Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Dept. of the Treasury--the scam

I just got a call from an automated voice purporting to be someone from the Department of the Treasury. Unfortunately, I took the call, so I don't have a recording of it and am reconstructing from memory. The voice gave a name and said he was calling from the Department of the Treasury and that I was wanted in some serious financial matter, in, I think, Maryland. It said this was the second time they had attempted to contact me and that I should call back a certain number and talk to a federal agent.

Now, luckily, I am pretty sure that I do not have any pending business back east and I am always a bit dubious of an electronic voice telling me to do anything, but as there's always the slight anxiety that you have done something terribly wrong on your tax return or something like that, I decided I would look up and see if there was such a thing as a Department of the Treasury scam. And sure enough, there was. Or I should say, there are, because there are many of them.

Here's what I found on the Department of the Treasury website:

"There are numerous telephone and email scams in which individuals claim to be employees of the Treasury Department.  These scammers often state that they are from the “Department of Legal Affairs,” offer grant money in exchange for you wiring a small payment, or threaten to arrest you within a short period of time unless payment is made. Do not provide personal information or payment to these individuals.  Their actions are crimes under Titles 18 and 31 of the United States Code, and the Treasury Office of Inspector General is working to stop them."

Unlike me, you may have the presence of mind, or better yet, get a recording of this kind of phone call. If so, you can report it all to the Department of the Treasury. They will want:

  • the exact date and time that you received the call(s)
  • the phone number of the caller
  • the geographic location and time zone where you received the call
  • a description of the communication.
Go to the website mentioned above for the email to contact. 

As with so many of these types of things, forewarned is forearmed. 


  1. These are the kinds of things it's good to spread the word about, even in a small way, I think.