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MBA Press Release

Mindy Lehman, Senior Vice President of Government Relations & Communications 
443-837-1613 / 
[email protected]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:     April 14, 2020


Maryland Bankers Association Statement on Federal Economic Impact Payments

Annapolis, Maryland, April 14, 2020 – Maryland Bankers Association Urges Marylanders to be Diligent Against Federal Economic Impact Payment Scams

The federal government is expected to send an unprecedented 150 million payments to eligible Americans over the next few months, beginning as early as April 15.  Maryland banks and the banking industry are working closely with the Treasury Department and IRS to help eligible people receive those payments quickly, securely and safely during the COVID-19 emergency.  The fastest way get money to eligible individuals and families in a safe and secure manner is through direct deposit to either a bank account or a reloadable prepaid debit card.  To facilitate this process the IRS has developed new tools that allow individuals to provide the necessary information to get an electronic payment.  It is important that consumers be aware of potential scams related to the Economic Impact Payments.

The IRS is expected to calculate and automatically send the early rounds of economic impact payments via direct deposit, to be available to eligible recipients as early as April 15. The IRS already has direct deposit information for millions of individuals and families who have elected to receive their tax refunds this way. For those who filed tax returns but are not sure whether the IRS has their bank information or wish to update it, the IRS is developing an online portal, so eligible recipients can check the status of their information and their payment. That portal—which will be called “Get My Payment”—is expected to be available by April 17. In addition, the IRS has launched a new web tool allowing those who don’t normally file a tax return to provide their account information so their payment can be direct deposited. And other eligible recipients can visit a second web portal the IRS expects to have up and running by April 17 to choose a form of electronic payment.

The IRS may also need to send thousands of checks to consumers across the State despite the challenges this will pose in light of social distancing orders and modified in-person, bank branch business hours. It is our understanding that the government has fixed capacity limitations for the number of checks it mails, so some recipients may need to wait for several weeks for theirs to be mailed.  To facilitate and expedite this process, the Maryland Bankers Association (MBA) strongly encourages bank customers to deposit their checks using their bank’s secure mobile app or ATM. To help speed delivery of their payment, consumers without a bank account can also consider opening an account online, purchasing a reloadable debit card (not a gift card) issued by a bank to gain access to their funds, or receiving their payment on an existing government benefit card.

MBA’s President & CEO Kathleen Murphy encourages individuals and families to check out the IRS tools and to be aware of the payment for which they may be eligible.  “The Economic Impact Payments will provide some critical relief for eligible families during the COVID-19 emergency.  It is important that individuals and families take steps to help make sure they receive the payments as quickly and safely as possible.  Further, fraudsters are actively launching scams related to the payments.  Being aware and diligent has never been more important.”

What can individuals do to prevent fraudsters from accessing their funds?

There will be a large amount of funds disbursed to qualifying individuals. Accordingly, there is a risk for fraud of various types. The IRS has announced various ways individuals can be on guard against these types of fraudulent activities. See the notice.

It is important to remember that neither banks or the federal government will contact you by telephone, text or email asking for your account information. Do not provide any banking information to anyone claiming to be registering you for your relief payment.

What should customers do if they are expecting a payment or check and it did not come?

The IRS will send a paper notice in the mail no later than a few weeks after your payment has been disbursed. The notice will contain information about where the payment was sent and in what form it was made. If you cannot locate the payment at that point, contact the IRS using the information on the notice. Consumers should be wary of fraudsters who are already attempting to scam people out of their payment.

Founded in 1896, the Maryland Bankers Association (MBA) is the only Maryland-based trade group representing banks in the state.  MBA's member banks employ about 28,266 banking professionals in nearly 1,490 branch offices across the state.                    

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