US Treasury Official Responds to $6,400 Stimulus Check Scam

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The Treasury responded to social media posts making the claims.

The U.S. Treasury Department responded to social media posts claiming that new stimulus payments will be issued that include a VoiceOver mimicking the voice of President Joe Biden.

The record is included in a video posted on social media that says: “THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT JUST APPROVED THE NEW STIMULUS, $6,400 for 97% of Americans (sic). Seeking financial support for daily needs like groceries, gas, and rent? This government subsidy program offers eligible Americans $6400 as a subsidy with a $0 health plan.”

“The U.S. is sending everyone a free $6,400 right now. You get this payout in under 48 hours and it’s completely free. Hit that ATM up, get that car you want, take your wifey on a shopping spree or just save it,” says the fake Biden voice in the video.

But the most recent rounds of federal stimulus payments and checks to Americans were sent years ago during the COVID-19 pandemic for a total of three times. Some states have offered a variety of stimulus payments, tax rebates, and other payments since then.

An official with the U.S. Treasury Department refuted the claims in the social media posts. “There are no new stimulus payments like that described,” Jenna Valle-Riestra, a spokesperson for the U.S. Treasury, told Reuters in response to the apparent scam. “Any type of program like that would require legislation from Congress.”

Congress has not approved any bill with stimulus payments since 2021, when both the House and Senate approved the American Rescue Plan. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) started issuing the payments that year before it stopped at the end of 2021.

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Stimulus packages would have to involve government measures, such as checks for individuals or tax credits, to boost the economy or prevent a recession. The posts being shared are not affiliated with any official government programs, however.

One Facebook page opens a new tab sharing the video claims it is a “Federal Government Organization,” but does not link to any official government links. It has a verified badge as a profile photo, but is not verified by Facebook.

Another page opens a new tab sharing the video calls itself an “insurance agent” in its “About” section but offers no website or further information. There is no evidence, opens new tab that Biden authorized or spoke about a $6,400 government stimulus this month.

There have been similar posts about a $6,400 stimulus check that includes former President Donald Trump’s voice and the voice of rapper Snoop Dogg.

The U.S. government has long warned Americans about scams involving free money, saying it “does not offer free money or grants to people for personal needs.” It adds, “Texts, email, ads, and websites promising ‘free money’ from the government are often scams.”

The IRS also has said that the agency does not contact people via email, text messages, or social media, and it instead opts to send letters.

Last month, the IRS, an arm of the Treasury Department, said in a release that Americans should be wary of emerging tax-related scams that attempt to obtain individuals’ sensitive information.

“Identity thieves are relentless and use a variety of techniques … We urge people to be careful with their personal information and be wary of email and text scams,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a statement.

“With people anxious to receive the latest information about a refund or other issues during tax season, scammers will regularly pose as the IRS, a state tax agency or others in the tax industry. People should be incredibly wary about unexpected messages that can be an elaborate trap by scam artists, especially during filing season.”

It’s not clear if the Biden voice in the social media post was generated via artificial intelligence (AI), but an AI-generated version of the president’s voice was allegedly used in robocalls during New Hampshire’s primary election last month. State Attorney General John Formella said the recorded message appeared to be an illegal attempt to disrupt voting in the state.

At the time, he said voters “should disregard the contents of this message entirely,” reported the Associated Press.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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