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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


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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.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Kdannferg
April 25, 2020
I filed my 2019 taxes with turbo tax and opted to have my taxes put on the turbo tax visa card, I got my taxes on the card, but when I checked my status for my stimulus check the IRS used my 2018 bank account info which was an account now visa card and that account was closed permanently due to overdrawn and account now said they rejected it and sent it back to IRS but IRS sent it again, why did they use my 2018 bank when I check my 1049 for my 2019 tax it shows the direct deposit account info for the turbo tax card i got my 2019 taxes on?? I can't update the direct deposit info because it showed me 2 times now dates the stimulus check was going to be deposited into the 2018 account wish was closed
Don't use your…
April 25, 2020
how do we get an answer to our questions that are posted here?
Kim
April 25, 2020
Does anyone know how long it takes to recieve the money in my account after the get my payment says that I'm eligible and to keep checking for the date it will be deposited
Mtd1968
April 25, 2020
I’ve been trying to access grt my payment status but it always locked me out. Information enetered does not matched IRS records. That’s when i found out my tax preparer messed up the street address and the city. I sent the change of address form to irs to correct it. Hoping they can process soon.
TFC
April 25, 2020
Am I still eligible for the stimulus if I didn't have income or file taxes in 2018 or 2019?
Confused
April 25, 2020
When I enter my info on track my payment I am eligible for payment but then it says irs needs more info I am a non filers and it’s asking if I owed or received taxes which is neither and there is no other option so now I am locked out for 24 hours my question is will the irs figure this information out on their own and still process my payment ?
DandS
April 25, 2020
We filed jointly our 2018 taxes. My husband receives SS and I do not. We did our taxes through TurboTax. We paid no taxes and received no refund. On our tax form there is no direct deposit info for our bank because we had no taxes to pay nor a refund. We have not received any stimulus check as of 4/25. Will we get checks? Will my husband's go to our bank because of SS? What about me? No address change and no bank change for over 30 years. Do we need to do anything to inform the IRS? What do we do? Any info will be greatly appreciated.
Angry American
April 25, 2020
After putting in 0 and 0, and trying both Yes and No I recieved a refund, it says "The information you have entered does not match our records. Please try again. If you used information from your 2019 tax return, the return may not have been processed yet. Please enter information from your 2018 tax return instead and try again. " then it locks me out for 24 hours! This is frustrating! Is this happening to anyone else? I've seen soo many comments on Youtube saying it worked immediately for them.
Rbev
April 30, 2020

In reply to by Angry American

Yes. this is insane. I filed in 2018. I was due a refund but the IRS kept it because I am on a payment plan for the money. What do I put in? I keep getting locked out. Technically, I did get a refund but they kept it.
Purple1976
April 25, 2020
I filed my 2018 and 2019 tax returns. 2019 tax return is still processing (waiting on a corrected W 2 from employer) Get My Payment : states I am eligible will post a deposit date when available My income is less than 30,000.00 per year all banking info is the same on tax returns.
Purple1976
April 25, 2020
First time reading your page. Found it to be most informative.
orange 1980
April 25, 2020
I filed my 2018 taxes but my husband owed back taxes and refund was kept and applied toward taxes. I filed my 2019 taxes and it is still processing. Bank account is on both years tax returns. As well as I completed the IRS request for banking information the week get my payment was started. My status on get my payment says: I am eligible will post deposit date when available. My yearly income for both years is 20,000.00. I do not understand where my stimulus is.
Thadioso18
April 25, 2020
Received my stimulus check on the 23rd Walmart wont cash it
babycakes
April 25, 2020
I had an issue with my 2019 return. I used my bf account which I was on but the bank returned the money. I have went through the whole identity clarification and was informed my taxes would be sent to me by mail within 6 weeks. That was over 6 weeks ago and still nothing. I went and put my new bank info that’s in my name for the portal on the day it opened and I keep getting the same message everyday that I’m eligible for the stimulus, when they have a date for me, they will deposit the money into my account. That was almost 2 weeks ago when this portal opened. I just want to know if I’m getting it by direct deposit or mail?
CuriousCitizen4562
April 25, 2020
What do you do if the site said it’s not sure if you’re able to get the stimulus check or not?
cgreen
April 25, 2020
Same boat as others but do not see an answer from FTC anywhere on this issue of I filed but I didn't get a refund nor did I owe any money. I also receive Disability benefits so I was curious if I could get an update yet using "Get My Payment". I received a reply of more information is needed for Direct Deposit. Why? I already receive my Disability via Direct Deposit. So I tried entering all my info from both my 2018 and 2019 tax return but because my refund amount was 0 it won't accept it! Now I'm locked out for 24 hrs because I tried too many things to try to get it to work! So is IRS going to send my relief money based on my Disability or do they truly need more info? Please advise in MUCH detail, thank you!
Wdev
April 25, 2020
PLEASE! Somebody, help me with advise! I am cheeking on Get my payment and it always written: The information you have entered does not match our records. Please try again. What should I do? Thanks.
Octavia Mullins
April 29, 2020
I went to my previous address where my stimulus check was mailed and my friend’s mom said it did come along with other mail for me, but someone in her house stole it and I have no way of reporting it stolen or getting a replacement.
FTC Staff
April 29, 2020

