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Winning something for nothing fraud schemes

The U.S. Treasury is not looking to give you money from secret bank accounts as one scam alleges the FBI says.
The U.S. Treasury is not looking to give you money from secret bank accounts as one scam alleges the FBI says.Wikimedia Commons

One of the common fraud schemes currently being perpetrated on people at this time is the Redemption Strawman Bond Fraud, according to the FBI. In this fraud people are told that the U.S. government or the Treasury Department control bank accounts known as U.S. Treasury Direct Accounts. And that for a fee you can learn how to submit legal paperwork to state and federal authorities in order to access these accounts so you can discharge your debts and purchase homes and cars or other merchandise with these funds.

Many people believe that Uncle Sam has monies in the treasury that should be returned to Americans, and that idea is built upon by ads in publications that talk about dead people with no relatives leaving behind estates no one has claimed. So it is understandable why some people fall for this scam, especially immigrants unfamiliar with how the U.S. Treasury really works.

First off, however, is the fact that the government does not control every U.S. citizen's bank account. And they don't have any secret bank accounts just waiting to be dispensed to the person who can produce certain documents either. And while the scam artists in this case do use normal legal government documents in their effort to lend credibility to this scheme, the documents are being used outside their intended purpose.

For example, IRS form 1099 is oftentimes used in an effort to convince the public that this scam is legitimate in nature, as most people have heard of that official form and even know what it looks like, even if they don't fully understand its use. So they think the person with the form is legitimate.

Avoid this scam by understanding these facts:

  • Paying state and federal income tax is required. This scam says it is not necessary to pay them.
  • The U.S. Treasury does not control all bank accounts for U.S. citizens.
  • You cannot avoid paying a speeding ticket, tax bill, or any other bill by simply writing "acceptance for value" on it.
  • Don't purchase a kit meant to teach you how to access "secret bank accounts".

To learn more about other common fraud schemes visit FBI.gov. To learn about the most recent phone scams like "ring and run" or "dial and disconnect" click here.