Viral posts on Facebook falsely claim the government has approved a second round of coronavirus stimulus payments to everyone who signs up — and that the money will be forthcoming in “5-7 business days.” Congress is considering another economic package, but a new round of support has not been passed.
A government stimulus package — the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act — was approved in March to help an economy crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic. The $2 trillion CARES Act most notably provided financial support in the form of $1,200 checks to qualifying individuals and dedicated $376 billion for small business relief.
On May 15, the House passed a $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions, or HEROES Act, which would distribute another round of federal stimulus checks of up to $1,200 to individuals and, among other measures, would expand the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses.
However, members of the Senate, who returned from recess on July 20, have indicated they will not pass the HEROES Act. Instead, they plan to propose their own stimulus package in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Senate hopes to keep the cost in the $1 trillion range, which will limit the scope of the bill.
But before Congress has agreed on the elements of another economic support package, a new iteration of an old prank post is circulating on Facebook, falsely suggesting that a second round of federal stimulus payments is imminent.
The new post reads, “Everyone including essential workers will be compensated $1,000. The money will be available to u in 5-7 business days. Thank me later. Click the link to sign up.”
When the link provided is clicked, up pops an image of a gorilla making an obscene gesture.
Versions of the post use the logos of the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA – neither of which would be responsible for a second stimulus payment, we should note.
Another version of the bogus post show images of a check from the Treasury and the U.S. Capitol, and claims: “And it passed[.] WE GET ANOTHER STIMULUS CHECK FOR $2000 on August 10, 2020[.] Everyone including ESSENTIAL WORKERS will be compensated $2000[.] The money will be available to you in 5-7 business days.”
But the amount of any additional stimulus checks, who would be eligible, and when any payments would be made have not been determined.
Epperson, Sharon. “Who’s eligible for COVID-19 stimulus checks? Your questions, answered.” CNBC. 1 Apr 2020.
Fichera, Angelo. “Coronavirus Prank Falsely Tells of Workplace, School Closings.” FactCheck.org. 5 Mar 2020.
Gould, Elise and Heidi Shierholz. “Jobs report: Two months of gains, but a huge jobs deficit remains, and deepening pain is on the horizon.” Economic Policy Institute. 2 Jul 2020.
Guina, Ryan. “Second Stimulus Bill Update: Everything You Need To Know Before The Senate Meets Next Week.” Forbes. 18 Jul 2020.
Kochhar, Rakesh. “Unemployment rose higher in three months of COVID-19 than it did in two years of Great Recession.” Pew Research Center. 11 Jun 2020.
Morad, Renee. “Extra $600-A-Week Unemployment Benefit Won’t Get Renewed, Mnuchin Says.” Forbes. 14 Jul 2020.
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. “The Employment Situation — June 2020.” 2 Jul 2020.
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Unemployment rate rises to record high 14.7 percent in April 2020.” 13 May 2020.
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. “19.2 percent of the unemployed had been jobless for 27 weeks or more in February 2020.” 11 Mar 2020.
U.S. House. H.R.748, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. 27 Mar 2020.
Zhu, Chelsey. “Prank Posts Mislead on Direct Government Payments for Coronavirus.” FactCheck.org. 19 Mar 2020.