In reply to by Octavia Mullins

Report the stolen check and create an IRS affidavit at www.IdentityTheft.gov. Click "Get Started" on the first page. On the next page, click on the green bar that says " someone claimed an economic stimulus payment using my information."

Fill in what you know to create an identity theft report and IRS Identity Theft Affidavit. The system will create a list of steps for what you can do next.

Elise
May 19, 2020

In reply to by Octavia Mullins

Same crazy problem. Check came and was stolen from mailbox. No way to report and get a resend.
Qmoore87
June 12, 2020

In reply to by Octavia Mullins

Call irs number in let them know... They can check to see if it have been cashed
frustrationcity
April 25, 2020
I've got the same problem as it looks like many other people: the no refund no tax owed question. Can't access any info on my payment because I get kicked out. Should I just answer 0?
KandyKaine10
April 25, 2020
My mom receives Social Security, via direct deposit. She received a stimulus check via mail. I don’t get why it wasn’t just direct deposited, since they have her banking info already. All the sources say it would likely be direct deposited. Should she be worried this is a possible fake check? If so, how do you verify a valid check?
Loonet2002
April 25, 2020
My husband and I have not yet received covid stimulus check. When we go to the government website it wants us to add our bank information and our adjusted gross income. Now do we both have to do that separately. And if so will it look to the government that we made double if we both put the same amount? Or do we separately put our individual AGI ? Please help. Thank you
Scott
April 25, 2020
I updated my bank info on the 15 to deposit it onto my serve card and am still waiting for the irs site to say something other than I am eligible for stimulus. Any idea whe it will hit serve card?
Mom
April 25, 2020
My ex and I split up and he claimed and our 2 children last year.. however the kids are with me now.. I dont qualify because he claimed me as an adult and he also kept the stimulus for our 2 kids that are with me. Is there anything that can be done?
Mom
April 25, 2020
My ex and I split up and he claimed and our 2 children last year.. however the kids are with just me now.. I dont qualify because he claimed me as an adult and he also recieved and kept the stimulus for himself and our 2 kids that are with me. Is there anything that can be done?
HUNGRY
April 25, 2020
I filed an "non-filers" PUI and it was accepted- Then was told to file for UI I started my app and system would not let me finish. The next day IRS called and asked me the remainder of the questions. So I have filed a PUI and UI AND no have received nothing- no help no money and I don't know what to do. I REALLY NEED HELP PLEASE HELP ME I HAVE NO MONey NO FOOD AND NEED BLOOD PRESSURE MEDS IRS IS NOT RESPONDING COULD THIS BE A FRAUD CASE? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME
DandS
April 25, 2020
We have not received our stimulus check. We filed 2018 taxes with Turbotax. We did not owe money nor received a refund. Our direct deposit info was not on the Turbo tax form because there was nothing to get or pay. My husband is collecting SS. I am not. We filed jointly. How will this be processed for us? Is there something I can do? We have the same bank and the same address for over 30 years. What are our options? Thank you
Dorothy1
April 25, 2020
We receive social security by direct deposit. I have been concerned about not receiving our stimulus yet, and so went to "get my payment." It used to say "status not available". Now it says "your information does not match our records." Is everything ok?
apebakes
April 25, 2020
Do I have to fill out the get my payment for my husband and I both? I was filling it out and when it asked for adjusted gross I wasn’t sure if I have to enter ours together or if i had separate them.
Christa Webb
April 25, 2020
I just read that direct express can't be used for stimulus money. I'm on SSI and have no bank account. But then I read they will. I'm lost here. I really need this money I'm down to nothing for me and my daughter. And now I'm stressed if I get a check I can't cash it cause I have no account.
Loujohn1
April 25, 2020
I'm trying to add my dependents I'm a disabled vet ,never been more confused or upset
FTC Staff
April 29, 2020

In reply to by Loujohn1

If you get VA benefits and you have qualifying children under age 17, and you didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019, you must fill out a non-filer form before noon on May 5 to get the $500 payment for dependents.

Go to the non-filers form on the IRS website. 

Smelton41
April 25, 2020
Someone has stolen my check out of my mail and tried cashing it...how can I report my check stolen and stop payment immediately...please help
FTC Staff
April 29, 2020

In reply to by Smelton41

Report the stolen check and create an IRS affidavit at www.IdentityTheft.gov. Click "Get Started" on the first page. On the next page, click on the green bar that says " someoneclaimed an economic stimulus payment using my information." 

