Florida resident Thomas Andrews is sounding the alarm after receiving a suspicious official-looking envelope in the mail on Thursday.
The envelope read “Time-Sensitive Fast-Tracked Open Immediately” on the top, and on the bottom right: “Important COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Document Enclosed.”
Inside turned out to be a fake check with the line “Stimulus Relief Program” printed in the top left corner and made out for more than $3,000.
Andrews told FOX 35: “The check paper itself is really misleading. Even on the back, looking like you just sign the back like any real check.”
Andrews said: “Just the address that says they will only be there temporarily with a tent until April 5. But if you really read it, you’ll see it’s talking about selling cars and such. But they even call their tent a ‘relief headquarters.'”
“Many people, especially the elderly, won’t read/understand this and will be driving there thinking they will be getting relief money only to be harassed by a car salesman.”
The historic $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that President Trump signed into law Friday is set to give companies and families a cash cushion to better weather the health crisis and looming recession. When it’s safe to go back to work, dine out and book airline tickets again, the thinking goes, they’ll be more financially ready to return to something closer to normal life.
Congress is sending a one-time payment directly to most American adults and U.S. residents with Social Security numbers. That amounts to $1,200 for single adults earning up to $75,000 a year and $2,400 for married couples earning up to $150,000, plus $500 per child. Someone filing as head of household would get the full payment if they earn $112,500 or less.
The payment is reduced by $5 for each $100 that a taxpayer’s income exceeds those thresholds, and is completely phased-out for single filers with incomes exceeding $99,000, or $146,500 for head of household filers with one child, and $198,000 for joint filers with no children.
The package will also help replace the earnings of unemployed workers for four months, providing them with their state’s unemployment benefits plus an extra $600 a week. For the first time, gig economy workers such as Uber drivers can claim unemployment benefits, too.
The support for individuals and households is especially important because the social safety net in America isn’t as strong as it is in the wealthy developed countries of Europe.
The package includes $50 billion in tax credits for businesses that keep employees on payroll and will cover 50 percent of those workers’ paychecks. Companies can also defer payment of the 6.2 percent Social Security tax, giving them an incentive to put off layoffs at a time when ordinary business has come to a halt.
Florida’s death toll increased to 54 on Saturday. More than 3,700 people have tested positive in the state and more than 500 people are hospitalized.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.