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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.

Watch these videos for more tips on how to avoid ecomonic impact payment scams:

FTC tips to avoid economic impact payment scams

(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
Scam Tags:  Avoiding Scams

Comments

I have not yet received my check I do receive Social Security but I am not retired I took my Social Security early I am no longer employed I do have direct deposit and I did not file my 2018-19 taxes when and how will I get my check

If my spouse is not here to sign our stimulus check can I sign both sinatures on check

I have tried numerous times to check my payment status for my stimulus payment and it says my information does not match their records even though i filed my taxes april 6th! However for my tax return status it says accepted but nothings changed as far as being approved! To make matters worse im my 7yr olds payee for her ssdi payment she recieves from her father and i have no idea what to do because i have no one to contact to ask about her 500$ payment i should recieve either! What can i do??

"Payment Status
You are eligible for the payment. Once we have your payment date, we will update this page.
We will deposit your payment to the bank account below."

I have been getting this same exact status for two weeks.
There is no info on this @ irs.gov can you tell me why its taking so long? I filed my 2019 tax returns in Feb and they were accepted using direct deposit. The IRS has all my info but still no stimulus deposit.

I was able to update my direct deposit. But, the system keeps saying once we have your payment information we will update this page. How long will that take? It's been a week already.

I'm on disability and checked my get my payment..first stated o info the next time said received determine eligible..today I checked and said info not aval. I still didn't get my check.. my bf used to claim me on taxes but for over a yr now I'm able to pay my own way..are they waiting for his 2019 tax papers to see if he claimed me. Am I getting my check?

As for people living on their SSI and SSDI, the info the IRS gives is super confusing. A, the IRS says you don't need to do anything and not worry about it and just wait for your money to be direct deposited. The problem is they don't specify whether they mean your money will be directly deposited in the same account SS uses (meaning, your Direct Express Card) or if you need to give the IRS BANK direct deposit info. Problem is, the toll the IRS set up doesn't let people who collect SSI or SSDI input their Bank direct deposit info online. So, either they are getting their money via Direct Express, or not, the IRS doesn't say. And when you call the Direct Express automated line, a message clearly states thats they have ZERO information from the IRS regarding the stimulus money.

Its been over a week that i updated my info online and still no uodate all it says is I am eligible for payment and will update this page when I have a payment date. My sister entered her dd info the day after me and has already recieved a check by mail and a day earlier than it was scheduled... Why hasnt my info been updated?

I believed that since I have set up direct deposit of my Social Security each month, that the payment would be automatically made on the date my Social Security amount was deposited. IRS already had my 2019 return filed electronically. The payment did not happen and it is now two days later. What would account for this? Very strange.

My wife and I did our 2018 taxes filing jointly. We owed and had the money taken out of our checking account. Every time we go to get our payment. It says we are unable to determine your eligibility. Why will this come up. And what can we do to get our stimulus payment?

The IRS page says this:
"Payment Status"
You are eligible for the payment. Once we have your payment date, we will update this page.

We will deposit your payment to the bank account below.....
(I check everyday... Glad to see I'm not the only person getting this message)

I filed my taxes this year, after found out didn't have to...they don't have my banking information cause I don't get a refund..Been on Social Security for 4 years, so thats direct deposited..So where is my Stimulus Check...Get My Payment thats worthless, keeps saying Payment Status not available..So now what

I owed money for 2019 taxes so I understand they can't deposit money into the account I paid from, however I entered the correct account information at the Get My Payment site on April 15 and ever since then have been getting the same notice as so many others: "You are eligible for the payment. Once we have your payment date, we will update this page" but nothing changes and nobody seems to be able to tell us when that payment date might be. Does it mean that all of us in this situation have been moved to the back of the line for direct deposits? I can't even find out a day of the week that they typically make deposits. It's SO frustrating to not know anything while so many others received their checks and can pay their bills. I feel like we slipped thru the cracks somehow.

My account with meta bank is still showing they have not received my stimulas check. The get my check portal shows it was deposited in my account on April 15 but meta bank is still advising they have not recieved the monies from Irs. How do I track this payment.

The get my payment say scheduled to be deposited on 4/22 to meta bank also but when i check my account nothing and net spend is saying the same thing they have not received any money. Referred me to meta bank. Nobody seem to know nothing. But always manages to tell people struggling to be patient.

did you ever receive your deposit?

Did you get your payment and if so how long. Mine says deposited on May 13th but my ace flare card thru meta bank is saying it’s not there

Same here. But with Wells Fargo. Still no deposit even though it shows deposit on April 22. Any update on your payment

Any update on your payment

I use meta also and the irs sure says it was deposited yesterday but nothing is showing. Have you got yours and how long did it take

So I am a disabled veteran and receive 100% payment from the VA. I see I don't have to fill out the non filers information now. I filled that information out on April 13th with my bank information. This was before they said they were going to be sending checks automatically. Will I get my payment faster seeing I filled that information out April 13th. Because they are still not even sure when veterans will get the payment

I tried entering my social security number [as it appears on my tax returns] into the IRS Where is my payment page. An error message appears saying the number is not recognizable. After a few more tries, I am locked out.
Why wont it accept my correct social security number?

I had same issue,4/24..received information not available..then today I filled out information only to be told my ss# didn't match file..it's my SS#....I slowing retype it...2nd attempt same...3rd attempted locked me out 24 hrs...ss# was and is correct....received my refunds ok..direct deposit...from same tax..year....they have on file..and bank information is correct....not sure what they are doing..but obviously ..nothings right..from everyone's concerns on here.

