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
  • http://goodmorningeconomics.wordpress.com jsalvati

    I hope you notified the Arizona attorney general. That seems like a transparent attempt to defraud business owners.

  • http://www.thesavvyevent.blogspot.com Katie

    I received the identical letter today. Same address and everything.

  • Choi Lee

    Thank you for posting this scam! For small operations such as mine, it is easy to fall into this type of trap. I appreciate it. You pointed out at the bottom of the disclosure that:

    This product or service has not been approved or endorsed by any government agency and this offer is not being made by an agency of the government...

  • http://www.roomconx.com Robert Harris

    Please note that anyone in the State of California that receives this letter should make a copy of it for their files and send the original documents to the:

    Attorney Generals Office
    Attn: Howard Wayne
    110 West A St. # 1100
    San Diego, CA 92101

    They are investigating this company and will be taking action, so the more information the Attorney Generals Office receives - the better. If you wish to contact the department concerned the phone number is; 619-525-4244.

    Hope this helps!

  • Bonnie

    I received the same notice today, in Colorado. My business is registered in CA. Amazingly enough, this notice was forwarded to me by my attorney in Denver!! Thanks to the poster for alerting us to the scam!

  • Bonnie

    I received the same notice today, in Colorado. My business is registered in CA. Amazingly enough, this notice was forwarded to me by my attorney in Denver!! Thanks to the poster for alerting us to the scam!

  • DEBBIE

    I got the same letter this week. It looks similar to CA forms and has our corp number listed. I was trying to find information about the form on CA website and came across your website. Thanks for the alert!

  • John R.

    I received one today in AZ and called the AZ Corp. Comm. and they suggested that I contact the State Attorney General, which I did and filed a formal complaint. These people are dispicable! Small business is this country's backbone! There are always low-lifes out there and these are just another! Thanks for the notice!

  • http://alexanderphotography.info/blog/ Karen A.

    Thank you for sharing this information, I just recieved this as well and did a quick search for this "business" and found your site, pointing out the scam!

  • Kellie

    We received this notice for both of our companies and figured it might be bogus. Your site helped confirm. Thanks for posting this. I will be sending it into the Attorney General.

  • SABRINA

    our business just rec'd a letter and i had to do some investigation and found this was in fact a scam and thanks for your website i was able to verify just that
    i read the small print located in the right corner which says exactly what i assumed this is not government related

    sabrina
    administration
    owenscfs.com

  • Bev

    Our business just received the letter today. I needed the number to this department. Googled Board of Business Compliance for CA and this was one of the top search results. Thanks for the alert!!!

  • britt

    Thanks for posting this; confirmed my suspicions.

  • GB

    I recieved the same letter last week. Almost put a stamp on with the money enclosed!
    Thank you for keeping an eye out and letting all of us know about tricky thieves.

  • anita

    We too received the same notice and I became suspicious that it looks very similar to the Secretary of State (CA) invoice and they were charging more... I was researching them and came across your alert, Thank you!!! A poor economy seems to bring out the worst in people, they should be ashamed!

  • Josef

    Thanks for posting this! the business I work for received this letter today and i wasn't sure what to think... I had never seen a letter like this so i decided to research it. I'm in Phoenix, AZ

    Here is the AZ attorney general's contact info

    1275 West Washington Street
    Phoenix, AZ 85007
    602.542.5025
    800.352.8431 (toll free)
    Fax 602.542.4085

  • Pat

    I received this letter in todays mail. I contacted my accountant so that they could send out a mass e-mail and I plan to contact the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce as well.

  • Brandon

    I just received this last week and it seemed bogus so I checked the web to find out about the "Board of Business Compliance" and found your site. Thank you for the info and for the direction on where to send it (AG's office) so this company can be investigated.

  • john

    I am in Phoenix & received this this letter. Thanks for confirming the scam as I suspected. It didn't even appear legitimate to me. The adress is one of the mailbox stores in Phoenix. The bottom paragaraph says (d) this is a salutation for the order of service... Must be from one of the "we doan need no stinkng anglish langusih lesoms" crowd!!!

  • odm

    I received the letter today and supected it as a scam. Thanks for posting this as it affirmed my suspicion.

  • Sherry

    THANK YOU FROM ARIZONA! I called our Corporation Commission and they advised me to contact the Attorney Generals office. The AZ AG sent out a scam alert on this last week. You can sign up for email scam alerts from their office on their web site which I will now do as I nearly fell for this one.

  • Steve M

    We received this letter at our main office in Massachusetts. We have a small operation in Arizona and are less familiar with Arizona state government forms. Your post was what confirmed my suspicions that it was a fraud. The vagueness of the “agency’s” name is what gave me second thoughts. I suspect that if they had included the word Arizona in the title, I would not have done a Google search, and would have paid the $125. Thank you for the post.

  • Suzanne

    Thank you!! I just received the same notice; We have a Nevada corporation, but registered to do business in California. I was just getting ready to write the check...so glad that I googled the name of the document.

  • Melidee

    Thanks -- my "gut feeling" was that it was a very odd "bill." I'm glad I followed my feeling and checked this out. This entity should be shut down and prosecuted. It is very deceiving and unethical.

  • Jolin

    I received this official looking document in the mail today. As an "alien" doing business in this country, even if I had read the fine print, it would still be confusing figuring out the significance of "solicitation" as is practiced in this country. A big thank you for putting this on google!

  • Alice

    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.

  • Attorney

    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.

  • Jan

    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!

  • Linda

    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!

  • Lee

    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!

  • Edward

    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.

  • Lori

    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!

  • http://www.coolercouture.com Kristen

    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.

  • MELVIN HARDKOQUE

    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.

  • Liz

    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?"

  • Jodie

    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.

  • Kimberly Hill

    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.

  • Ryan Wijesinghe

    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.

  • http://www.acehomeloans.net Sharon Sanchez

    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.

  • Jack Mele

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

  • Ruben Scheimbert

    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.

  • http://www.cssresources.com Joe W

    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. :-)

  • Agat

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

    Thank you
    Agat

  • Rey A

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

  • Mary

    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.

  • Jack Wright

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

  • Fabrice

    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

  • Bambang Sutrisno

    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?

  • Suz

    Thank you so much....

  • Car

    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!