Financial planner explains what to expect and what you should do with your coronavirus stimulus check

The coronavirus pandemic has caused job losses across the board, leaving many to wonder how they will pay their bills.

Those struggling to make ends meet as the widespread closures of non-essential businesses continue may be hoping that incoming stimulus checks from the federal government will help keep them afloat.

However, officials are warning of a scam involving individuals pretending to be with the IRS and attempting to get personal information to get those checks.

Some Americans may not get stimulus checks until August. Here's why.
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The coronavirus outbreak has snapped the United States' record-breaking hiring streak of nearly 10 years.

Brian Gilder, a certified financial planner and author of "The Financial Playbook," says that's an immediate red flag because the IRS will never call individuals.

"If you get a call from the IRS, I would hang up immediately. Also, you might get a text message or email - do not answer the email, do not click on anything, because what they're trying to do is get social security information or banking information. The IRS is not going to do that," he said.

If you filed your 2018 or 2019 tax return and you have direct deposit information on your tax return, you're all set. Those individuals should receive their checks within the next few weeks, he said.

Coronavirus stimulus checks: When will payments from IRS be paid?

What do you do once you have that money?

"I would, first of all, make sure I have liquid cash in the bank. I would have that to make sure I pay for all my necessity expenses such as food, utilities, my mortgage or rent," Gilder said.

If you find yourself in need of additional money, many are considering taking loans out of their 401K account. And while he doesn't advise it as a regular financial back-up, Gilder says that might be an option for some.

"If you need to take money out of your 401K, a loan or so forth, then I would do it, because right now it's all about being safe and making sure we don't stress," he said. "What happens when we stress, we don't make good financial decisions and that's the last thing we need, is more financial stress."

Stimulus calculator: How much money should you expect from coronavirus relief bill
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Using the guidelines spelled out in the bill passed this week, we're providing a calculator to help you figure out the amount that you're likely to receive.

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