Does a link take people to an application for FEMA assistance where they can receive a $1,000 check? No, that's not true: Dozens of posts such as this have gone viral, all with very similar language, but they are pranks. The link in the posts takes viewers to a gorilla giving the middle finger. The post was a hoax, presumably related to the coronavirus, but the joke went viral and fooled many people.
The claim appeared in a post (archived here) published on Facebook by Ricky Fjeld on March 18, 2020. It opened:
Make sure you guys fill out the application for FEMA assistance so you can get that $1000 check next week.
Users on social media only saw this:
This is the latest in a series of prank posts all with the same endgame. They trick the reader into clicking a link for more information, and this is the image they see:
Another similar post prompts readers to fill out a form to get a $1,000 check for each adult as part of the coronavirus stimulus package. Clicking on the link brings up the same gorilla giving the one-finger salute.
Lead Stories has previously fact checked similar pranks, one focused on school closures and another one tricking people into claiming a $700 check to stay at home to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
This latest version is another joke. According to ABC News, it wasn't until last week that President Trump mobilized the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Either way, FEMA is not coordinating or doling out stimulus checks, as the post suggests.
Republicans and Democrats are trying to negotiate various economic stimulus plans that could eventually put cash in the hands of Americans in a few weeks.
There is a lot of misinformation surrounding the novel coronavirus. Here are some other fact checks by Lead Stories:
- Fact Check: Viral Meme About United Way Fund For COVID-19 Help Does NOT Contain Right Number
- Fact Check: Dunkin' Has NOT Closed For Business Because Of COVID-19
- Fact Check: COVID-19 NOT A Scripted Narrative To Justify Closed Borders Or Force Residents To Remain Home
- Fact Check: Italy Has NOT Mandated No Treatment Of All Elderly With Coronavirus
- Fact Check: A Banana A Day Does NOT Keep The Coronavirus Away
- Fact Check: 15 Minutes In Sauna Will NOT Kill The Coronavirus
- Fact Check: A Dog Vaccine Can NOT Be Used To Inoculate People Against Coronavirus
- Fact Check: The CDC Is NOT Warning People The Morel Mushroom Increases Coronavirus Risk By 200%
- Fact Check: Baby Formula NOT Necessarily Being Shipped For Free During Coronavirus Outbreak
- Fact Check: Train Was NOT Marked With "COVID-19" On Its Side
- Fact Check: NOT 10,000 Deaths In Virus Outbreak in Michigan, Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, Missouri, Mississippi
- Fact Check: CDC Did NOT Recommend Men Shave Their Beards To Protect Against Coronavirus
- Fact Check: Florida Man NOT Arrested For Robbery Using Cough As A Weapon
- Fact Check: Lysol Products Can Kill Older Strains Of Coronavirus, But Tests Have NOT Scientifically Proven They Kill Novel Coronavirus
- Fact Check: Hair Weaves And Lace Front Wigs Made In China NOT Likely To Contain Coronavirus
- Fact Check: Scientists Did NOT Discover That Cocaine Kills Coronavirus
- Fact Check: NO Evidence Coronavirus Is Bioweapon Leaked From Wuhan Lab
- Fake News: Six Coronavirus Cases NOT Confirmed In Wichita, Kansas (Or Several Other U.S. Cities)
- Fake News: 20 Million Chinese Did NOT Convert To Islam, And It Was NOT Proven That Coronavirus Epidemic Did Not Afflict Muslims
- Fake News: NO Evidence To Support Claim From Bioweapons Expert Who Says Coronavirus Is Biological Warfare Weapon
- Fake News: Popping Bubble Wrap Does NOT Expose People To Coronavirus
- Fake News: Data From Windy.com Does NOT Show Massive Release Of Sulfur Dioxide Gas Near Wuhan
- Fake News: Latest Research Published By Chinese Scientists Did NOT Say Coronavirus Will Render Most Male Patients Infertile
- Fake News: NO Proof That High-Rise Buildings Have Become Human Incinerators To Combat Coronavirus
- Fake News: Residential Building NOT In Wuhan, NOT Set Ablaze To Control Coronavirus Spread