Treachery Afoot: Be Aware of Some Business-Related Scams

Stan Rose, Managing Director, Tax Practice
December 2012

In a previous newsletter article, we warned of some scams whereby a party posing as the IRS attempts to obtain personal information from taxpayers.  That ploy apparently is unusually effective, likely because the notices look real and because no one cares to get on the bad side of the IRS!  Some more scammers posing as authorities are now in on the action.  While the goal of the IRS scams is identity and/or refund theft, the goal of the scams addressed by this article is collection of a large number of relatively small dollar amounts.  The scammers are again posing as agencies of government.

Here are two letters that have come to our attention targeting businesses.  While these are only two examples (related to corporations in New York and Massachusetts), scams similar to these are common in other states, as well.  These letters appear on official-looking documents and reference the need for recipients to maintain corporate minutes.  When read very carefully, the letters technically may not state anything untruthful, but they clearly are designed to imply that a small fee is required to comply with legal requirements.  The letters look very much like legitimate correspondence received on an annual basis from a Secretary of State, requesting payment of annual corporate filing fees.  In fact, the amounts are similar to such fees ($120 and $125, respectively).  The combination of the appearance of the notices, the references to legitimate rules and the relatively small, and familiar-looking dollar amount requested (which may be deemed inexpensive enough to not be worth pursuing) apparently have made ploys like these very lucrative to the scammers.

While it is impossible to stay ahead of all of these schemes, the ones referenced above are quickly and easily identified as phony with a quick internet search.  We encourage our readers to be aware the scammers can be increasingly creative and may be more effective, ironically, due to their lack of greediness.  Please be suspicious of any such correspondence.

If you would like to discuss further, please call your BNN advisor or Stan Rose.

Disclaimer of Liability: This publication is intended to provide general information to our clients and friends. It does not constitute accounting, tax, or legal advice; nor is it intended to convey a thorough treatment of the subject matter.

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