Fill in what you know to create an identity theft report and IRS Identity Theft Affidavit. The system will create a list of steps for what you can do next.

Bernice Weier
May 07, 2020

In reply to by Smelton41

Hey did you ever figure out how to get your stimulus check replaced and reported. I have the postal informed delivery it says it was delivered on the 4h to my mailbox well it has never arrived. I honestly think the mail carrier put it in someone else's box. They of course blame their system which they say isn't accurate but it has been since I received it months ago. So I am trying to get help reporting this
lawoo
May 13, 2020

In reply to by Smelton41

How did you know they tried to cash it? My check was issued and sent out April 24 and still nothing. I don’t know how to track it or see if it was lost or stolen.
Hodge20
May 15, 2020

In reply to by lawoo

Mine said it was mailed on the 24th of April and still nothing I got the letter saying r was getting the payment that they mail after the check
Dancingbear1
May 18, 2020

In reply to by Hodge20

Me 2 letter said it would be check/debit card letter sent and still have not received anything now it’s the may 16 and nothing any methods of seeing how to see where it was sent or how ? Thanks if you have any feedback
Stefano
April 25, 2020
ok.. I clicked on the "get my payment" button. I entered my info and it says you qualify for getting a check. I went to the next window, it says we need additional information from you. Its asking for my "Gross Adjusted income" and the "amount of tax I owe" I entered the EXACT values perfect right off of the return and it say the information does not matche our records.. I even checked the value from the IRS.GOV site and it matches... I am accurate. If the amout I owe was 3543.21 I would entere 3543 as "whole number" without any comma or period. The information is exactly correct why would it give error message saying the information does not match "our records" ?? I am blocked getting my check becuase of some glitch.. I have the correct info.. what can i do.. is the a hot line>????
Massiel20
April 25, 2020
I received the stimulus payment but I haven’t received the $500 for my daughter who’s 16 years old nor my ex-husband. Both declared taxes. I don’t know how can I contact IRS.
Stefano L
April 25, 2020
FTC ADMIN please help. Please answer this issue. 1. I filed my 18 taxes, entered info in the portal and it says"I am eligable for the payment" 2. It asking for "additional information" my AGI and the amt I "owe" 3. I entered EXACTLY WHOLE NUMBERS right of the return and it gives an error message "does not match our records" What the heck is their "records"? The IRS.GOV website matches the AGI in the online transcripts. Its correct to the penny other than the cents. I am only entering "whole numbers" the .28 cents I am not entering.. Pelase help this is very frustrating.. How can it NOT be right when I am entering the exact correct information off of my return . I am only doing the 18 ruturn as I have not filed yet for 19. PLEASE HELP ME.
lisamer830
April 25, 2020
What if I thought I had to submit a tax form and reported 0 income then did the non filers payment? Does that mess me up getting a stimulus check?
Brianna W
April 25, 2020
I need help with my situation. I didn’t file my taxes last year and I mailed my taxes this year so it hasn’t been reviewed yet. I wasn’t expecting a stimulus payment anytime soon, but when I checked the “get my payment” it said it was deposited to the account of someone that I live with. Why was it deposited into their account and not mine when I didn’t even file my taxes last year and my taxes this year are not yet reviewed?
TJ
April 25, 2020
I have repeated been advised I was eligible for my payment. It wont allow me to enter my bank acct info ...it states " what Im entering for my total inc and owed doesnt match their records. It does as Iv checked my tax return and its the same info I can view on my acct under the irs. Please advise or I'll never get to update my acct info
jojo
April 25, 2020
I was having the same issue but I tried again today about if I owe or received a refund question. I checked the box that I received a refund and input 0 (zero) and hit submit. It took me to Bank Account Information that I have successfully submitted my bank information.
ken sewell
April 25, 2020
I tried to file for the stimulus check and it was rejected. The reason was that someone had used my childs ss number before I filed. how do I file a complaint with the irs. Should I file a complaint with local law enforcement for identity theft. How can I get this resolved
FTC Staff
May 05, 2020

In reply to by ken sewell

Report identity theft at www.IdentityTheft.gov. That's a federal government website where you report to the IRS and FTC at the same time. 

IdentityTheft.gov will ask you questions so it can fill out an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit (IRS Form 14039). The system will submit the Affidavit directly to the IRS. You can include a personal statement to give the IRS details about how your child's identity was misused to claim the economic impact payment.

You can save a copy of your completed Affidavit to your computer. IdentityTheft.gov will create a checklist of steps you can take to help protect your child from further identity theft. This FTC article has more about child identity theft.