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Are you a United States citizen living abroad? For millions of expatriates, help from home is on the way in the form of COVID-19 economic impact payments. Unfortunately, scammers also are on the way, and they’re eager to pluck the payment from your pocket.

Depending on your income, U.S. expatriates can get up to $1,200 each, or up to $2,400 for couples, plus $500 for each qualifying child, just as you would if living stateside. And, most people don’t need to do anything to get their payments. The IRS will deposit your payment directly to your U.S. bank account (the IRS can’t direct deposit money to a foreign account), or mail your payment using information from your 2018 or 2019 tax return or from your Social Security retirement or other federal benefits program.

If you haven’t filed a federal tax return for 2018 or 2019 and don’t get any federal benefits, you may have to give the IRS sensitive information, including your Social Security number and bank account number (if you have one), to get your payment.

Scammers will try to take advantage of this to try to steal your money, your personal information, or both. So, to help avoid scammers, use only irs.gov/coronavirus and the tools there to submit sensitive information to the IRS. Use the IRS’s guide to figure out which IRS tool to use. And, visit the IRS’s Economic Impact Payment Center for answers to common questions. Consider talking with a tax professional if your tax filing situation is complex.

With economic impact money flowing in, and many people confused about the distribution process, this is a time to stay on high alert for scammers. Here are some things that ONLY scammers will do:

  • Call, email, or text you to ask for, or “verify,” your personal or financial information. The IRS won’t contact you by phone, email, text, or social media about your payment.
  • Ask you to pay a transfer or other fee to get your stimulus money. There are no fees.
  • Send you a very real-looking check for more than you’re expecting, then tell you to deposit it, take your proper payment, and return the “overpayment” by sending cash, gift cards, or money transfers. A bank may be fooled and cash the check, but when it turns out to be fraudulent – which it will – you will owe the bank any money that you withdrew.

Learn more about avoiding economic impact payment scams here. And, if you spot a scam, please tell us about it at ftc.gov/complaint.

392 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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  • 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.

DonnaMarie1212
April 24, 2020
Hi how will I know if I am being scammed? I just received a fraud alert from my bank saying a certain company that I never heard of tried to take $ out . Then I got another alert asking if I changed my password on my digital Bank account ? Could you please help me. Do u know when the people on SSI that didn't file taxes will be getting their Stimulus Check? Thank you
FTC Staff
April 24, 2020

In reply to by DonnaMarie1212

When you get alerts about your bank account, contact the bank, but look up the number or email yourself. Don't click "reply" or answer the email alert you got, in case it's from a scammer trying to get your information. 

You can check the status of your payment on the IRS website at   irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.

sgs81
April 24, 2020

In reply to by DonnaMarie1212

Contact your bank immediately to let them know you received the alert and they will let you know what you need to do. Do NOT send personal information by email or text.
Sensurfer
April 24, 2020
I tried to enter my direct deposit information and I keep getting payment status not available message. I e-filed over a month ago. Is this something to do with having a foreign address? I hear a lot of people overseas cannot enter their direct deposit information.
Foreign gial
May 07, 2020

In reply to by Sensurfer

I live in Bze. I receive SS retirement benefits in my direct deposit acct. in Bze. I am a U.S. citizen. Do I qualify?
Eva Kastrounis
June 05, 2020

In reply to by Foreign gial

I am a senior leaving abroad. As of today I have not received my stimulus check. What steps do I have to take so the funds are sent to me?
JR
April 25, 2020
For some reason, I cannot get a transcript or check my payment status on IRS.GOV. Is this because we are foreign residents? Does the IRS allow access to online information via their website? Nothing seems to work ....
ACOONEY
August 09, 2021

In reply to by JR

I LIVE ABROAD AND REIEVED THE FIRST AND SECOND STIMULUS CHECK AND MY BANK CASHED THEM. WITH THE THIRD CHECK, THEY STOPPED CASHING FOREIGN CHECKS. I VOIDED THE CHECK AND SENT IT BACK TO IRS WITH MY BANKING DETAILS, WHICH I GET SSD MONTHLY AND HAVE NOT HEARD ANYTHING IN 3 MONTHS.
Snookums1869
April 25, 2020
Tool says it will be deposited in my acct however no date how do I get the date that is what the tool is suppose to have been originally launched for! I have 0 income and the irs schedule said taxpayers under 10,000 were al to be deposited 4/24/2020 - yet nothing , how can i get my deposit date please and ty
PhDinUK
April 25, 2020
Thank you for this information, but will our check get mailed to a foreign address? I am a PhD student in the UK. I filed tax returns with no bank information and using my UK address. I have tried the Get My Payment tool with my tax return in front of me. I am entering everything exactly as it is on the return, but I keep getting told the information is not correct. So I am unable to enter my bank details. I'm baffled as to why my info is incorrect when I'm copying it letter for letter, space for space, etc from my return. There's no where to go for help with this issue. Thank you very much!
robin
April 27, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

