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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

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

"I think the IRS is only going to pay certain people and the rest are just forgotten about." I thought this from the very beginning. A sop to be sent out to random people so others would think it is serious, but people on Social Security who pay no taxes were never intended to receive anything at all. This was a scam from the beginning

I filed on the non filer site and when I checked it kept telling me it was accepted and I didn't need to do anything else. But I went to the get my payment and it told me no information found on me. But I checked it daily and it finally told me I qualified. But since I don't have a checking it will be mailed to me I hope. I don't know if they will direct deposit to my direct express card or not. I receive VA survivers benefits. I hope this helps.

How long did it take to get an update?

do you have any idea when they will fix the program to allow those that neither pay taxes or receive a refund? I am assuming this should be an easy fix but maybe you guys are not addressing the problem. Very frustrating.

The IRS.gov/coronavirus site has been updated -- it says nothing about 2018 tax return filers:
"The Get My Payment application will return "Payment Status Not Available" for several reasons, including:
You are required to file a tax return, but:
We haven't finished processing your 2019 return
The application doesn't yet have your data; we’re working on adding more data to allow more people to use it."

I went to get my payment I receive ssid benefits on there it said that I would not get stimulus check why

Got the same status. Says I'm not eligible but I am! :(

Same thing here the first day it was available I entered my bank account information AGI etc. For the first couple days I was able to see that it said I was eligible for a payment it would be deposited to a certain bank account they would update with more information on the payment was Available. Now when I try to check on the status it’s giving me the error message that I have entered information incorrectly...Come on guys people need this money

Hello my partner and I have been waiting for our check, I can't pay any bills. Please help us. I literally am so worried.

I have tried a number of times. I file both 18 and 19 taxes. I payed both years monies owed. I have filed jointly with my wife who passed away July of 2019 so I don’t know if this has effected my stimulus payment

Thanks for the information you send to us It’s very valuable

My stimulus went to an account my tax preparer set up for me when I filed in January! It was deposited on the 15th, rejected because it was a "temporary" account that was supposed to be closed according to Metabank, and now the IRS is trying to send it back to that account AGAIN! Metabank states there is nothing they can do! If you put in the account routing and account number, it states the date and amount of the deposit from the stimulus on the 15th but that account is supposed to be closed! "Get my payment" won't let me request a paper check! It just keeps stating it's resending the payment again to Metabank! What do I do now?

Please check the IRS questions and answers at irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center. There are questions and answers about getting your check.

I also had my stimulus money deposited into my accounts bank account. They sent a check from their account and charged me a fee. Is it right for them to charge me?

The IRS FAQ site says if you owed 0 and refund was 0, put 0 for that answer. But it doesn't actually work, you get msg that says it doesn't match their records.

When I enter my information, the IRS website tells me I am eligible for a payment. Then it takes me to the next page which I complete. Then it tells me that information is wrong when all of it is correct. Is there a computer glitch with the IRS’s website? I can’t correct this problem when I am 100% positive the information I am entering is correct and all of the info mirrors my most recent 2018 tax return. Could you please advise? This issue seems to be ongoing with many filers and is not addressed in the link you are providing. Thank you!

I'm in the same boat this the second time the check went to this account my tax preparer acting like its nothing they can do im just frustrated I got bills to pay and a baby to get ready for

It happens to me too.. they don’t let you update new bank account.. but trust me. Eventually the status will change to . Your Check will be mail out whatever date it tell you. Mine was may 1. So please be patient. I was in the same boat as you

Did you receive your Check yet ? I also have a mail date of may 1st . ive herd of people receiving them early I'm In Pennsylvania so I guess Its different for everyone!

I've been on the irs website and tried to use the get My money it doesn't work for social security recipients that doesn't file income tax. I can not find any information about my stimulus and I also tried the update deposit information can not

Please check the IRS questions and answers at irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center.

That page says you aren't required to file a tax return and will automatically receive a $1,200 Payment if you received Social Security retirement, SSDI, or survivors benefits. You do not need to contact the IRS or Social Security Administration (SSA). The IRS will use the information from your 2019 benefits to generate a Payment to you if you did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. You will receive your Payment as a direct deposit or by mail, just as you would normally receive your federal benefits.

But what if you did file 2018 taxes married filing jointly

I gave the wrong acct. Number (one number off) by mistake on my mom filers form that I provided for my stimulus check now they are sending it to the wrong account number. On Wednesday. They won't allow me to change or update the information. Now what

If I may add one thing. If you owe child support, you won't get a check. Read the IRS FAQ's Thanks

WHAT if the taxpayer filed married filing jointly for tax year 2018 and 2019 but the taxpayer died 2019 do I still get the whole benefit of the 2400 and I owe on a student loan am i ask the surviving spouse still eligible for 2400 because we filed married filing jointly with one dependent and I also filed the taxpayers taxes for 2019 because he was deceased I became a beneficiary with one dependent

Please check the IRS questions and answers at irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center and other IRS information.

