This story was originally published in April 2020. Susan Tompor of the Detroit Free Press writes that this issue appears to be happening again for some now with the latest stimulus payment, in January 2021.
Americans are confused about what happened to the stimulus check deposits that were supposed to show up in their bank accounts on Wednesday.
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service launched the “Get My Payment” web application allowing people to track their payout, which was hit with early glitches at the time of launch.
About 80 million people were to receive the deposit this week, the Treasury Department said on Monday. But Wednesday, many people expressed concern when the government website said the cash, up to $1,200 a person, was sent to a bank account that didn’t seem to belong to them.
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The events unfolded in a similar manner for several of the people who reached out to the IRS via Twitter. They would submit their contact information into the government’s payout tracking portal, and the results would show that the money was scheduled to be deposited April 15.
But the digits didn’t match a bank account people were familiar with.
“I was so confused,” said Aimme Saldana, 23. “I don’t know where they got that number from.” The warehouse worker in Ontario, California, planned to use the check to cover bills. “I lost two weeks of pay because I was sick. I was depending on that for my car payment.”
The IRS portal said that if you don’t see the payment credited to your account, check with your bank to verify it was received. It also gave the last four digits of the bank account number associated with the deposit.
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It’s unclear how many people this happened to, though many reached out to the IRS on Twitter to get answers.
IRS spokeswoman Jodie Reynolds told USA TODAY she hadn’t heard anything about stimulus checks being deposited into the wrong bank accounts and would look into the matter.
Thomas Krapin, 25, of New York City planned on using some of the money to cover rent. As soon as the deposit information popped up on the website, he “freaked out.”
“Once I pressed submit, the account number that they listed didn’t match any of mine. I called my bank and there was nothing they could do. There was no connection to my account,” Krapin said.
Chris Rodriguez, a contractor in Lansing, Michigan, has used the same bank account for almost a decade, so he knew straight away that the numbers didn’t add up.
“You’re jubilant because you’ve been waiting to get that money. And you look down and the bank account number is not even close,” Rodriguez said. “Because the IRS isn’t taking calls, I’m more or less dead in the water.”
Reynolds said people should contact their bank if they think the checks were deposited into the wrong bank account. She said people can also check the status of their stimulus checks at https://sa.www4.irs.gov/irfof-wmsp/login – the “Get My Payment” portal part of the IRS website.
If checks are sent to bank accounts that don’t match the name of the person who is supposed to receive the money, the check should be rejected by the bank and returned to the IRS, according to Reynolds.
“The payment isn’t going to bounce back and just sit here,” Reynolds said. “We will turn around and cut them a paper check and make sure they get their money.”
Reynolds said people can update their bank account with the IRS online before checks are scheduled to be sent, and the IRS will be sending out notices “telling folks the status of their payment.”
Contact the IRS, report the problem
Douglas Johnson Jr., a finance and banking consultant based in Santa Monica, California, said taxpayers who think their checks were sent to the wrong bank account should contact the IRS through the agency’s website and report the problem.
“It’s going to be up to (the IRS) to track down whether it went to the wrong account or not,” Johnson said. “But the obligation to the taxpayer is not to find out what wrong recipient it went to.
“You simply would go the IRS and say: ‘Hey, I didn’t get my money. You guys made a mistake, here’s the correct information, please send me the right money.’ That would be the logical way to solve it.’”
Anat Admati, a professor of finance and economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, said the matter will come down to government accountability.
“It’s a massive operation, and let’s hope they know what they’re doing since people need that money,” Admati said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Some IRS coronavirus stimulus checks sent to wrong bank accounts