Secret Service, Treasury Warn Against Fake Pandemic Checks

April 20, 2020 Updated: April 20, 2020

The Secret Service and the Treasury Department said they are working to help people protect themselves from counterfeit stimulus checks.

“With the implementation of the CARES Act, comes opportunities for criminal activity, like check fraud,” the agencies said in a statement on April 20, reported Fox News. “The Secret Service and the U.S. Department of the Treasury want to inform citizens and consumers nationwide on ways to protect themselves during these times.”

The Treasury-issued checks, according to the federal agencies (pdf), will include a “Treasury Seal” on the right of the Statue of Liberty on the check, saying  “Bureau of the Fiscal Service,” replacing an old seal. The old seal would have read, “Financial Management Service.”

The seal will show bleeding ink when moisture is applied to the check, which will cause the black ink to “run” and turn red, stated the agencies.

The checks are also printed on paper with a watermark, reading “U.S. TREASURY,” which can be seen from the front and back when they’re held up to the light. Meanwhile, it has an ultraviolet light pattern, which can only be seen if it is held up to UV light. When held up to UV light, the U.S. seal of an eagle, or “FISCALSERVICE,” will be seen.

“USAUSAUSA” will also be printed in very small, “microprinted” text on the back of the checks.

“Microprinted words are so small they appear as just a line to the naked eye. However, when magnified, they become visible. Microprinting cannot be duplicated by a copier and when a check is counterfeited, it will often show up as a solid line or a series of dots,” the agencies stated.

“Economic Impact Payment President Donald J. Trump” will also appear on the lower right side of the checks.

“We at the Secret Service and the U.S. Department of the Treasury are working with our law enforcement partners to ensure a unity of effort to disrupt and deter criminal activity that could hinder an effective response to the pandemic, to help vulnerable organizations, and to recover money stolen from Americans,” the Treasury Department and Secret Service added in a statement on April 20.

Those who receive fake checks should reach out to local law enforcement, the Treasury Department, or a Secret Service field office.

The announcement comes as the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) made deposits of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for couples last week. The IRS also launched its “Get My Payment” app and website to allow taxpayers to provide the agency with updated information.

However, some Americans will receive their deposits in the mail, which, according to White House officials, will take longer.