How to protect yourself by spotting a fake stimulus check

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Monday, April 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Stimulus checks are going out all over the country, and the Secret Service and US Treasury have some tips on how to keep an eye out for counterfeit checks designed to cheat you.

Millions of relief checks are going out this month, and the two agencies announced a joint effort Monday designed to inform citizens of the best ways to protect themselves during this critical time.

Fraudulent checks are also floating through the mail system from criminals who started planning them the moment the CARES Act was announced. There are a number of security measures printed into the legitimate checks, according to a joint release from the two agencies received by Fox News:

“With the implementation of the CARES Act, comes opportunities for criminal activity, like check fraud,” the agencies said in a statement Monday. “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 USSS and the Treasury Department on Monday released a set of “quick tips” and “genuine security features” for those reviewing the legitimacy of checks mailed to them.

The checks, according to the agencies, will include a “Treasury Seal” placed to the right of the Statue of Liberty on the check. It will say “Bureau of the Fiscal Service,” replacing an old seal, which would have read “Financial Management Service.”

That seal, according to the agencies, will show bleeding ink when moisture is applied, causing the black ink to “run” and turn red.

In addition, U.S. Treasury checks are printed on watermark paper, which will read “U.S. TREASURY” and can be seen from both the front and the back of the check when held up to a light. The check will also have a protective ultraviolet (UV) pattern, which is invisible to the naked eye. If put up to a UV light, an individual can expect to see the U.S. Seal of an eagle, or “FISCALSERVICE.”

Legitimate checks will also have microprinting on the back of the check with the words “USAUSAUSA.”

Finally, on the lower right side of the Statue of Liberty imprinted on the check will read: “Economic Impact Payment President Donald J. Trump.”

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