I receive ssa survivors benefits but filed non filers because I have a child dependent. On April 24 Fri. My get payment status showed I was eligible and would be deposited in my bank acct I gave them. It did show the last 4 digits of act.
Now today I check status and it says I will get my deposit on April 29th but now is showing a different bank acct. Number that I don't know...!! I need help

Why is there not a straight answer to when the people who receive direct deposit Social Security Disability ? We hope it is soon because we need to pay rent and electric bill and we need to buy groceries and other things. My landlord asks me when I am going to be able to pay them and I keep telling them that I have no idea. I say all I can say is that I hope soon but I can't seem to get a date or at least an estimated date.

I'm with you. Everything I have read says we're to get the direct deposit this week or next. That's the only answer so far that I've come by. Its like we don't count or aren't important. Sad!!!

Replying to V.L.E : I'm in the same situation that you're in. I receive Social Security Disability by Direct Deposit and am not required to file taxes because I don't draw enough to file. I'm wondering: how in the world is the IRS going to Direct Deposit my Stimulus check w/o my bank info! OR are they going to send me a paper check?? If they send a paper check, do they have the correct address? These are my concerns.... There is NO information for a STRAIGHT answer concerning this on their website! So I just keep looking and reading.. very aggravating!

On April 20, the Social Security Administration said if you get Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability benefits, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you don't need to take any action with the IRS.

Social Security said "You will automatically get your $1,200 economic impact payment directly from the IRS. You should receive the automatic payments by direct deposit, Direct Express debit card, or by paper check, just as you would normally receive your Social Security benefits."

Then why have I not got a check then..I have been reitired for years and I get direct deposit...but I also filed a 2019 tax return when I did not have to this year so get my payment says what did I get for a refund or do I owe...I don't either one of them so now what..they don't let you submit..please help...thank you

SSI recipients are slated to get direct deposit of stimulus tomorrow, April 29... Please check! You shouldn't have to do the irs.gov thing to receive it.

I just went on "get my payment" and it has the wrong account number for my direct express card

Same here what does that mean?

It says in the IRS website and every news article I've seen that if you receive SS/SSD benefits you will receive your EIP the same way you receive your monthly benefits. They will get the info from SS of how they make your direct deposit.

You will get your check the same way you get your monthly SS check. Do they send you a paper check? Do you have it delivered into direct deposit? The IRS has all that information from Social Security. They work hand in hand. If it's by paper check, it will take longer.

Exactly! I am ALSO on SSDI, AND I have direct deposit. 10 days a Treasury official answered this question on Fox News, and claimed "In five days." HA! Now we're vaguely told "Toward the end of April." WHY can't they answer this question??? They sure were able to tell the taxpayers when the direct deposits would be!!!

some one filed a fraudulent 2019 tax return in my name, I notified the IRS before the pandemic. I checked on my stimulus payment and looks like its going to be deposited in a bank account of the thief. Ive tried to call all the numbers I could find for the IRS but no luck...dont know what to do

Report the identity theft and fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit at www.IdentityTheft.gov. The Affidavit will go to the IRS.

The website will help you create a recovery plan. It has sample letters you can send to businesses and credit reporting agencies to fix problems.

Then, do more to protect yourself:

I HAD TO SEND BANK INFORMATION EVENTHOUGH IN LAST PAGE OF 1040 FORM 2019 WAS . WHY THEY ASK AGAIN IT? IS IT BECAUSE WE HAD TO PAY TAXES ? NOW THE STATUS IS YOU ARE ELEGIBLE, WE WILL DEPOSIT IN YOUR ACOUNT...... WILL UPDATE WHEN WE CAN MAKE THE DEPOSIT .. WHATT???

Alex, did you ever find out what to do in this situation? Someone has filed a 2019 using my husband ssn as well and we haven’t gotten stimulus payment either. So frustrating. How did you end up reporting this? I hope we get the stimulus payments as well.

I filled out info for non flier. I'm 24, single & income less than $5,000, no claimed as a dependent. Received email stating my return was accepted, but when I check for my payment, keeps saying payment status not available. It's been about 1.5 weeks since I filed. How can I find out my status?

I'm also wondering this abor non filers status I just want to know if I am getting it for sure . It says the have accepted my non filers payment info return .. have u got a answer yet I'm jusyondering also

Filled out the non filer form and got an email it was accepted but when I check the status it says payment status not available. Whats going on? How do I find out my status

I am in the same exact boat as you are ! No idea when I will get mine. Although I did add direct deposit info. I am hoping they send money there soon and I dont have to wait for a check in the mail weeks later.

did you figure this out???!?!?!

I’m going through the exact same thing I’m 24 years old and filed the non filers and all I got was that my return was accepted but when I check my status it keeps saying status unavailable and I need to pay my rent by the first of the month. When will the non filers get their checks that DON’T receive SSI or Veteran benefits ?

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