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You’ve probably heard the news by now – the government is sending out relief checks as part of the federal response to the Coronavirus. Scammers heard the same thing, and they’re hoping to cash in on yours.

The details of how this will all work are still coming together, but we do know a few things about how this will – and will not – work. For now, here are some things to know.

  1. You don’t need to do anything. As long as you filed taxes for 2018 and/or 2019, the federal government likely has the information it needs to send you your money. Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who are otherwise not required to file a tax return also do not need to do anything to receive their money. If you otherwise have not filed taxes recently, you may need to submit a simple tax return to get your check. (More on who’s eligible here.)
  2. Do not give anyone your personal information to “sign-up” for your relief check. There is nothing to sign up for. Anyone calling to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security number, PayPal account, or bank information is a scammer, plain and simple. Also be on the lookout for email phishing scams, where scammers pretend to be from the government and ask for your information as part of the “sign-up” process for the checks.
  3. To set up direct deposit of your check, communicate only with the IRS at irs.gov/coronavirus. And you only need to do this if you didn’t give the IRS your bank information on your 2018 or 2019 return. In the coming weeks, the IRS will be setting up an online form available through irs.gov/coronavirus. But nowhere else, and never in response to an email, text, or call.
  4. No one has early access to this money. Anyone that claims to is a scammer. The timeline for this process is not exact, but it looks like funds will start going out in the next few weeks. Scammers are using the lack of detail to try to trick people into giving their personal information and money.

To get official updates and more information, visit the IRS’s page on economic impact payments. And if you come across a scammer trying to take your check, we want to hear about it. Report it at ftc.gov/complaint

Updated 4/2/20 with new information on filing taxes

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105 Comments


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Brian
April 01, 2020
If you don't provide direct deposit to the irs or do not have a bank account, will you receive a check and if so, when would it be expected?
Harley1910
April 03, 2020

In reply to by Brian

What can I do if I changed bank accounts from my last taxes filed if I want direct deposit.
NikiaDashiell
April 07, 2020

In reply to by Harley1910

What can I do if I changed bank accounts from my last taxes filed if I want direct deposit. I need to know this, because mine has changed.
FTC Staff
April 07, 2020

In reply to by NikiaDashiell

The IRS website ( irs.gov/coronavirus ) says Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal so people can give their banking information to the IRS online.

Amanda
April 10, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

Can I change my bank account since I file in 2018 but my bank account have been change? Can I change when the web bases portal is up?
phatjeebus
April 10, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

They ended up just using free fillable forms so the process is to file a tax return. Don't think that's going to work for those who've changed banks after filing.
Pms888
April 01, 2020
I am on social security retirement. Will they be able to get my information from social security or do I have to fill out the form? Also my husband is a 100% disabled veteran and also gets disability checks from them and also social security retirement checks, can they get his info from them?
Don't use your…
April 01, 2020
What about those who CANT OR ARE NOT ELIGIBLE TO FILE A TAX RETURN, BUT ARE AFFECTED BY THE CORONAVIRUS SITUATIO, ARE THEY NOT ELIGIBLE TONRECIEVE MONEY? FILING A TAX RETURN CAN NOT BE THE ONLY WAY TO RECIEVE THESE FUNDS. FOR THOSE WHO ARE RECIEVING GOVERNMENT FUNDING LIKE AFDC, WELFARE MORE THAN LIKELY CANT FILE TAXES AND SHOULD BE ALBE TO HAVE THEIR NAMES COUNTED FOR FUNDS THRU THATS VENUE!!!
Subura Forrester
April 01, 2020
appreciate the updates you provide
HUGH GAUTIER
April 01, 2020
Here's the rub with that, If you don't owe any taxes, or are in the poverty area, you aren't going to get any check either, and WE ARE the ones most needing the help. Everything is going up but we are stuck on a fixed income al-be-it on a Social Security check that is just over $1000 a month, THAT IS BELOW THE POVERTY LIMITS. I get $1032 a month to pay for all of my bills and be able to feed myself. Welfare is out of the question, they want you to be able to work. Thanks to lung surgery, and the removal of the uppermost rib along with a carcinoma [Cancer malignant] of the left tonsil, I can't work. Let's fast forward slightly, I'm to undergo a non-elective throat surgery to remove the rest of that tonsil and associated tissue. I fall under medically needy, but no one takes that so I'm left between a rock and a hard place. Florida has the most convoluted system for getting help from anything I've seen. It's a mess and no one knows what to do either, no one wants to help they just push it over to another person who pushes it back to the person who sent you in their direction in the first place. It just might take the FEDERAL GOVT STEPPING IN TO GET FLORIDA TO OWN UP TO IT'S MESS UP.
FTC Staff
April 02, 2020

