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

§ 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.


1994—Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $1,000”.

1973—Pub. L. 93–147 substituted “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].”


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