Strawman fraudsters offer access to secret cash stash: Internet Scambusters #470
The notion that the US Treasury holds a secret cash stash in
your name underlies a scam known as strawman fraud.
Crooks claim not only that they can help you gain access to
the account but also that you can make purchases and pay debts
just by scrawling a few words across bills.
This week, we explain the story behind the strawman legend and
how you can avoid being duped by the tricksters.
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Let’s get started…
Don’t Fall for this Strawman Scam
Although he was a likeable character in The Wizard of Oz
movie, the strawman is a much more sinister figure when it
comes to scams and fraud.
While the Oz creation was just a softhearted and lovable
scarecrow, the strawman, in some people’s minds, is a symbol
for a separate, alternative version of our personal
Without going into all the complexities, the basis of the
strawman concept is a belief that somehow the United States
government has “mortgaged” its citizens to the International
Monetary Fund in return for a sizeable cash sum.
With every birth — cha-ching! — the IMF supposedly pays the
US Treasury around $600,000. This money, so the argument goes,
is held in your strawman account and, if you can only access
it, you can redeem it to pay bills, and enjoy lots of other
That’s why proponents of this idea also refer to this as your
strawman redemption account.
The redemption process is also sometimes labeled as
“Acceptance for Value” or “A4V,” implying if you use this term
on any official bills you’re supposed to pay, it’s as good as
Stay with us on this while we explain a little more.
The distinguishing feature between you and your strawman is
that the strawman identity held by the US Treasury in the form
of a tradable bond uses only capital letters for your full
The judiciary, law enforcement and other key figures are said
to be in on this secret and, if you provide your name in all
capital letters, you’re also recognized as being “in the
know,” with access to your strawman account.
Furthermore, say believers, if you use all capital names on a
document, it is not legally binding.
Now, while all of this sounds far-fetched — and we don’t
intend to enter the frivolous debate about that — the real
causes for concern are the operations of fraudsters who charge
good money to supposedly help you find the way through the
system to access your strawman redemption account.
They peddle training kits, books, tapes and DVDs and even
offer consultations at $100 an hour. If you’re interested in
joining their little scam, you can pay them another $100 to
become an affiliate, picking up a commission each time they
make a sale through you.
Once you’re convinced about your strawman redemption account,
you need a whole set of forms, both for gaining access to the
supposed account and for making payments drawn on the account.
And, of course, the scammers happen to have a huge stock of
these from which they’ll happily sell you what they say you
If you send the Treasury your forms, which are a mixture of
bogus documents dressed up with semi-legal mumbo jumbo, and
genuine IRS forms (though not legitimate for this particular
use), your claim will be swiftly and curtly dismissed.
But the fraudsters, if you happen to know how to contact them
again, will claim you’ve submitted the forms in the wrong
order or that you made a mistake filling them in.
And, if you try to use any of the payment documents, you’ll
pretty quickly find yourself in hot water.
If you think all this sounds unbelievable, it’s worth knowing
that hundreds, if not thousands, of these applications have
been submitted by US citizens, while many more individuals
have ended up in court for using documents for tax avoidance
or even big ticket purchases.
Some of the scammers have been jailed.
And, just to be clear: There has never been a single
verifiable case of anybody identifying the existence of a
secret Treasury account in their name, let alone getting their
hands on any of this mythical money.
Plus, of course, it’s never clear how, if you’ve been sold
into serfdom to the IMF, who’s making the mortgage payments!
And where does the IMF, whose founding was largely influenced
by the US, get its $600,000 payments from? Think about that.
The strawman redemption scam is one of those things that might
seem amusing if it wasn’t so serious. Serious enough for the
FBI to issue an alert.
Here’s what they say:
“This scheme predominately uses fraudulent financial documents
that appear to be legitimate. These documents are frequently
referred to as ‘bills of exchange,’ ‘promissory bonds,’
‘indemnity bonds,’ ‘offset bonds,’ ‘sight drafts,’ or
“In addition, other official documents are used outside of
their intended purpose, like IRS forms 1099, 1099-OID, and
8300. This scheme frequently intermingles legal and pseudo
legal terminology in order to appear lawful. Notaries may be
used in an attempt to make the fraud appear legitimate.”
Avoiding this type of fraud is just a matter of ignoring
people who make these claims, sell materials they say will
help you get at your strawman account, say you don’t have to
pay your income tax, or claim you can make a payment simply by
writing “acceptance for value” on the bill.
You can read the FBI alert on the Bureau’s fraud page, Common Fraud Schemes, which also covers a number of other scam topics.
And, if you ever do encounter the strawman, it’ll most likely
be on the Yellow Brick Road!
Time to conclude for today — have a great week!