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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.

1,042 Comments

Jeff p
April 28, 2020

In reply to by tarynh

Hi te am watting for the money that the government is sposto send out and am thanking that am not going to get one and I have paid my taxes to for a very long time and I think that I shud get one because of the fact that I move to Colorado and I have given my new address to the post office and I am wondering if you have got the check form the guvrenmt yet thank you jeff hanson
chaddafd
April 27, 2020

In reply to by Frustratedwith…

I get the same thing. Is anyone reading this and trying to correct it? It says to use line 22 of 2018 return and that line is blank!!
Kdc74
April 28, 2020

In reply to by chaddafd

Same thing. I E filed my 2018. Both my adjusted gross income and refund are on the IRS page when I log into my account. But I take those exact numbers and plug them in and it says doesn't match our records. And the line they say to get totals don't exist in my taxes on those forms.
here we go again
April 24, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

I am eligible for a payment. When I entered both my AGI and the amount I owed straight off of my taxes for both '18 and 19 I get a " The amount you entered does not match our records" error. I checked every number before I submitted it and now I am locked out for 24 hours. What gives?
sao103
April 24, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

This is happening to me as well. I am looking directly on the tax return. I am not sure what to do. I even went to the IRS website and got the number directly from my transcript.
Stormy1015
April 25, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

I had the same issue today too. I'm thinking maybe the original amount owed on the tax form is no longer correct, due to penalties and fees that may have been assessed/added ... We may need to use the original amount PLUS any penalties and enter that as the owed amount? Otherwise, I am not sure what the problem may be....
M516LTBL
April 30, 2020

In reply to by Stormy1015

Same issue for me. Dbl checked return from 2018 and entered AGI as noted in return. Owed money and used amt from return. Didn't work. So then tried amt owed that included interest and penalties and final amt paid - still not working. What gives? Anyone know how to get around this or what figure we are to use?
Myra8083
April 25, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

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?
emelly
April 25, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

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...
allecco116
April 25, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

I am getting the same error message and have checked and double checked my numbers each time I entered. What is happening ?
VL
April 25, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

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.
Margaret
April 26, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

Same thing happened to me. Could be you have to round to nearest dollar
Gjax2020
April 26, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

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.
Margaret
April 26, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

Same thing happened to me. Could be you have to round to nearest dollar
this is too co…
April 26, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

Did you ever figure this out? I'm having the same issue!
Csmith
April 27, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

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.
abitfrustrated
April 27, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

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...
fedup
April 28, 2020

In reply to by abitfrustrated

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!!
tired of waiting
April 29, 2020

In reply to by fedup

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!
having same issue
April 27, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

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.
robsmith
April 27, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

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.
smcfarland
April 27, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

I am having the same issue, did you find out how to get the numbers to match the IRS when you owed taxes?
concernedspouse
April 27, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

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.
kc
April 27, 2020

In reply to by concernedspouse

I'm getting the same message. I am glad to know I am not alone.
Red
April 28, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

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.
tewest86
April 30, 2020

In reply to by amp

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.
Belisa
April 29, 2020

In reply to by here we go again

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.
vvlkrs24
April 25, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

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
knitpik
April 26, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

I have the same problem, I didn’t owe or get a refund but won’t allow me ripo leave blank...please help
SN in Virginia
April 29, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

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???
Kimberly Macon
April 24, 2020

In reply to by PATreehugger57

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
Jason Dufault
April 24, 2020

In reply to by Kimberly Macon

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.
Patty
April 28, 2020

In reply to by Jason Dufault

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
Kinzasmom37
April 24, 2020

In reply to by Kimberly Macon

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.
jsgirlshannon
April 25, 2020

In reply to by Kimberly Macon

Did you get an answer or a date? Mine has been stuck on the same the first day 4/15/20
Free998us3
April 25, 2020

In reply to by Kimberly Macon

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
JJ
April 24, 2020

In reply to by PATreehugger57

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.
slimfroggy2006
April 25, 2020

In reply to by JJ

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.
Ellenbeemhorse
April 24, 2020

In reply to by PATreehugger57

Same problem. Did you get an answer,?
Bentley
April 24, 2020

In reply to by Ellenbeemhorse

Same problem here with "0" for refund or payment due. I tried searching for answer within IRS website and google search. No answer available.
Former Federal…
April 24, 2020

In reply to by PATreehugger57

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!!
claireB
April 24, 2020

In reply to by PATreehugger57

@PATreehugger57 did you ever get this resolved? I have the exact same problem
Minnesota
April 25, 2020

In reply to by PATreehugger57

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.
Sharon
April 25, 2020

In reply to by PATreehugger57

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. :)
Jenredman
April 26, 2020

In reply to by PATreehugger57

You have to enter the amount as $1.00.