In reply to by HUGH GAUTIER

The IRS says that people who get Social Security and railroad retirees who are otherwise not required to file a tax return are eligible for a payment. They will not be required to file a tax return. Read more at the IRS website about economic impact payments.

rene
April 20, 2020

In reply to by HUGH GAUTIER

Like you I love on a fixed income and assumed I would not qualify. You're right. The price of everything is going up and there is no longer the hustle and gigs I scrapped by with (process serving, mock juries, yard sales, etc). I did look into this to help my family and friends. Some of them are now unemployed and unsure too. Well I figured something out as I dug into it. The money we are receiving is our money on the first place. While we pay taxes out the wazoo the rich have been afforded breaks and subsidies. But as much as that matters to us it doesn't really count here because the idea is to keep money in the system. Bernie saunders is behind the plan and he knows if we all get a bit of cash we will put it back into the economy. We will pay bills, blow money after being socially isolated and deprived for 6 weeks of more. With that money circulating we are less likely to hit the skids. I plan to have some work done on my car, pay for my registration and buy a new used iPad because apple sabotaged the older model. I want my money no matter where it comes from to go to small business, the individuals like me who do what they need to to get and to local gov like the DMV. CA has a great gov and they will need revenue to keep going too. Sorry about your struggles. God speed.
Will
April 01, 2020
Question Do Disabled Veteran's Receiving Compensation & Pensions Recieve A Stimulus Check. Most Payments Are Not All That Much Unless 100% Awarded. If Not Between $124. To $1,146. So Many Try & Earn A Lil Extra But With The Covid-19. None Can Do That So We Struggle Like All American's.
Wowmomflipped
April 01, 2020
I'm a SSdisabled American w no taxable income and tried to file an Etax return for the covid-19 stimulus check. I'm not required to file taxes each year and the company came back w they were unable to send my form to the IRS since they only accept returns for people w taxable income. I explained my reason for filing and they responded citing they reached out to Internal Revenue and are awaiting a response. This is going to be confusing at all levels for those on SS,SSI, AND SSDI opening those up for the opportunity to be scammed. In my opinion.
DoDKn't use yo…
April 05, 2020

In reply to by Wowmomflipped

Ive read that we dnt have to file a tax return in order to recieve a payment. Hoping its true cas im already just serving on a prayer and a miracle. So lets all keep our fingers crossed. EVERYBODY PLEASE STAY SAFE
hrhlowry
April 20, 2020

In reply to by Wowmomflipped

I get SSI do I get the coronavirus stems package deal
Josie
April 13, 2020

In reply to by Wowmomflipped

I printed up a paper form and mailed it in. The last time I filed was in 2017. I don't have any income. I'm praying that I get it. Good luck to you
Sue
April 01, 2020
This article doesn't mention people on social security who don't file tax returns due to low income. Are people on social security who aren't required to file excluded from receiving the relief checks? Anyone know the answer?
Don't use your…
April 02, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

The people who receive SS SSI and SSDI are going to be among the first to get paid because most of these individuals already have direct deposit set up for their government benefits to go into already. They will not have to file anything at all with the IRS because they're income is so low they're not required to file . In short they don't have to do anything at all.
Robert
April 01, 2020
I do not have a bank account. I have filed a return but no longer live at that address. How can I notify you of my current address?
CastOff
April 01, 2020
I’m a retired senior now receiving Social Security checks who formerly receiving SSDI payments. Will I receive a stimulus check? I tried to file online for 2019 at ezTaxReturn; the site replied that I do not need to file a tax return, adding, “Have a nice day.” Please inform me where/how to file my 2019 return.
BSFERT
April 09, 2020

In reply to by CastOff

If you receive social security benefits YOU WILL RECEIVE STIMULUS CHECK!!! You don't need to do anything. It will be deposited into your bank account the same as your SSI benefit check is every month.
jaybird
April 01, 2020
If you received a refund in 2018 and/or 2019, the IRS has your bank aba routing and account number. What if you paid taxes with a check? Did IRS keep the aba routing number and the account number from your check? Or do you have to fill out a form at the website?
Don't use your…
April 14, 2020