I am in the same boat as these people. I live abroad, filed my taxes almost 2 months ago and am unable to access the "get my payment" page. It keeps giving me an error message telling me to try again later and that the information I put in does not match their records - even though the information I put in matched exactly what is on my return. The 'frequently asked questions' do not help.
Heath
May 07, 2020

In reply to by robin

Robin, I had the same exact problem, I live in Indonesia. But just an hour ago, I checked the IRS site, and finally it shows that they mailed my check on April 24. Maybe try again and see if there's any update for you. If not, maybe your check was mailed already as well, but the system didn't update. Praying for you that you receive something soon.
Peaches
May 12, 2020

In reply to by Heath

Yes Health, I received the same message. I'm in Australia. But have you received the actual check yet?
Flower
May 20, 2020

In reply to by Heath

Is the IRS mailing your check to Indonesia?? or to an address in the US
B Taylor
May 12, 2020

In reply to by robin

I live overseas and having problem accessing the website giving me error messages until i saw here that they were able to get through by typing their address all in CAPITAL LETTERS and it works. It says our check. was mailed to our last address. Hope you guys will be able to access by doing this.
mbawkher
May 25, 2020

In reply to by robin

I'm in the same situation as you, some help here would be appreciated!!
PhDinUK
April 27, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

Thank you, but I already tried the FAQs. They didn't help. The only suggestion I thought might help was trying different forms of my address like Ct instead of Court, but that just got me locked out every day for about a week before I gave up and wrote you. Is there anywhere else to go? I'm a PhD student, so I know how to research, but I can find no help at all online. Thank you.
Gus
May 18, 2020

In reply to by PhDinUK

After weeks of trying to use the Get My Payment page from out of the country, I finally got it to work today by not entering a zip code at all, and just leaving it blank. So I suggest you try that.
SamInFrance
April 29, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

I have the exact same problem as PhDInUK and some others except that I am filling from France. I got the same error message. It looks like the tool does support foreign addresses. I appreciate you fix this issue. Many Thanks!
PhDinUK
April 30, 2020

In reply to by SamInFrance

I think a lot of us (sounds like no one with a foreign address can log in. No one I know here in the UK can login...) would be fine if it were confirmed whether or not the check would be mailed to our foreign addresses. I've found conflicting information on that. Also, when that might happen would be helpful - will it be on the same schedule as everyone in the US, or will it be after everyone in the US gets their check? Thank you very much for your help with this.
American in Madrid
May 01, 2020

In reply to by SamInFrance

I have the same issue. I have used various iterations of my foreign address as indicated on my FY 2018 return. I always get an error that it doesn’t match their information. I do not have a US bank account, only Spanish accounts. Good luck to all of you; I hope they resolve this.
expatitalia
May 03, 2020

In reply to by SamInFrance

I have the same issue - I'm an expat who reports my Italian address on my US tax returns. This address is not recognized in the "Get My Payment" portal because they do not ask to distinguish foreign addresses by offering an option to choose your country. Incredibly frustrating and ridiculous. I cannot offer bank details because of this, and now who knows IF/WHEN expats will get the payment like everyone else. IRS - PLEASE FIX THIS!
MikeVick2020
May 17, 2020

In reply to by SamInFrance

I think the tool does support foreign addresses. I entered my Ukrainian address and it says my check is being mailed. But when will it arrive... I'm on day 16, growing anxious!
Heath
April 29, 2020

In reply to by PhDinUK

The same has been happening to me! I've tried with my info, and with my wife's info - always the same message. I also tried to e-file through irs.gov as a "non filer" but it says the IRS has already received my 2018 return. So, at least I guess it's good news that they have my information.
B Taylor
April 30, 2020

In reply to by PhDinUK

Im having the same problem. I live overseas and no matter how many times i put the correct address to get to my bank info it keeps saying information doesn't match. Please let me know if you were able to get a hold of any information on how to get through the system. Really appreciate for any help.
M.Mathews3
April 25, 2020
How do I report my stimulus check lost or stolen. My daughter took it out my mailbox and claims she lost it?
FTC Staff
April 29, 2020

In reply to by M.Mathews3

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.

JME
April 25, 2020
Hi Seena, I'm an American citizen abroad who files a US tax return every year (and filed my latest return, with an up-to-date address, in February of 2019). However I don't include direct deposit information because I don't have liability. When I try to log into the portal to provide direct deposit info, it won't let me log in (which I think must be due to my foreign address, I've tried with and without a foreign (UK) post code, copied directly from my 2019 filed tax return), indicating it doesn't match what's on file. Do you know the right way to log in if we have a foreign address? Thanks very much, Jacob
Deanna
May 04, 2020

In reply to by JME

Seena, I have the same issue. The IRS has Zero guidance on their website regarding this issue. It appears they are not recognizing the foreign address even though they ask for postal code. If anyone gets to the bottom of this, please let us all know . Thank you
SShanghai
May 07, 2020

