Stimulus Checks: Teacher Says Payment Was Put Into Wrong Account, Despite Using Direct Deposit for 15 Years

As millions of Americans begin to receive their coronavirus stimulus checks, one teacher along Florida’s Treasure Coast says her payout from the federal government was deposited into the wrong bank account not once, but twice. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confirmed in mid-April that the first wave of payments had begun to be deposited into the bank accounts of those Americans who received their tax refunds via direct deposit, and while Vero Beach, Florida, teacher Daphne Mathews has been using direct deposit for the last 15 years, her $1,200 payout ended up in somebody else’s account due to a numerical error.

"The discrepancy was that the last four digits in the account that was deposited, was not my bank account," Matthews, who was planning on using the stimulus money for a small vacation with her children, told NBC affiliate WPTV-TV. She added that the newly introduced "Get My Payment" tool on the IRS website showed that her payment had been deposited.

After the mishap, Matthews, who said she has used direct deposit for the last 15 years to get her tax return with no previous issues, received an email saying the IRS would attempt to deposit the money a second time. According to Matthews, however, "the same wrong digits appeared." A preparer told her the account number may have been that of a bank card her family used and closed when the money was spent.

"The IRS also noted that there was a reporting error that started showing up in recent days on Get My Update, which inaccurately indicated rejected payments were being sent back to the same taxpayer account a second time. They are actually being mailed to the taxpayers," an IRS spokesperson said in a statement addressing the mistake. "The IRS has quickly taken steps to correct this reporting error."

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Unfortunately for Matthews and her family, this was just one of two mistakes to be made in relation to the stimulus checks, which are part of the $2 trillion CARES Act that was signed by President Donald Trump in late March. Matthews told WPTV-TV that a stimulus payment was also sent to her aunt, her died last summer. "That's kind of a family joke," Matthews said, making light of the situation. "You didn't get yours, but a deceased relative did receive hers."

While most stimulus checks are finding their way to eligible Americans without issue, there have been several instances of payments being deposited into the wrong bank account or going to deceased Americans. One Indiana man expecting a $1,700 payout even received an $8 million deposit. People have also reported issues with the "Get My Payment" app, though the IRS has made several updates to ensure the process of sending out payments runs more smoothly.