Unsolicited Phone Calls, Text Messages, or Emails Purporting to be from the Treasury Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, FinCEN, OFAC, the Treasury “Office of Legal Affairs”, or even from the Secretary of the Treasury, are frauds.
There are several variations of this: in one, scammers call an individual asserting that the individual has been awarded a grant or a similar sum of money and requests personal information or a sum of money/gift cards (iTunes, Steam, etc) to “release” the funds. The Treasury does not have any such programs. Likewise, e-mails or messages that seem to be from the Treasury that request information or demand a fee for a release of funds from OFAC or FinCEN holds are entirely fake. We urge recipients of such calls or e-mails to be extremely wary of any scheme requiring an advance payment for a later promise of funds—these are hallmarks of scams.
You may find up-to-date information about individual economic impact payments under the CARES Act at Economic Impact Payments: What You Need to Know. Currently, there are no federal programs for direct grants, reimbursements, or any other type of individual financial payments other than that.
Be aware that scammers use a number of means to try to apply pressure in a transaction so that individuals do not have time to think about the truthfulness or legitimacy of the swindle, including statements that various goods or programs are of limited quantity or duration. This is a hallmark of fraud—please slow down, and take the necessary time to think and check the information through unconnected sources.
A number of resources are available to identify and report fraud, including:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: The FTC in Action
- National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF)
- Department of Justice Resources
If you receive a letter from the Bureau of the Fiscal Service notifying you of funds offset, you may obtain further information about this program, contact points, and helpful resources at Bureau of the Fiscal Service - Contact Us and its linked pages.
A similar scam is a caller falsely representing that he is from the Internal Revenue Service or impersonating an investigator from this Office and demanding payment or information. These callers have been described as threatening or abusive and tell victims they need to make immediate payment to forestall arrest. THESE ARE FRAUDS. PLEASE EXERCISE CAUTION IN YOUR DEALINGS WITH ANYONE PURPORTING TO BE FROM A GOVERNMENT AGENCY AND DEMANDING MONEY OR INFORMATION. Further information concerning one type of these frauds is available at IRS Warning about Phone Scams.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury), Office of Inspector General, also investigates individuals' use of fraudulent Treasury-related financial obligations or accounts to attempt purchases or pay debts. Swindlers create and attempt use fraudulent promissory notes and/or private bonds both domestically and internationally as vehicles to defraud investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Many of these schemes are variations of a common fraud generally known as "redemption" or "acceptance for value" that incorrectly asserts the United States government has trust accounts linked to each citizen. This is also a theory linked to the ‘sovereign citizen’ movement, extremists of which are classified as domestic terrorists. The theory is not supported in fact or law and has been soundly rejected by the federal courts. Perpetrators will annotate or stamp invoices with "Accept for Value" or similar language, with various numbers purporting to be account numbers. Such annotations are without merit and establish no rights or privileges in any federal or state account or agency.
In a variation on this fraudulent scheme, individuals obtain routing numbers assigned to a Treasury or Federal Reserve location, and use these numbers to make the false notes appear genuine.
At times, these fraudsters hold seminars throughout the United States or on YouTube, teaching attendees how to create these fictitious documents and how to use federal routing numbers. Be advised that TREASURY BUREAUS AND THE TREASURY DIRECT PROGRAM DO NOT HOLD CHECKING ACCOUNTS FOR PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS, and they will NOT honor any of these checks. Participating in these scams can result in serious criminal and civil penalties.
It is also a violation of Federal Law to misuse the Treasury seal or the words, titles, symbols, or emblems of the Treasury Department, or any service, bureau, office or Treasury subdivision; see 31 U.S.C. 333.
Click the links below for specific information on sample fraudulent schemes and documents that falsely use name of Treasury bureaus and/or officials. These and similar documents are NOT valid negotiable financial instruments and recipients should NOT accept them or attempt to use them.
NEW FRAUD ALERTS
A scam promising victims sums of money for prior contract or fraud losses is using the names of Treasury officials and a California attorney, Brian D. Jacobs. Be advised that this is a particularly insidious scam using the name of a licensed attorney as well as Treasury officials, and that the scammers have often done research on the victims to be able to provide documents that add verisimilitude to their scam. This is a type of advance fee scheme that has targeted people both in the United States and Canada.
-Learn about the types of securities, how they are sold, and how book-entry securities are held. - How Marketable Treasury Securities Work
-Find out more about the renting, leasing, or blocking of Treasury securities. - Scams Involving Treasury Securities
-See example of phony securities and learn more about the scams. - Examples of Known Phony Securities
-Learn about the many scams involving historical bonds. - Historical Bond Fraud
-Find out about the different types of fraud, and important buzzwords and red flags to watch for. Also, get links for investigative help. - Prime Bank Instrument Fraud
-Useful tips that will help protect you from scams. - How to Protect Yourself from Investment Scams
-Links to resources that will help you protect yourself from fraud. - Other Fraud Sites of Interest
-See examples of illegal solicitous mailings made to appear like official federal government communication. - Prohibition Against Misuse of Treasury Names, Terms, Symbols, Stationary, Etc.
-Warnings issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; examples of fraudulent drafts. - Bogus Sight Drafts/Bills of Exchange Drawn on the Treasury