How to Tell if Your ‘Stimulus Check’ is Real (Here are six ways)!
So, to give you fine folks an update, the Internal Revenue Service is making good progress in getting the Economic Impact Payments (i.e., ‘Stimulus Payments’) to eligible individuals.
Just in case you missed my article regarding Economic Impact Payments, or would just like to refresh your understanding of these payments and the process involved in their delivery, you can take a look at that article here.
Most of the money, so far, has been directly deposited into recipients’ bank accounts.
Some people, however, will be receiving paper checks.
Paper Check Problems: This is a bit of a concern for two reasons.
First, as with tax refunds issued by check and snail mailed to taxpayers, there’s always the possibility that crooks could steal the relief payments from their curbside mail boxes.
Second, some coronavirus crooks have created fake stimulus checks. This is latest variation of the bogus government payment scam that’s been around for years.
In these instances, con artists send fake checks to their scam victims, advising them to quickly deposit the checks. Then the second part of the scam kicks in, with the crooks telling their prey that the checks are too large.
Since they got more than they were due, according to the crooks perpetrating this type of scam, the recipients of the fake checks need to send back part of the money. Yep, send the alleged excess back to the crooks who issued the worthless counterfeit checks.
It’s easy to blame the victim, saying that they should know better, but some of the counterfeit checks are quite convincing. There have been cases where it’s taken even banks weeks to discover that checks they accepted were not real (You can see what the Federal Trade Commission has to say about that here).
Know your real government check: With so many people eagerly awaiting their much-needed money and the stimulus payments (the physical check version) providing a new opportunity for fake checks, Uncle Sam has called in the big guns. The U.S. Secret Service is getting involved.
This federal law enforcement agency, which operates under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security, is best known for its agents who protect U.S. presidents. However, Secret Service agents also investigate counterfeiting law violations, as well as a wide range of financial fraud, including financial document counterfeiting.
Because of its expertise in fighting counterfeiting, the Secret Service has joined the Treasury Department in a new “Know Your U.S. Treasury Check” campaign. This is an effort to make individuals, retailers and financial institutions aware of possibly fake ‘stimulus’ checks and educate them on how they can protect themselves from becoming victims of counterfeit government checks.
The agencies have created a two page PDF (which you can read right here) with more on the legitimate coronavirus ‘stimulus checks’.
Here are six security features noted in that document that are found on all real Treasury checks and the COVID-19 Economic Relief Payment (pictured above) in particular:
- Treasury Seal — This is a new seal to the right of the Statue of Liberty. It should say “Bureau of the Fiscal Service” and has replaced the old seal that said “Financial Management Service.”
- Bleeding Ink — When moisture is applied to the seal to the right of the Statue of Liberty, the black ink will run and turn red.
- Watermark — All U.S. Treasury checks are printed on watermark paper. The watermark reads “U.S. TREASURY” and is seen from both front and back when held up to a light source.
- Ultraviolet Overprinting — A protective ultraviolet (UV) pattern is invisible to the naked eye, consisting of lines of “FMS” bracketed by the FMS seal on the left and the U.S. Seal (eagle) on the right. As of 2013, a new ultraviolet patter was introduced into the check that says “FISCALSERVICE.” Either one of these UV patterns maybe be seen.
- Microprinting — This is located on the back of the check, showing the words “USAUSAUSA.”
- Economic Impact Payment Notation — The Economic Impact Payment checks will have a special note at the lower left side of the check, next to the Statue of Liberty image. It says “Economic Impact Payment President Donald J. Trump.”
When you get your check in your mail box, check it out using the “Know Your U.S. Treasury Check” guidelines.
So everyone please be careful because the only thing worse than having to wait for your Corona Virus ‘stimulus’ money is falling for a fake stimulus check scam.
EVERYONE PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE STAY WELL and STAY HEALTHY!
Bruce – Your Host at The Tax Nook
Our Firm’s Website: SolidTaxSolutions.com