18 U.S. Code § 712 - Misuse of names, words, emblems, or insignia

Whoever, in the course of collecting or aiding in the collection of private debts or obligations, or being engaged in furnishing private police, investigation, or other private detective services, uses or employs in any communication, correspondence, notice, advertisement, or circular the words “national”, “Federal”, or “United States”, the initials “U.S.”, or any emblem, insignia, or name, for the purpose of conveying and in a manner reasonably calculated to convey the false impression that such communication is from a department, agency, bureau, or instrumentality of the United States or in any manner represents the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.


(Added Pub. L. 86–291, § 1,Sept. 21, 1959, 73 Stat. 570; amended Pub. L. 93–147, § 1(a),Nov. 3, 1973, 87 Stat. 554; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(H),Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)

1994—Pub. L. 103–322substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $1,000”.
1973—Pub. L. 93–147substituted “Misuse of names, words, emblems, or insignia” for “Misuse of names by collecting agencies or private detective agencies to indicate Federal agency” in section catchline and substituted “in the course” and “such communication is from a department” for “being engaged in the business” and “such business is a department” respectively, and struck out “as part of the firm name of such business,” after “detective services, uses”.
Effective Date

Pub. L. 86–291, § 2,Sept. 21, 1959, 73 Stat. 570, provided that: “The provisions of this section [enacting this section] shall become effective sixty days from the enactment thereof [Sept. 21, 1959].”

The table below lists the classification updates, since Jan. 3, 2012, for this section. Updates to a broader range of sections may be found at the update page for containing chapter, title, etc.

The most recent Classification Table update that we have noticed was Tuesday, August 13, 2013

An empty table indicates that we see no relevant changes listed in the classification tables. If you suspect that our system may be missing something, please double-check with the Office of the Law Revision Counsel.

18 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large


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