Friday, November 21, 2014

The Legal Affairs Department of the United States Treasury...

...Does not exist. Let me just get that out of the way first: there is no such thing as the Legal Affairs Department of the U.S. Treasury.

I mention this because I came home the other night to find a message on our answering machine from a "Sharon Martin", who -- in an accent so palpably thick that I honestly couldn't tell whether it was Indian or Jamaican -- claimed to be representing the Legal Affairs Department of the Treasury, and to be giving notice of a legal action being initiated against {Beautiful Wife's first name}. She then a gave a phone number, and suggested that if we were unable to call ourselves, we should have our attorney call them. It is, in other words, a message that was purpose-built to scare the living &*^% out of people.

Admittedly, it would have been a lot more terrifying if I hadn't had to play it back three times before I could manage to decipher the woman's accent.

Still, since this is the sort of stress that none of us need in our lives - especially at this time of year - and since the scam must work at least some of the time (or else they wouldn't be using it), I'd just like to point out a few warning signs that you should keep in mind if you get a call like this:
1. There's no such thing as the Department of Legal Affairs of the U.S. Treasury. Did I mention that?
2. Even if there were, the Treasury is not responsible for collecting taxes.
3. Legitimate legal notifications do not come from random strangers phoning you up, no matter how stern or authoritative they might sound. The legal system and the federal government are both inordinately fond of paperwork. Calling people up, not so much.
4. Even if you actually owe the government money, they will not demand that you pay it right this minute, or else LEGAL ACTION. No, not even in Obama's America. Despite what some people apparently like to believe, Teh Gummint doesn't work that way. They will have sensible methods to accept payments, which will not involve things like wire transfers or asking for your credit card number.
There seems to be quite a lot of this going around, so be warned and be wary.


  1. I got the same scam. I received a call from the Department of Legal Affairs of the U.S. Treasury, letting me know there was a legal action taken against me. I listened to the message 4 times and still couldn't determine the person's name or "what" suit was being filed.The accent was so thick, I barely understood the message. I called the number just for laughs...of course, as soon as I asked who the agency was, they immediately hung up. I have also had similar calls claiming they are an IRS agency. As noted in the blog, when the government wants anything from you, it comes in writing first!

  2. Thank you for posting! I received a call for my husband a couple of days ago and just now received one in my name.The person calling my husband identified himself as "Brandon Carter" who did threatened my husband even implying if he didn't pay he would be taken to jail! The woman who called me did leave a message and identified herself as "Sharon Martin", both of which have very heavy accents. I called our tax attorney's and was warned and instructed unless you have received numerous notices via US Mail in writing from the IRS that is a SCAM!!!! and to forward the message to the IRS. I continued my web search and came across your post.


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