Your stimulus check could have been swapped with a fake! The third round of coronavirus relief payments is still being mailed out to eligible families. However, scammers might have stolen these checks from your mailbox. There are five signs you can assess to validate your stimulus check.
From early this year until the end of December, different checks from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are scheduled to be delivered:
- Child Tax Credit - a monthly payment of $300 that started in July and ends on December
- Third Stimulus Check - a one-time payment up to $1400 per eligible family, delivered anytime between March and the end of December
Unfortunately, during this waiting period, COVID-related scams are sure to target these payments. One of the possible malicious schemes that could happen are thieves who steal paper checks addressed to you. To avoid raising suspicions, they will replace your mail with fake stimulus checks instead.
Immediately check your stimulus check upon delivery, so you can deter counterfeit attempts.
Five Signs That Your COVID-19 Relief Money Paper Check Is Real
AARP listed out five security features added on every printed stimulus check. If your stimulus check doesn't have one of these features, the likelihood of it being fake is high.
5. Treasury Seal
Analyze the seal beside the statue, directly below the "United States Treasury" text print. There should be a treasury seal printed. This seal will feature the Department of Treasury logo, with the text "Treasury - Bureau of the Fiscal Service" written on the sides.
4. Bleeding Ink
The treasury seal indicated above has another secret. This one is printed with a security ink that will run and turn red when moisture is applied. Unfortunately, checking your stimulus check through this method might permanently damage it.
Hold up the stimulus check against the light. All stimulus checks are printed on watermark paper with the "U.S. TREASURY" stamped on its front and back. Note that copiers cannot reproduce the watermark. Any check without these watermarks is automatically suspected as counterfeit.
All checks also have microprinting at the back of the check. These words are so small they appear as a straight line to the naked eye. However, a real check has "USAUSAUSA" repeatedly printed on it, unlike fakes, which use either a solid line or a series of dots.
1. Ultraviolet Printing
An ultraviolet pattern is printed over these stimulus checks. Under black light, you should see four lines repeating the words "FISCAL SERVICE." The words are bracketed by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service seal on the left and the U.S. seal on the right.
Watch Out for Stimulus Check Scams
The Sun also warned American families waiting for their stimulus check to keep an eye out for fraudsters. In these last few months, stimulus scam strategies have been launched through:
- Unsolicited calls and emails: Note that the government will never require you to pay upfront fees to receive your funds.
- Messages to 'verify' your identity: Scammers use this strategy to steal your personal information like name, address, email, number, social security, and bank account numbers
- High-Pressure Tactics: A scam tactic where the caller claims they need sensitive information "immediately." These often say something like, "your stimulus check is expiring."
Be careful not to fall victim by keeping in mind these pointers when searching for your stimulus checks.