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You’ve probably heard the news by now – the government is sending out relief checks as part of the federal response to the Coronavirus. Scammers heard the same thing, and they’re hoping to cash in on yours.

The details of how this will all work are still coming together, but we do know a few things about how this will – and will not – work. For now, here are some things to know.

  1. You don’t need to do anything. As long as you filed taxes for 2018 and/or 2019, the federal government likely has the information it needs to send you your money. Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who are otherwise not required to file a tax return also do not need to do anything to receive their money. If you otherwise have not filed taxes recently, you may need to submit a simple tax return to get your check. (More on who’s eligible here.)
  2. Do not give anyone your personal information to “sign-up” for your relief check. There is nothing to sign up for. Anyone calling to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security number, PayPal account, or bank information is a scammer, plain and simple. Also be on the lookout for email phishing scams, where scammers pretend to be from the government and ask for your information as part of the “sign-up” process for the checks.
  3. To set up direct deposit of your check, communicate only with the IRS at irs.gov/coronavirus. And you only need to do this if you didn’t give the IRS your bank information on your 2018 or 2019 return. In the coming weeks, the IRS will be setting up an online form available through irs.gov/coronavirus. But nowhere else, and never in response to an email, text, or call.
  4. No one has early access to this money. Anyone that claims to is a scammer. The timeline for this process is not exact, but it looks like funds will start going out in the next few weeks. Scammers are using the lack of detail to try to trick people into giving their personal information and money.

To get official updates and more information, visit the IRS’s page on economic impact payments. And if you come across a scammer trying to take your check, we want to hear about it. Report it at ftc.gov/complaint

Updated 4/2/20 with new information on filing taxes

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199 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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Brian
April 01, 2020
If you don't provide direct deposit to the irs or do not have a bank account, will you receive a check and if so, when would it be expected?
Jose
April 04, 2020
Estupenda informacion,gracias
como puedo inf…
May 06, 2020

In reply to by Jose

como puedo informarles mi #de cuenta del banco para recibir los $1200.
Omy Rosario Jaime
February 12, 2021

In reply to by victor payero

No e recibido los 1,200 ni los 600
danydiana14
January 24, 2021

In reply to by como puedo inf…

Quiero saber porque no ue recobido el dimero del estimulus todavia.Lo mecesito urgentemente.
Regino
October 25, 2021

In reply to by como puedo inf…

deseo que si me pueden dar una alluda para mi yo tengo 6 mesas que no travago 1299 E julian st san jose ca 95116 estoy. Lastimado de una rodilla y el desenplwo. No me alcansa y devo en oportun y me tienen estresado ya no allo que aser con esto por favor les pago a ustedes luego 1562 5031161. Tengo 3 anos viviendo aqui.
Harley1910
April 03, 2020

In reply to by Brian

What can I do if I changed bank accounts from my last taxes filed if I want direct deposit.
NikiaDashiell
April 07, 2020

In reply to by Harley1910

What can I do if I changed bank accounts from my last taxes filed if I want direct deposit. I need to know this, because mine has changed.
FTC Staff
April 07, 2020

In reply to by NikiaDashiell

The IRS website ( irs.gov/coronavirus ) says Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal so people can give their banking information to the IRS online.

Amanda
April 10, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

Can I change my bank account since I file in 2018 but my bank account have been change? Can I change when the web bases portal is up?
phatjeebus
April 10, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

They ended up just using free fillable forms so the process is to file a tax return. Don't think that's going to work for those who've changed banks after filing.
Pms888
April 01, 2020
I am on social security retirement. Will they be able to get my information from social security or do I have to fill out the form? Also my husband is a 100% disabled veteran and also gets disability checks from them and also social security retirement checks, can they get his info from them?
Gerardo
April 07, 2020
Gracias por la informacion es de gran ayuda para todos por que estando informados no abra estafas a personas inocentes.
Don't use your…
April 01, 2020
What about those who CANT OR ARE NOT ELIGIBLE TO FILE A TAX RETURN, BUT ARE AFFECTED BY THE CORONAVIRUS SITUATIO, ARE THEY NOT ELIGIBLE TONRECIEVE MONEY? FILING A TAX RETURN CAN NOT BE THE ONLY WAY TO RECIEVE THESE FUNDS. FOR THOSE WHO ARE RECIEVING GOVERNMENT FUNDING LIKE AFDC, WELFARE MORE THAN LIKELY CANT FILE TAXES AND SHOULD BE ALBE TO HAVE THEIR NAMES COUNTED FOR FUNDS THRU THATS VENUE!!!
No use su dire…
April 08, 2020
Ayúdame
8053145236
September 11, 2020

In reply to by No use su dire…

Necesito que me ayude con el cheque preometio gobierno
Yesenia
September 29, 2021

In reply to by No use su dire…

Como puedo calificar para la ayuda del gobierno
Yayitas
April 09, 2020
Como puedo recibir el cheque pues salí positiva a Covid 19 pero no he podido llenar mis planillas desde el 2018 que me mudé y llame al irs para cambiar mi dirección y este año aún no me la han cambiado y no puedo recibir mi pin de robo de identidad.. y el sitio wed me pide que meta una tarjeta de crédito lo hago y no me la acepta y paso días llamando al irs y nada por favor ayúdenme ya que perdí mi trabajo por salir positiva y ni el desempleo me han dado
Subura Forrester
April 01, 2020
appreciate the updates you provide
Isequiel gonzalez
February 06, 2021