Same for me. I put in my information exactly like it is in my 2918 tax return including my correct social security number and says it is incorrect and does not match what is in their system. I even got a refund from 2018. I am beyond frustrated and will I get it via mail or not at all?

Same for me. I put in my information exactly like it is in my 2918 tax return including my correct social security number and says it is incorrect and does not match what is in their system. I even got a refund from 2018. I am beyond frustrated and will I get it via mail or not at all?

my daughter said my payment was to come on her acct when ththe money came she aeid my money didnt come but hers did i never said she could file for me or put it in her acct what can i do to get my mpney

I am having same issue. All my info is correct First it started giving they didn’t know if I was eligible. Now it’s telling me error cant recognize social.

My husband and I did not file 2019 taxes but did file 2018. We file jointly as he is retired and i continue to work. We are also on Social Security . We do not get refunds we always have to pay the IRS . We are set up with Direct Deposit regarding our Social Security only. How will we receive our stimulus money? No one seems to ask that question nor get an answer. Please help if you can . Thank you, Pamela Marion

I receive SSI and my husband and I filed jointly. I am the only one with a checking account. Haven't received stimulas check or irs check. Can I give my account information to the IRS even though my husband is not on my account.

Child and I qualified for stimulus check but only received mine. Why didn't I get my sons part?

I putt in my d's number and address .a me back saying. My information don't match. Then I get locked out after trying 3 times

How long after I enter my bank info will I get the deposit???? Its been a week already......

did you get your payment yet? My status has been eligible but no payment date set since April 15th

i am not sure how to get ahold of anyone to discuss the fact that i got the approved for payment stats on my get my payment and it says that my money is going to be deposited into an account that i do not recognize. what should i do?

Everyone I know has gotten a direct deposit. When I went to "Get My Payment" it said that I was eligible but they needed my direct deposit info, which they should have from 2018. I have filed for 2019 but I owed, so I did not provide bank info on the 2019 return. I updated my bank info on the tool, and now when I check the status it says:

"You are eligible for the payment. Once we have your payment date, we will update this page.
We will deposit your payment to the bank account below."

It seems like this would be all electronic, and it shouldn't take over a week, which it has. Has anyone else gotten this message?

April 30. Still nothing

I have the same thing. Says April 30th and the account number but I have gotten nothing.

I have been having the same issue. For over a month. No updates. Pn the "FAQ section?, it basically says that, within 2 weeks, you should expect a date.
There is no way to speak to an actual human being, so it's incredibly frustrating. Hoping thete is an update soon (with a deposit date at least)

Will I get a check if I havent filed my taxes in past 2 years? I was going to file both this year together, then my husband has been out of work and our taxes are expensive to file. Now we cant afford to do them. Will we still recieve a paper check?

I went in the Get my payment section today and it ask for bank info and 2018 or 2019 info, I provided 2018 first with bank info and it said it did not match what was in there system, then I provided 2019, same error message. I was looking at both tax returns to provide info. Why?????

If I accidentally marked Savings instead of Checking on the direct deposit info for my stimulus payment, but the account number is for my checking account, will that stop my payment from being deposited?

If I am married, filed jointly, and I entered my spouses SSN, etc. and our joint tax info and direct deposit info on the "Get My Payment" site, do I also need to enter mine?

I am approved for mine and filed through the non filler application I'm trying to enter my bank direct deposit info and its asking for my tax info and its mandatory I enter plus if I owe or recieve a return. What am I supposed to enter? When I enter 0 for the two amounts and yes for recieve a return vs owe it says technical difficulties am I supposed to enter 0000?

My ex husband got the stimulus check they based it on 2018 because we’re joint tax way back then and we divorced last year but I already file a tax return as a single last January. And now, he doesn’t want me to give my stimulus because he told me I am not entitled for it. I called the IRS for that and they told me they cannot do anything about it. So unfair right?

I’m in the same position. Did you try updating your bank account info in ‘Get Your Payment’? Do you two still have a joint account together? I updated my info and it shows that I’m eligible for a payment and it will be deposited to my bank account (for about two weeks now) even though he received the funds for all of us.

This happen to me did you find a way around it legally? There has to be some sort of law broken here.... i just hadnt filed my taxes as a single person yet and he had it direct deposited int his parents account. This is crazy!! 1700 for me and my daughter has to be illegal for not giving it to us...

I receive SS benefits and they have my direct deposit information and it says I do not have to do anything else.
I just checked on online and it says I am eligible for my stimulus check and it asked me for my 2018 tax information and I do not have it and it will not allow me to put in my direct deposit information because of this. Since it will not allow me to put in my direct deposit, they will mail my check. Can't they use the direct deposit from my Social Security? Also when will they direct deposit the checks for people receiving SS benefits? This is confusing. Please advise.

I went to irs put bank inform my status will update when date is deposited how long I want to know

Every time I check for my stimulus check it says "cannot determine your eligibility for payment at this time". WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT MEAN? I have filed my 2018 and 2019 returns and am waiting for my 2019 refund and that also only says they have received but it hasn't been approved yet and it has been 21 days. There is no place to email or call to find out what they are missing that would make me eligible. I am a senior and really need this money as I can't work with this virus going on.

Why is my stimulus payment keep saying it was deposited into an account on April 15 2020?, I don't even own an account

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