Watch for these stimulus payment scams

We know there’s been a flood of information and updates about the U.S. government’s economic impact payments, or so-called stimulus checks. 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)

How will funds be distributed?

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.

Visit the IRS coronavirus website if:

  • The IRS doesn’t have your direct deposit information; use the “Get My Payment” feature
  • You don’t usually file a tax return; use the non-filer portal
  • You want to check on the status of your payment; use the “Get My Payment” feature

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, account or member number, or government benefits debit card account number.

Four tips for avoiding a coronavirus stimulus payment scam

  1. Only use the IRS coronavirus web site 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, account or member number, 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 immediately.

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