Secret Service: Here’s how to spot counterfeit U.S. Treasury stimulus checks

Stimulus economic tax return check and US 100 dollar bills currency with US flag

While many Americans are receiving stimulus aid as a result of the CARES Act directly deposited in their financial accounts, millions of others are being sent paper checks from the U.S. Treasury, creating opportunities for check fraud, according to the Secret Service.

“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,” a Secret Service press release stated last week.

The Secret Service and the U.S. Treasury have teamed up to provide guidance as part of a program called “Know Your Treasury Check Campaign,” advising consumers and financial institutions to be on the lookout for a variety of details on stimulus checks that could indicate they are counterfeit.

According to the Secret Service, genuine U.S. Treasury checks include the following:

  • Treasury seal. A new seal is located 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 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 (an eagle) on the right. As of 2013, a new ultraviolet pattern was introduced into the check that says “FISCALSERVICE”. Either one of these UV patterns may be seen.
  • Microprinting. This is located on the back of the check with the words “USAUSAUSA.”
  • Economic impact payment. The economic impact payment checks will have the following information located on the lower right side of the Statue of Liberty: “Economic Impact Payment President Donald J. Trump.”

The full press release can be accessed on the Secret Service website.

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