In reply to by Dgon452

Necesito saber si clacifico para alguna ayuda del govierno
HUGH GAUTIER
April 01, 2020
Here's the rub with that, If you don't owe any taxes, or are in the poverty area, you aren't going to get any check either, and WE ARE the ones most needing the help. Everything is going up but we are stuck on a fixed income al-be-it on a Social Security check that is just over $1000 a month, THAT IS BELOW THE POVERTY LIMITS. I get $1032 a month to pay for all of my bills and be able to feed myself. Welfare is out of the question, they want you to be able to work. Thanks to lung surgery, and the removal of the uppermost rib along with a carcinoma [Cancer malignant] of the left tonsil, I can't work. Let's fast forward slightly, I'm to undergo a non-elective throat surgery to remove the rest of that tonsil and associated tissue. I fall under medically needy, but no one takes that so I'm left between a rock and a hard place. Florida has the most convoluted system for getting help from anything I've seen. It's a mess and no one knows what to do either, no one wants to help they just push it over to another person who pushes it back to the person who sent you in their direction in the first place. It just might take the FEDERAL GOVT STEPPING IN TO GET FLORIDA TO OWN UP TO IT'S MESS UP.
Luciano
April 10, 2020
Gacias por Prebenirnos
FTC Staff
April 02, 2020

In reply to by HUGH GAUTIER

The IRS says that people who get Social Security and railroad retirees who are otherwise not required to file a tax return are eligible for a payment. They will not be required to file a tax return. Read more at the IRS website about economic impact payments.

rene
April 20, 2020

In reply to by HUGH GAUTIER

Like you I love on a fixed income and assumed I would not qualify. You're right. The price of everything is going up and there is no longer the hustle and gigs I scrapped by with (process serving, mock juries, yard sales, etc). I did look into this to help my family and friends. Some of them are now unemployed and unsure too. Well I figured something out as I dug into it. The money we are receiving is our money on the first place. While we pay taxes out the wazoo the rich have been afforded breaks and subsidies. But as much as that matters to us it doesn't really count here because the idea is to keep money in the system. Bernie saunders is behind the plan and he knows if we all get a bit of cash we will put it back into the economy. We will pay bills, blow money after being socially isolated and deprived for 6 weeks of more. With that money circulating we are less likely to hit the skids. I plan to have some work done on my car, pay for my registration and buy a new used iPad because apple sabotaged the older model. I want my money no matter where it comes from to go to small business, the individuals like me who do what they need to to get and to local gov like the DMV. CA has a great gov and they will need revenue to keep going too. Sorry about your struggles. God speed.
Will
April 01, 2020
Question Do Disabled Veteran's Receiving Compensation & Pensions Recieve A Stimulus Check. Most Payments Are Not All That Much Unless 100% Awarded. If Not Between $124. To $1,146. So Many Try & Earn A Lil Extra But With The Covid-19. None Can Do That So We Struggle Like All American's.
Lucy
April 10, 2020
El dinero que recibí de mis taxes no fué por medio de depósito directo, me lo enviaron por correo pues asi lo quise, no hay problema o tengo que dar mi numero de cuenta de banco?
Wowmomflipped
April 01, 2020
I'm a SSdisabled American w no taxable income and tried to file an Etax return for the covid-19 stimulus check. I'm not required to file taxes each year and the company came back w they were unable to send my form to the IRS since they only accept returns for people w taxable income. I explained my reason for filing and they responded citing they reached out to Internal Revenue and are awaiting a response. This is going to be confusing at all levels for those on SS,SSI, AND SSDI opening those up for the opportunity to be scammed. In my opinion.
pam
April 13, 2020
Me quitaron mis impuestos por una deuda federal, me pueden quitar el cheque de ayuda??
DoDKn't use yo…
April 05, 2020

In reply to by Wowmomflipped

Ive read that we dnt have to file a tax return in order to recieve a payment. Hoping its true cas im already just serving on a prayer and a miracle. So lets all keep our fingers crossed. EVERYBODY PLEASE STAY SAFE
hrhlowry
April 20, 2020

In reply to by Wowmomflipped

I get SSI do I get the coronavirus stems package deal
Josie
April 13, 2020

In reply to by Wowmomflipped

I printed up a paper form and mailed it in. The last time I filed was in 2017. I don't have any income. I'm praying that I get it. Good luck to you
Sue
April 01, 2020
This article doesn't mention people on social security who don't file tax returns due to low income. Are people on social security who aren't required to file excluded from receiving the relief checks? Anyone know the answer?
pam
April 13, 2020
Urgente porfavor estoy desesperada me quitaron mis impuestos por una deuda con student loans ( la cual yo pensé que me habían perdonado hace años) quiero saber si también me van a quitar la ayuda del cheque por el COVID de antemano mil gracias!
Don't use your…
April 02, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

The people who receive SS SSI and SSDI are going to be among the first to get paid because most of these individuals already have direct deposit set up for their government benefits to go into already. They will not have to file anything at all with the IRS because they're income is so low they're not required to file . In short they don't have to do anything at all.
Ronnie Mira
April 14, 2020
my husband and I have a different bank account, I have one and his is different then my, I might receive my check to the old bank account.