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Scam Alert: Board of Business Compliance

This may not be of much interest to regular readers, but is being posted so future recipients of this letter may find this article when searching in Google. 

I got this in the mail the other day (click to enlarge)
Board_of_business_compliance_scam

It is laid out to mirror the typical format of a state annual report or business license renewal form.  It purports to be from a government-sounding "Board of Business Compliance."  The layout and wording is very similar to the California State required annual report form, as is the $125 fee the letter claims is "now due."  Only in the really fine print near the bottom right does it admit to being a business solicitation. 

Beware.  Despite all their efforts to fool you, filling out this form and filing this $125 fee is not required by any government agency.   I am not sure if you pay money to this group whether you will actually receive any services (I did not pay).  But I will observe that there is absolutely no way that a third party could create a legally meaningful set of minutes for your company based on the information in this form.  Remember, though, that it is important for small corporations to keep their minutes in order -- but I am pretty sure this is not the best way to do it.

Business that must be obtained this way is not worth having, at least in my book. 

Postscript:  One might ask, how can anyone fall for this?  The biggest problem is the government itself.  Doing business in 12 states, 20 counties, and a number of large municipalities, I get literally a hundred "legitimate" forms like this requiring a $50-$150 filing fee from government institutions all the time.  This form, at first, looks more legitimate than say, the application for egg license I get from two states (which are in fact real government requirements). 

PPS:  Don't even get me started on yellow page vendors, directory listing providers, and companies claiming your URL registration is expiring.

UPDATE: Apparently one of the commenters included contact information at the California AG.  The AG's office has written me asking to have comments and concerns about this issue routed to a different address.  I think poor Mr. Wayne was deluged with a bunch of complaints.  Here is what they sent me as their preferred alternative contact information:

 

Complaints may be filed with the California Attorney General's Office by mail, telephone, fax, the Internet, or email:
 
MAILING ADDRESS:
 
Attorney General's Office
California Department of Justice
Attn: Public Inquiry Unit
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

TELEPHONE:   1-800-952-5225 (Toll-free in CA) or (916) 322-3360
 
FAX:   (916) 323-5341

WEBSITE:   http://ag.ca.gov/consumers
 
EMAIL:   piu@doj.ca.gov

Posted on July 23, 2008 at 01:59 PM | Permalink

Comments

I got this too in Illinois. There is a similar one making the rounds from California Corporate Servcies. They ask for $150.00 filing fee. Watch out for that one too.

Posted by: Alice | Jul 31, 2008 9:25:33 AM

Thanks for posting. I am an attorney with a large corporation and we received this for one of our divisions and your site helped to confirm my suspiciions.

Posted by: Attorney | Jul 31, 2008 9:30:05 AM

I received the same letter. Since I'm in the home selling business and have a PC, it was obvious this was a scam. I have been receiving lots of mail in varying forms that lead up to this. When I've tried to research any of it, I reached a dead end! Thanks for posting this!

Posted by: Jan | Jul 31, 2008 11:39:49 AM

Our company is located in VA and registered to do business in most states, including CA. I got this letter a couple of days ago and decided to check it further on-line. Glad I saw your posting. I'll be on the lookout for similar letters for other states. Sent my copy to the Attorney General. It's bad enough that we have to file so much legitimate paperwork, now this!

Posted by: Linda | Aug 1, 2008 2:21:27 PM

I received this letter from The Renewal Center in the postal mail a few days ago. I was pretty sure my fictitious business name (DBA) was not up for renewal but logged-in to the County Recorder's web site and did a Fictitious Business Name search for my company name to see what the official records showed. Sure enough, my Fictitious Business Name (DBA) fee is not due for another year, but this letter suggests it is up for renewal this year this year, a full 12 months ahead of time.

The Renewal Center asked for a fee of $125. The actual cost of renewing my DBA with the County Clerk? A mere $23! That's $102 less than The Renewal Center is requesting.

Although the mailed form clearly states that it is a solicitation and the recipient is under no obligation to pay the amount stated, it's still an insult to think that companies like this exist and profit from business people in consumed with the chores of conducting business.

Beware!

Posted by: Lee | Aug 2, 2008 9:00:08 PM

Thank you so much. It is so helpful when I can go on line and search these fraud bills and get this information. There are a few of these companies soliciting "now due" payments. be careful people and read the fine print. these fraud forms seem to be the new hustle.

