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Scam Alert: "Annual Minutes" Mailers Target Small Businesses

Posted By Rick Murray, Arizona Small Business Association, Monday, May 23, 2016

View original article here.  


For Immediate Release: May 17, 2016
Contact: Mia Garcia (602) 339-5895 or Mia.Garcia@azag.gov

SCAM ALERT: "Annual Minutes" Mailers Targeting Small Businesses Are Back in Arizona

PHOENIX – Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is warning consumers to be cautious of mailings that claim consumers owe money for an “Annual Minutes” or “Annual Corporate Minutes” requirement for their businesses. The Attorney General’s Office recently received complaints that such solicitations are again being mailed to small businesses in Arizona.

The mailers often include the words “notice” or “statement.”  They also provide an arbitrary deadline to respond. There may be a blank form, inside of the mailer, that asks the recipient to fill in the names of the officers and directors of its business.  The form may also seek other contact information, and then asks for a payment for $125 to $150 dollars.

Many consumers have been tricked into thinking they are filling out a mandatory form and returning it to a government agency.  The forms may look like legitimate government documents but they are not.  The forms are particularly misleading because corporations are required to file an Annual Report with the Arizona Corporation Commission and pay a fee.  However, annual reports for Arizona corporations are filed electronically with the Arizona Corporation Commission. The Commission does not mail a reminder that an annual report is due.
 
These mailers primarily affect “mom and pop” businesses, causing them to waste hard-earned money on a fictitious requirement that appears to come from a government agency.  After the fee is paid, the business will receive boilerplate “minutes” forms that provide little to no value.
 
AG Brnovich Offers the Following Consumer Tips:

  • Carefully read and review any mailers that appear to be government documents.
  • Annual reports for Arizona corporations are filed electronically with the Arizona Corporation Commission.  Businesses can sign up to receive email alerts from the Commission regarding their annual report.  The Commission does not currently mail a reminder that an annual report is coming due.
  • If you have questions regarding required filings for Arizona corporations, please contact the Arizona Corporation Commission at (602) 542-3026, or toll-free within Arizona at 1(800) 345-5819, or visit the Commission’s website at https://www.azcc.gov(link is external).

If you believe you have been a victim of consumer fraud, please contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6504, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at 1(800) 352-8431.  Consumers can also file complaints online by visiting the Attorney General’s website at https://www.azag.gov/complaints/consumer.

For additional information, members of the media may contact Mia Garcia, Director of Media Relations at (602) 339-5895 or Mia.Garcia@azag.gov.

To view an example of an "Annual Minutes" Scam Letter, CLICK HERE

 

Tags:  Arizona  entrepreneur  small business 

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