COVID-19: Verifying Your U.S. Treasury Check
The U.S. Treasury began mailing checks in late April 2020 as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This presents an opportunity for criminals to take advantage of distracted, stressed people to commit check fraud. If you receive a check in the mail how can you be sure that it is a genuine check from the U.S. Treasury? Could it be a counterfeit document from a bad actor? The Secret Service, U.S. Department of the Treasury, and law enforcement agencies are providing information on how to verify the authenticity of the check. Below are some tips to verify a check as well as a sample image of an authentic check.
Quick Tips / Genuine Security Features:
- Treasury Seal – Look for 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 that same seal to the right of the Statue of Liberty, the black ink will turn reddish.
- 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 holding the check 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 pattern was introduced into the check that says “FISCALSERVICE”. Either one of these UV patterns may be seen.
- Microprinting – This security feature is also invisible to the naked eye, but can be magnified. Located on the back of the check is a line of microprinting that says “USAUSAUSA.”
- Economic Impact Payment – Authentic checks will have “Economic Impact Payment President Donald J. Trump” printed on the lower right side of the Statue of Liberty.
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