Posted by: Edward | Aug 3, 2008 2:11:45 AM

I received this letter yesterday, it looks very real except that they included a "zero" in front of the corp number. So, my gut told me to check it out and I came across this web-site. I am so tired of so called "companies" ripping the "little" people off. I really appreciate all your help. Thanks a million!

Posted by: Lori | Aug 5, 2008 11:06:47 AM

thanks for this posting- I almost mailed a check but did a search online just before-- glad I did!. I just spoke with Mr. Wayne at the address for the attorney general in San Diego. He requested we send it to the exact address but do not call! He is recieving a lot of calls about this.

Posted by: Kristen | Aug 5, 2008 3:43:36 PM

Thanks...I almost bought in to this....thank gosh I just got the papers for my share of ownership of the space shuttle. I thought I was out 50 grand.

Posted by: MELVIN HARDKOQUE | Aug 6, 2008 12:46:39 PM

thanks for posting this! i am an attorney, and i did indeed find it in a google search, after one of my clients forwarded the form to me, saying "didn't we already file our annual statement in california?"

Posted by: Liz | Aug 6, 2008 4:56:34 PM

Received the same letter last week and immediately was suspicious since it was not from the AZ Corporation Commission. Googled it and found the warning on the scam from our Atty General. I also noted the zip code from where it was mailed was not an AZ zipcode.

Posted by: Jodie | Aug 6, 2008 5:07:29 PM

I've been a corporate paralegal for over 10 years and I get these often. Often they make it into the hands of other departments who immediately give them to me. I throw them in the trash as that's what they are.

Posted by: Kimberly Hill | Aug 8, 2008 3:25:30 PM

Received the same letter this week. We are an Air conditioning contracting firm in Los Angeles. I will definitely send a copy to the Attorney General's office. Thanks for alerting the business community about this scam.

Posted by: Ryan Wijesinghe | Aug 9, 2008 9:00:52 AM

I just received an Annual Statement Disclosure and I'm sure glad I found the Blog. I didn't think it was legitimate. So I went online to check it out. I keep a copy and sent the original to the attorney generals office. Thanks to everyone for your posting.

Posted by: Sharon Sanchez | Aug 11, 2008 9:13:27 AM

YEP!! Just what I thought.... Thanks for the confirmation

Posted by: Jack Mele | Aug 11, 2008 7:43:56 PM

Thank you for this blog. You saved me $125.00. Thank you for making Attorney General Howard Wayne available. If you have not met him, his is a very nice guy.

Posted by: Ruben Scheimbert | Aug 13, 2008 1:16:31 PM

Yep .. me too ... got it yesterday ... not patting myself on the back too much ... but it did have a smell when it came out of the envelope. :-)

Posted by: Joe W | Aug 14, 2008 5:00:35 AM

Thank you for posting, you just saved me $125.00.
I did think it was a formal goverment/state letter.

Thank you
Agat

Posted by: Agat | Aug 14, 2008 7:58:04 AM

Glad I did a search. I was quite skeptical because we keep up with compliance. Thanks for the posts!

Posted by: Rey A | Aug 14, 2008 5:33:12 PM

I am so glad this was posted. I was wondering why there wasn't a phone number on the document because I've never paid this before. Thank you for posting this so I didn't lose $125.

Posted by: Mary | Aug 15, 2008 12:17:24 PM

Thanks for announcing this. There are SO MANY scams out there!!!

Posted by: Jack Wright | Aug 17, 2008 10:03:57 AM

Thank you for your posting, this document was looking kind of suspicious but I almost fell for it, I 'm glad to have done some research and that you were here to help.
I will definitely send a copy to the Attorney Generals Office.

Thank you

Posted by: Fabrice | Aug 17, 2008 9:04:26 PM

I got the letter from Board of Business Compliance 2 days ago and I foolishly mailed the check to them and cancelled the check the next day. How we stop these people from frauding people?

Posted by: Bambang Sutrisno | Aug 20, 2008 12:43:55 PM

Thank you so much....

Posted by: Suz | Aug 20, 2008 6:08:50 PM

Just receive the same one today. Thank you! I was wondering if that was real. But remember my bookkeeper once told me file the minuites divsion should be free of charge. Thank you! Save my company. Not only the $125 also the private info that we would give out from the form!

Posted by: Car | Aug 21, 2008 9:36:40 AM

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