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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.

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Traductrice1111
May 28, 2020

In reply to by Cindy M.H.

I am in the same boat. The IRS has my banking information from previous filing 2 years ago, yet they took it upon themselves to mail the check on April 24th, which I have never received. I have contacted the Post Office to see if they can help me locate my check, but I have yet to receive a response. I am in limbo and the bills are just piling up! The IRS need to open a customer service hotline to resolve all these issues! They are giving us the silent treatment in the midst of a huge crisis.
DocK44444
May 26, 2020
I received a postal letter from Money Network Cardholder Services. Stating here is your Economic Impact Card (EIP) card from The Dept of The Treasury. 1789. Enclosed was Visa debit to activate. Strongly suspect this is a Scam!!! Dr. K
Spellbound
May 27, 2020
My boyfriend made 3 different accounts to use the non filers site & has gotten error messages on all 3, I suspect part of the problem is he made 3 accounts, he doesn't think so. Any input?
NancyJ
May 27, 2020
I received a VISA debit card saying it is my IRS payment. Is this a scam?
meagcava
May 27, 2020
I got $73 on my card. How random is that ? I am so confused.
Don't use your…
May 27, 2020
My check got mailed to my old address to which I left on bad terms with the land lords. I tried contacting them after I looked on the irs website to check on my status on when I would recieve my check and it told me that it got mailed out to that old address on may 4 th. After I tried contacting them , they ignored me and haven’t contacted me back after I’ve been trying to contact them for two weeks to give me my mail or to send it back to sender so the irs could deposit it into my bank account where I got my 2019 tax refund. I then got a call from my old neighbor saying they heard that my old land lords took my check and deposited it into their bank account , forged my signature to endorse it over to them , and then ignored me after I asked for my mail . I don’t know how to take the correct first step to report this type of fraud .
FTC Staff
May 28, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

If you think an identity thief got your stimulus payment, 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.

lamorgan7794
May 27, 2020
I recently asked a friend of mine if she filed for her Stimulus money. She told me no, but her ex mentioned it to her. She went on to your site and put in her info to see if a payment was issued. It shows that a payment was issued to her on 4/28. Her ex did a non filer app using her social security number and received her money and spent it. This is fraud what can she do? He is also trying to file for a small business Stimulus fraudulently he needs to be stopped.
FTC Staff
May 28, 2020

In reply to by lamorgan7794

If you think an identity thief got your stimulus payment, 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.

Vgarza74
May 28, 2020
I'm a non filer and had to call irs to get account flagged. Now I have to wait for someone to process.. Why it wasn't my fault someone falsely claimed me
Del2913
May 28, 2020
I haven’t received my check because I had moved so when I go on the site I put all my information as asked but it says I am putting the wrong AGI information in and I know I am not so what do I do?
Twin2020
May 28, 2020
I checked to see if I was getting a check and it says my money was deposited on the 15th it’s may 28th now and Still no deposit what can I do?
Shonta
May 29, 2020
My brother received a check in the amount of $1.85 it states on the check "tax refund" and it's not a stimulus check but it came from irs apparently it looks like the real stimulus check but it's just white and not green and yellowish as the stimulus checks are, and he was able to cash it.. Why did he only get $1.85? Has anyone else gotten such a pity amount?
EllieRain37
May 30, 2020
The stimulus tool says "You've been approved, when we have a deposit date we'll update this page" for us and it's been that way for weeks now...we're also into almost week 12 of 5 of waiting for our tax refund and have heard absolutely nothing about it....
hayat
May 30, 2020
When i check get my payment it said the payment deposited on april 15 and also received a confirmation from the white house, however no payment shown in my account. I didn’t receive my stimulus check. What should I do.
DDR53
May 31, 2020
I have not received my stimulus check and the Where's my Stimulus website says it was deposited into some bank account that I do not recognize, back on April 15. I have never received any letters about my check either. What is going on?? It is now June and I have not received a dime!! Who do I contact??
JohnnyD1975
June 01, 2020
Hello. I filed non filers. I was accepted. I check the get my payment portal and it says I qualify for this refund but additional information required. It asked for my banking info again I have it all updated on form but it still asks for it so I type it in. Then it says needs information again for a AGI amount should be zero I didn't file in few years. And it asks for if I owe or refund and I also put zero And after three tries I just get kicked out for 24 hours. PLEASE HELP I NEED TO PAY MY RENT AND NEED THIS MONEY SO BAD. WHY can't I finish doing the get my payment part??? Thanks. -John
Melissa67
June 02, 2020
How do I report my stimulus check lost? I've looked everywhere.
KP
June 02, 2020
I put my bank info in april 15th and today is june 2nd still not stimulus , but when i check the get my payment tool it tells me i am eligible for the payment, when the payment date is received they will post it etc.. why the long wait ?
treymoore19823
June 04, 2020
I got an eip 1444 letter stating that i been paid. I checked get my payment portal. It says that my check was mailed may 15th. But i haven't gotten anything? I call to get answers. But. It's all automated. What's going on? What do i need to do? How do i find my money?
Currydiane2
June 12, 2020
Will we get a second check from Trump will SSI and Social Security people get a second check and when will we expect you to be on my card
Sapphirus
June 08, 2020
My Stimulus was potentially stolen by someone I take care of (they've schemed before when I was a kid). My grandma has the same name as me, and she's 87 years, she made it seem like she was waiting for a check in the mail, but I'm told Elderly people don't get checks, but direct deposited into their bank accounts and she has two. A check came in April, and now I'm told people like me would've got a check, not her. At that time I didn't think I receive a check but I learned new info that I qualified for one. What do I do?
gumby26
June 08, 2020
We have not received our stimulus check even though it was supposed to have been mailed out on May 22nd. Today; however, we did receive a letter from the Treasury Dept. also dated May 22nd with the title "Your Economic Impact Payment Has Arrived". Does that mean our check is on it's way or has it been stolen ???
A.rezi11
June 10, 2020
It's about 42 days since i set up direct deposit to receive my stimulus payment.i am eligible base on what IRS says.i. filed tax return 2018 and 2019 and i gave the 2018 info.no direct deposit no mail no any correspondence.what now should i do?
Pmas0527
June 10, 2020
My daughter has not received her stimulus check. Her bank told her it as received on in Apr but was returned due to a conflict in her account information. How can we trace what happened to the transaction?
Jademya1
June 19, 2020

