded or owed.

Hi Clar where is it on the site that I can change any of that information?

Trying to enter info for my parents who had no refund and didn't owe but did have an AGI.I am still being rejected when I enter 0. I have checked and double-checked and all of the information is correct(from 2018). They have not yet filed 2019.

Thank you for all the information you send to keep us all informed as to what is going on in every category and the help you provide. Take care and stay healthy!

I am a non filer and put my information on the non filers application on the irs.gov website. The irs says that they update it everyday but I look everyday and all it says is payment status not available. I know they are doing their best because we have never experienced a crisis like this before but I know family members and other people that have gotten their checks and they make A lot of money so I’m just wondering why some people who on their tax returns make 150,000 thousand would get a stimulus check before someone like me who is a non filer with barely any income and out of work with two kids to feed and still can’t get unemployment because you can’t get through the line or website? Is it because the irs only cares about the tax payers who make big money. Because all my friends that have little or no money and did the non filers have not received theirs. It’s really frustrating and wrong. Then they say not to call them. So how am I supposed to take care of my kids. I think the irs is only going to pay certain people and the rest are just forgot about

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