US $100 bills are pictured in Washington, DC ( AFP / Paul J Richards)

US stimulus payment hoax circulates online

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Facebook posts claim the US government will provide another round of stimulus checks at the end of July 2021. But the link in the posts that allegedly provides information on the payments leads to an image of an ape making a rude gesture.

"EVERYONE GETS ANOTHER STIMULUS CHECK FOR $2500 on July 30, 2021," says a July 15, 2021 Facebook post.

"The article below tells you what you need to do to get yours direct deposited and how to receive it quicker and how to track it," says text above a link in the post. 

Screenshot of a Facebook post taken on July 16, 2021

The claim is a hoax, and the link -- which was also shared on Facebook here -- leads to a picture of an ape with its middle finger raised. 

Warning

A screenshot taken on July 16, 2021 shows the image displayed when users click on a link shared in social media posts


While some Facebook users shared the claim as a joke, comments indicated that others took it seriously.

"It will slow the recovery. No one wants to work now. Inflation will go up also. The Democrats couldn't run a popsicle stand let alone our government," one comment said, while another asked if the claim is true. 

In a move to support consumers and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, Washington has already passed three costly rescue plans that provided stimulus payments to many Americans. However, Congress has not passed a measure authorizing a fourth round of payment as of the time of publication, and there was also no announcement made by the White House

The same image of the ape appeared in social media posts claiming that the US Federal Emergency Management Agency was offering hazard pay to individuals who worked during the coronavirus pandemic. AFP Fact Check debunked that claim here.