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There’s a lot to worry about when it comes to the Coronavirus crisis, including the new ways scammers are using the economic impact payments (so-called “stimulus checks”) to trick people. To keep ahead of scammers who are trying to cash in on those payments, read on.

Scammers have no shame, and nothing – not even a global health crisis – is off limits. They’re pitching fake Coronavirus vaccines, unproven cures, and bogus at-home testing kits. So, it’s not surprising that scammers are exploiting confusion about economic impact payments too. But it’s still shameful.

Most people who qualify for a check will automatically get it direct deposited by the IRS within weeks. But as details emerge about how and when payments will arrive, some scammers may start using official-looking fake checks to steal money and confuse people into turning over personal information. Here’s some information to help avoid fake check scams that might be arriving soon.

  • The check’s not in the mail – yet. Reports say that paper checks – for people without direct deposit – will start arriving in May at the earliest. So, if you get an economic impact payment, stimulus, or relief check before then, or you get a check when you’re expecting a direct deposit, it’s a scam.
  • The IRS will not send you an overpayment and make you send the money back in cash, gift cards, or through a money transfer. If you get an official-looking check for more than what you were expecting – say, for $3,000 – the next call you’re likely to get is from a scammer. They’ll tell you to keep your $1,200 payment, and return the rest by sending cash, gift cards, or money transfers. It’s a scam that will leave you owing money to your bank.
  • That’s not the IRS calling, texting, or emailing. Scammers are sending official-looking messages – including postcards with a password to be used online to “access” or “verify” your payment or direct deposit information. The IRS will not contact you to collect your personal information or bank account. It’s a scam.

For trusted information and updates about IRS payments – including eligibility, how to sign up for direct deposit, or where to file a short tax form – always start with Learn how to avoid scams by subscribing to the FTC’s consumer alerts, and report scams to the FTC at

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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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April 08, 2020
Thank You for the voice of reason.
April 08, 2020
Do we know if the IRS will offer any type of verification tool for proceeds they end up having to issue a check for? I know as a consumer, there will be web access to determine the status of their payment, but a verification tool for FI's to use?
April 08, 2020
Thanks for the information
April 08, 2020
Thank you, FTC. Scammers are unconscionable and unrepentant thieves!
April 08, 2020
Thank you for the heads up and I'll keep that in mind
April 08, 2020
Thank you
Jeff p
April 08, 2020
Hi am want you to now that am very helthy and am in broomfield Colorado and i.have not do the fack test and I have the up to date with my full shot and I hope that you dot get the very bad full and I want you to stay healthy and to have a safe and good good day to jeff hanson
Carolyn Dean
April 08, 2020
I am very grateful for receiving this extra money and I thank you all very very very much gratitude helps my attitude love and prayers to our country and I pray that the Coronavirus subsides. Respect life
April 09, 2020
I will be so mad if someone gets my happened to me with the identity theft with the FDIC money in 2009 i will not go through this again. I asked FDIC to help me and others I will never forget what happened to me on that check i have been down and out and no body helped me
April 09, 2020
thank you,for all you do to keep us glad I have FTC, on my side.i look forward for the consumer information.
acmuse Don't u…
April 09, 2020
April 09, 2020
I dont think a day goes by where I dont have at least one robocall, claiming to be from a collections agency, or trying to sell me something. One that happens a lot is some male voice telling me he is from the Police Benefits and want me to donate to them . My policy is to hang up as soon as I hear a recorded voice, or a real voice trying to sound official. Phooey on this!
April 10, 2020
If my spouse passed away March 26, 2020, will I receive his stimulus check.
April 10, 2020
Will your stimulus payment be on the green dot card if you had your tax money deposit on there?
April 14, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

There isn’t anything about the green dot card on the site yet.
April 14, 2020

In reply to by Rfleeger

I was here to ask same question. I have been told that it will but haven’t seen or heard anything 100%. I hope it does. Good luck !!
June 01, 2020

In reply to by Teresa b

I have green dot and irs said I would get my money on May 15 and it’s June 1 and still no stimulus check. Green dot states it’s pending which I find odd. They tell me that they are not able to tell me the exact day of when I will receive my money that’s already released to them weeks ago!
June 03, 2020

