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Don’t call 1-800 numbers for status of relief check

April 15, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: You can call a 1-800 number and enter your social security number to check on the status of the relief check the federal government is sending as part of the $2.2 trillion economic recovery bill in response to the coronavirus. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Social media users are posting prank 1-800 numbers, urging people to call to check on the status of their checks. 

THE FACTS: The Internal Revenue Service isn’t currently accepting calls by phone because of the coronavirus.

The federal government began sending one-time relief payments this week to millions of Americans. Most adults who earned up to $75,000 will see a $1,200 payout, while married couples who made up to $150,000 can expect to get $2,400. Parents will get payments of $500 per child. Some people began seeing the checks directly deposited into bank accounts this week. The payments might also be mailed to households, depending on how you’ve filed your tax returns in the past.

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False posts containing 800 numbers vary slightly, one text post, for example, says all you need to do is call the number and check using the use “the last 4 of your SS.” Another says to enter the last four digits of a social security number along with a zip code. 

People who typically do not file a tax return, such as Social Security recipients, can visit a new tool on the IRS site to fill out a form that will allow the government to directly deposit the checks into your bank account. 

On Wednesday, the IRS announced it was launching a “Get My Payment” site, where people can check the status of their relief check by entering in basic, personal information including your social security number. 

The IRS has warned Americans of scam artists who might try to swindle you out of your relief check through fraudulent emails, text messages, websites or social media posts that request your banking or personal information. Such scams might describe the checks as “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment;” the official term the government is using to describe the money is“economic impact payment.”

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536