In reply to by jaybird

It would seem you'd have to have direct deposit, as payments for those receiving checks would be processed separately. It would seem you'd have to supply SSA with your bank info for the purposes of Direct Deposit, or perhaps you'd likely get a check. You might visit the SSA website to see how you can submit your bank info or sign up for DD, and if this would get you the check directly sooner. I'd also check the link posted here for updates. It's no small task to send money to a few hundred million people. This or the IRS website are likely your best sources of info. SSA's phone services are extremely limited, but you could call their number snd see if there's something about this on their automated system. Be sure if you go to their website, you are actually on a real .gov website that's legitimate! There have been sites pop up that may appear to be a Government website, but are not. I've seen phishing sites before where it seems they just copy the website they are imitating, so it looks just like the real thing. The SSA website is on the notices they send out, on your 1099 forms, etc. The amount of calls & texts I started recieving when things got serious with the quarantines, has been ridiculous! Many autodialers & texts with a variety of words to play on people, trying to get people to click. Many calls from those people who want you to call back a number, telling you they want monry or you'll go to jail... It was a widely publicised scam, and many know so, but some do not. The caller IDs are often spoofed as well. If you get a call like this, it helps to report it, they say. After reporting one of them, it took a while, but the calls stopped. One of these scam rings had 13 or 14 people arrested and jailed several years ago. That one seemed to have hacked hospitals & they said you owed a hospital bill, that they were a "collection agency", and another time claimed it was a loan, a credit card bill, and a number of other things. These people want money, your money, and they will try to empty your bank accounts, it seems. NEVER give anyone calling you your personal info! If you have a legitimate bill, they usually come in the mail. The company would have a name, address, account number, etc., AND they will certainly have your info on file & would never have to ask you for it, not even for a "confirmation". It's a good idea to let calls you don't recognise go to voicemail. That way, if they are legit, then you can talk to them directly. It's rare today for anyone to call you for a bill!!! It's a good idea to block scammers numbers. They tend to have or spoof the same numbers, have a number too short or long (instead of 10 digits: an area code & 7-digit phone number). Stay safe!
Annie JayJay
April 01, 2020
This information needs to be given to every TV station for their broadcasting informing all citizens to be on alert of this scam. And to broadcast this on a daily basis, maybe with this much publicity, hopefully, it won't get out of hand. Imposing a stiff fine wouldn't hurt either.
CHBROWNY
April 01, 2020
Good advice
margarita duran
April 02, 2020
I am retired, do I qualify for a check relief? Sorry x my ?
PED
April 02, 2020
Will the government mail check if there is no direct deposit
Wrong hwang
April 08, 2020

In reply to by PED

Yes I'm a single lady with a boyfriend ,and grown up kids I don't have any fiance or income nor a bank account .do receive food stamp and county care are people like that kind of situation will be.
S085343
April 02, 2020
We heard from our family members that they received a card with a password, which you have to enter the password and fill a website to sign-up for the check. But when I read the above description, it says that the check will come at your door and there is nothing to sign-up for. Is this card a part of check process from government or is it from scammers?
FTC Staff
April 02, 2020

In reply to by S085343

That sounds like a scam. Don't give your information to anyone who says you have to sign up for your payment. There is nothing to sign up for. No one can help you get early access to the money.

The IRS says that people who get Social Security and railroad retirees who are otherwise not required to file a tax return are eligible for a payment. They will not be required to file a tax return. Read more at the IRS website about economic impact payments.

emac
April 02, 2020
I’m a stay home , taking care of my husband who is Disabled , he gets SSDI, Do I get the Stimulus check . I been talking care of my husband since he came operation Iraq freedom . I have no earning to report .
Jess1213
April 02, 2020
What if the IRS sent your tax money to the wrong account and you tried to correct it beforehand but the irs still put it in the wrong account. How would you go about getting this money to the right account before its sent out?
Gennou
April 15, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

I am under this subject, I accidentally entered my SSN as my bank account and tried to go back into the form to fix it, it just keeps saying it will send it to the wrong account number, there is no live assistance on phone to fix this, there is no live option for online support just facts which doesn’t turn up on any of the topic at hands, and there is no link to fix it, is there a way around fixing this, will you make a link to fix this option as a tool? What will happen in this situation?
conductman
April 02, 2020
When are we supposed to get our checks? Also, if your parents claimed you because you are a college student, do you still get a check if you work full time as well?
TeresaK
April 04, 2020

In reply to by conductman

If your parents claimed you and you didn't file your own return, my understanding is that you aren't eligible. Your parents will receive their money of they meet the income limits.
nickkie
April 02, 2020
Will our stimulus payment go on our direct express cards or do I need to change it to a bank account
stina
April 05, 2020

In reply to by nickkie

That would b convient for us. I did my taxes in nyc going back 4 years it’s $65.00 a year. I would t mind it going on my direct express card... it will be for rent and food anyways.