In reply to by John

My husband has the same issue his says issued on 4/15 and they keep telling him that they show no indication. Its frustrating because you cant call the irs to talk to anyone. He hasnt even received a letter in the mail. If there was to be another payment he would be screwed out of that also.
April 13, 2020
Getting older doesn't mean you become more trusting, put the hammer on these scammers, they're nothing more than criminals who want to steal from you, any way they can, report them or give them a piece of your mind
Dednas haafon'…
April 13, 2020
I have had scammers do what you said to me, they sent checks for big money and told me to deposit the money, then send them a certain amount and I could keep the rest. It was all a fraud. Thanks for reminding me of them. Edna
April 15, 2020
I am a widow. My husband died Nov 2019. I filed taxes jointly as I was allowed to. I got full couple direct deposit today. I haven't found any help on the IRS site about what to do so I called my senator. Paying the $1200 back at the end of the year is one thing. Paying interest for 8 months is another. What a mess. Help
Brownies boy
April 25, 2020

In reply to by Grams

My condolences on the loss of your husband. Recently becoming a widower myself, I am in the same situation. I plan at this time to wait, as I expect there will be an accounting on next years tax return for these funds, but also will check now and then with IRS as the dust settles. Try not to stress over it. But I do recommend just leaving it in the bank where they put it, and not using it, because they may figure it out someday and reach into your account and take it back with no notice. Be very careful as this may lead to scammers contacting you posing as IRS and asking for you to send the money to them. Be well. H
April 16, 2020
I have a green dot acct. IRS shows that my deposit was made to that acct, automated green dot says they have no further, but acct is correct. Anyone, any ideas on long it takes green dot to deposit. Green dot and the IRS continue to bounce me back and forth. Each ask for me to contact the other. Please any info will be better than what is being offered by either of them
April 16, 2020

In reply to by Ebousono

Yes when I log into the It tells me that they have not processed my taxs for this year yet but i have and have recieved a return and then say to put in my 2018 info instead i have and they still are saying they have no record I've checked and doubled and tripled checked all is accurate but yet don't direct me on what to do i don't understand any of this stimulus payment process I assumed my money would be deposited where my return was but I've not recieved anything did anyone have this same issue
Kisha davis
April 17, 2020

In reply to by Ebousono

Same thing is happening to me. Saying it was deposited on the 15th but haven't received anything on my Green Dot card but all my info is correct. Have u heard anything?
April 20, 2020

In reply to by Ebousono

This is exactly what happened to me greendot also sent me someone else’s account info by mistake my funds were recieved by greendot on the 15 th and I haven’t seen them still
May 08, 2020

In reply to by Ebousono

did you ever recieve your check on card? if so how long did it take. I am in the same situation.
April 17, 2020
With the scams that are going on, how can recipient verify the check? Also, will the dependent ($500) and single (up to $1,200) or married (up to $2,400); will the dependent and the tax payers check be combined into one? Hope i phrased that correctly. Hopefully there will not be any direct deposit scams? Are data being leaked from the Social Security Administration or from vendors handling of data?
April 17, 2020
I have already filed 2019 taxes and received them in Feb 2020. I did not have direct deposit, but had it put on a debit card. When checking Wheres my payment, it shows I received it on April 15th on an acct number that ends in my husbands last 4 social. So will we receive a check and when will the estimated time we will receive it be? Or will it be put on the same debit card we used for out income tax? Thank you!
April 17, 2020
I need to know if im gonna get the stimulus check on my green dot card the same one i put in the system and got my taxes on
April 21, 2020
Just got one of them bogus checks in the mail. Not even signed by President Trump. I am due for DD soon so I recognized it for what is was.
Brownies boy
April 25, 2020
Hello FTC. I know now of two people, including myself, who recently became widows or widowers that received an additional check for our late spouse. I imagine there are many many thousands of us. Some of us are not savvy seniors (aka scam ripe). I find no info on this situation. Please put some official guidance info out asap for us so we know what to expect and from who and maybe when. Thank you
May 19, 2020
Okay,,so my stimulus check was automatically sent to my Green Dot automatically but it says it was sent April 14th. I never had direct deposit set up on this card, I barely use this card.. it's negative $19.00 right now also. How do I go about getting green dots bank to approve the transaction or decline it so I can just receive a paper check instead it put on my Green Dot card?
May 25, 2020

In reply to by Scottyj423

I'm in the same green dot says my card was canceled due to not using but still showed a balance but when I tried to change my contact info after I already gave to the irs then was told was closed and they would reject the deposit and I would get a paper check well in still waiting.
June 25, 2020
Greendot bank took all my money after i verified who i was I want my money back