In reply to by Deanna

We had the exact same problem (no bank account info on file and listed a foreign address). We tried every day for weeks typing in a combination of things until we finally got an update. The difference was typing in ALL CAPS, abbreviating, and trial and error for punctuation. Our actual address we entered and found on a letter from the IRS: ## Streetname Road ##-### (building number-apartment number) The address as entered in the IRS system to finally see status: ## STREETNAME RD, ##-### Hope this helps.
Dano
May 08, 2020

In reply to by Deanna

After days of trying to get "my payment status" i found that you need to add a hyphen(-) when inputting postal code, ex. xxx-xxx Although we don't normally include the hyphen the system finally recognized me. Hope this helps others
Japanlad
April 26, 2020
How should I enter a Japanese address on the get my payment website? I enter it the same way as it is on my taxes but then it says my information does not match their records.
expatitalia
May 03, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

Reply to FTC: This link you provided does not help NOR does it address the issue that is consistently reported here in these comments about expats getting an Error message when trying to access the "Get My Payment" portal. Your portal is not designed to distinguish foreign addresses. This is a fault on YOUR side to fix. Period. Please do so, as this is highly unfair for us expats who pay our taxes every year but currently aren't being offered the same benefits as those living in the U.S. - as I now cannot provide my banking details for the direct deposit.
FTC Staff
May 04, 2020

In reply to by expatitalia

The IRS, not the FTC, manages the economic impact payments and the system through which you provide personal information.

Please check IRS resources and updates. 

Sarafina#1
May 04, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

They do not help. There is no information available for Americans with foreign addresses.
Curt S.
April 27, 2020
Unfortunately, the vast majority of filers from abroad cannot log in to the Get My Payment tool with a foreign address, receiving an "your information does not match our records" error. It doesn't look like they'll be fixing this glitch anytime soon.
edelweiss
April 30, 2020

In reply to by Curt S.

hi, same problem here, living in germany, it doesnt accept my german zip code, i did file for 2018, will i get a check? or do i need to let the irs know my bank account? thanks so much for your help, be safe
Gigi
October 01, 2020

In reply to by edelweiss

I also live in Germany ...they mailed a check. Will take weeks until it will be in my German bank account . Problem is because I'm ill I can only work Part time so the job center might count it as income , even though it's because of Corona . Guess I'm too honest .
Lyle
May 01, 2020

In reply to by Curt S.

I've had exactly the same problem, and have gone so far as to contact my Congressman back home.
Bigcaptain
June 15, 2020

In reply to by Curt S.

I am having the same problem. The site will not accept my foriegn phone number or address. Exasperating! Looks like the IRS is not interested in me contacting them regarding my economic Stimulus for Social Security beneficeries living outside of the United States.
sincerelybecky
April 27, 2020
Hello, I am attempting to access my "Get My Payment" on the IRS website to see the status of my coronavirus stimulus check. I currently live in South Korea. I filed my taxes for 2019, they were successfully accepted. When I input my information to log into the "Get My Payment" page (using my SSN, date of birth, and address used in my taxes - I use exactly what is on the return-) it does not recognize my information. What should I do about this? How can I guarantee that the US government will be mailing the check to my Korean address? Thank you!
TalaPup
April 27, 2020
I am a US citizen living in the UK. I am receiving Social Security Disability payments via direct debit, to a US bank. (Every January I receive a SSA-1099, statement of benefits.) I do not file taxes, as my annual benefit amount/income is below $10,000. From what I have read the SSA-1099 info will be used to determine eligibility & for direct debit info. Everything I read says that I am eligible, BUT, when I use the "Get My Payment" app, it STILL says "Payment Status Unavailable" (we cannot determine your eligibility for payment at this time.) I am getting no help/answers from the IRS or Treasury. I am starting to get really worried now, especially as from all I read, I am eligible for the £1200. Can you shed any insight, please? Thank you.
Nova
April 28, 2020

In reply to by TalaPup

Hi im here from United states to and on ssdi also and wondering the samething hope we can get answers soon I'm in Glasgow are you near me
TalaPup
May 04, 2020

In reply to by Nova

Hi Nova! Have you received tour stimulus payment yet? I am in Portsmouth. It is nice to hear from a fellow American living abroad, who is also on SSDI. I hate that we are not getting any help from the IRS/Social Security/Treasury about this. I am so stressed out about it. Are you also getting that "Payment Status Unavailable" message on the IRS Get Payment app? lt is worrying, as it makes you wonder what the issue is. I really hope we get answers asap.
PammW
May 08, 2020

In reply to by TalaPup

I'm in Australia and others as well as myself on SSDI haven't gotten a thing yet. I hear either paper, or they'll deposit electronically the same way they do the monthly check. I swear the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing!
Halfie
May 11, 2020

In reply to by TalaPup

I’ve just received my cheque today, they are using you last known foreign address on filed tax or benefit info. I still file my US taxes even though I’m below the threshold to pay anything to ensure I don’t have any odd back taxes due if I ever return to the States. I’d be patient if you’ve not received yours, still people inside the US waiting for theirs.
PammW
May 11, 2020

In reply to by Halfie

Yes, they have my proper Aussie address. My SSDI is direct deposited on the 3rd of each month into my Aussie bank. I hate all the different answers we're getting :(