WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Dozens of Austrians have received $1200 US stimulus checks through the mail the past few months and cashed them, according to The Washington Post.
- Last month, NPR reported that there have been similar cases in at least 129 other countries.
- Those who received the checks were individuals who worked in the US at some point.
Dozens of Austrian citizens have received $1,200 coronavirus stimulus checks from the US government, according to a report from The Washington Post.
Austria’s public broadcaster ORF reported Monday that at least 100 of the checks were recently deposited at two different banks in the country.
Manfred Barnreiter of Linz was one of the recipients. The 73-year-old retiree was surprised when he opened his mailbox to find a check from the US Treasury signed by President Donald Trump. His initial thought was it was a scam.
He “thought it’s pretty interesting — let’s bring it to the bank,” he told ORT, and got the money three days after cashing the check.
Barnreiter said he had no idea why he qualified for the payment meant for Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But Barnreiter believes it’s because he has worked as a waiter in New Jersey for a few years in the 1960s, and as a result receives a small pension from the US.
But Barnreiter’s wife also received the stimulus check, despite her never having even traveled to the United States. Neither are US citizens or live in the country — both requirements to be eligible for the payments.
Bank managers in Austria said it’s likely the checks were sent overseas by mistake. Some of the recipients had been US taxpayers at one point, including a couple of former au-pairs who previously lived in the US.
Barnreiter said he planned to spend the money in the US once the travel restrictions are lifted.