In reply to by Pmas0527

Go to my payment happen to me but I'm still waiting on a date n I re did mine may 8
Wav
June 10, 2020
I have not got my stimulus check because someone claimed my depend and now I have to fill out a form but can't find the form to fill out
Don't use your…
June 16, 2020
What can i do if someone fraudulent used my child in 2019? Do my child qualify for stimulus?
FTC Staff
June 16, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

Report the identity theft to the FTC and IRS at www.IdentityTheft.gov. Give details about what happened to your child's information and fill out an FTC Identity Theft Report and IRS Identity Theft Affidavit. The system will explain what else you can do about child identity theft.

Jademya1
June 19, 2020
Updated my direct deposit on may 8 says eligible update when have payment date will be directed in bank account STILL NO DATE
MV
July 02, 2020
What if I suspect that my check was lost or misplaced or stolen in transit? I'm having my mail forwarded for the summer. On May 26, I received an e-mail via U.S.P.S. Informed Delivery with a scan of the envelope from the U.S. Dept of Treasury. Though extremely delayed, other pieces of mail from that batch have finally been forwarded. However, it has been over a month and I still have not received that specific piece of mail .I'm beginning to suspect internal mail fraud issues at the Post Office.
Valentin Valladares
July 07, 2020
I got a letter I think from goverment but they took my Emily check for child support that I was behind but the garnishing out of my own unemployment so I don't see how was behind and what he took all of it pay of child support but updated garnishing out of my eyeunemployment I don't see why you took it all and
Don't use your…
August 02, 2020
I have been trying to use the nonfillers access . but when I do I have about 7 emails and I only created 2 ..but when I put my address in they say wrong address ..so I called the number and it says a joint filler . that's not accurate ..now what ???
Slow420
November 24, 2020
I did my non filers tax relief form before November,21 that was the dead line the sent me 2 emails saying they got it and are looking over it for the first email and the 2nd email said congratulations your mom non filers tax relief has been approved. It is going on 3 weeks now and haven't heard anything back? Does anyone have any info who I could call directly about where and when my tax relief will get to me or any information? Please and thank you
sadmom
December 28, 2020
my 20 year old used to live with me. not anymore. she put siblings on her income tax and gave me the refund. when they sent the covid check she kept it. how can I tell IRS not to send the second one to her bank account.
Moriah B
January 05, 2021
I have had the same bank for 12 years I received the first stimulus no problem. Today the IRS website was available to check payment for the second and it has my deposit going to a bank account I never changed and is not mine. Someone has hacked info or an employee or someone made an error. I have had no changes to update and mysteriously my stimulus is being deposit today in a different account. How do I report this?
HLM
January 05, 2021
In no particular rush to get the stimulus, as the last one went in just fine. For the last 11 years of filing a joint return, we have never used a different account number. Check my status today to discover the payment was made yesterday to an unknown account number. I have never had this account number that it is showing the money deposited in to. How do i have this handled to have the refund taken back from whomever took it and deposited to my account? I did file the identity theft report on the irs.gov and ftc sites. What can i do next to get my payment
BoyntonCBlake
January 05, 2021
I check "where is my deposit" and it says it was deposited to an account that IS NOT MINE and was NEVER associated with my tax returns! Stim Payment 1 went to the correct account in April 2020 the new payment went to apparently a fraudulent account. HELP PLEASE
BEMINE
January 23, 2021
MY SON HAS NOT GOT ANYTHING FOR WORKING THROUGH THE COVID-19..THE WHOLE 12 MONTHS..WHY HE NOT GOT A STIMULE CHECK.
Trent
February 07, 2021
On behalf of inmates, how can a family check on the status of their stimulus payments, or.. how can the inmate check him/herself?
FTC Staff
February 08, 2021

In reply to by Trent

Go to www.IRS.gov/eip for information about payments and how to check status.

Larry79
June 15, 2021
I got a text from 334 591 5931 saying to give my info to get another stimulus check... And I feel like it's a scam