On March 27th, I first told you about the Coronavirus relief checks that are now going out to millions of Americans, but it is important to revisit this subject now that more details in the program have evolved.

The amount you will be receiving is dependent upon your adjusted gross income as listed on your most recent federal income tax return. People with adjusted incomes of $75,000 or less will receive $1,200 or $2,400 for qualifying individuals filing a joint income tax return.  In addition, there will be additional payments of $500 for each qualifying child.  Americans with adjusted gross income of more than $75,000 or $150,000 for a joint return will have their payment reduced by 5% of the amount your income exceeds $75,000.  The payments will disappear for single filers with adjusted gross incomes more than $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children.

Scammers posing as government employees will be contacting you by phone, email and text messages asking you to pay a fee in order to receive your government check.  Other scammers posing as government officials will ask for your Social Security number, bank account number or credit card number in order for you to qualify for a payment.  The truth is that you do not have to do anything to qualify for a payment.  You do not need to pay a fee.  You do not need to apply for  your check.  You do not need to provide any personal information.  Your eligibility will be determined by the IRS and your check will be either wired directly into the bank account you use to receive your income tax refund or if you have not provided the IRS with information about your bank account, your check will be sent to you by mail.  It is as simple as that.

The IRS will determine whether to send you a check and in what amount based upon the information in your 2019 income tax return or if you did not yet file your 2019 income tax return, they will make their decision based upon your 2018 income tax return.  If you are a Social Security recipient who was not required to file an income tax return, you do not have to file an income tax return to be eligible to receive a payment.  The IRS will get your income information and determine how and where to send the funds based upon your records at the Social Security Administration.

The Treasury Department set up a  Get My Payment website https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment  where you can learn the status of your payment including the date the payment was wired into your bank account or mailed to you if your payment has already been sent.  For faster processing, if you previously received your tax refund through the mail, but wish to have your stimulus payment wired directly into your bank account, you can  provide your bank account information through this website.  If you already provided your bank account information to the IRS in your 2018 or 2019 income tax return, you do not need to provide this information again.

Although, according to the IRS 6.2 million people have successfully tracked the status of of their payment on the Get My Payment website, there have been some problems with the Get My Payment website with many people not getting the information about their payment, but instead receiving the message “Payment Status Not Available.”  Unfortunately, the website does not indicate why your payment status is not available, but instead directs you to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page where you can find a list of common reasons why your payment status was not provided.

TIPS

Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.  Whenever you are contacted on the phone, by email or text message, you cannot be sure who is really contacting you.  Even if your Caller ID indicates the call is from a legitimate federal agency such as the Treasury Department, it is easy for a scammer to “spoof” that number and make it appear on your Caller ID even if the call is coming from another number.   Neither the IRS, the Treasury Department or any other federal agency will be contacting you by phone, email or text message about the stimulus checks.  Anyone contacting you by phone, email or text message indicating that he or she is a federal employee is a scammer.   In regard to the funds being sent to you pursuant to the Coronavirus stimulus package you will not have to make a payment or  provide any personal information in order to receive your check.    In order to use the Get My Payment website, you will have to provide your Social Security number so it is very important to make sure that you are using the real Get My Payment website and not a phony website constructed by a scammer to appear as if it is the real Get My Payment website.  Check the website address carefully before providing personal information and do not go to the website from a link in an email or text message.  Please share this Scam of the day with your friends and family and let them know about http://www.scamicide.com so we can help more people avoid being scammed during this vulnerable time.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”

If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”