Board of Business Center Disclosure Scam

It seems like more and more scams are welcoming themselves into my life recently.  This one is probably one of the scumiest scams I’ve come across since it’s one of those scams which look convincingly realistic.

board-of-business-disclosure-statement-front-11

So for anyone who has applied or gone through the process of opening and filing their own paper work for a small business they know there is a lot of different papers and forms that need to be filled out, signed, and filed with their state government.  A lot of these forms you have to pay different fees to get processed.  You kind of get immune to all the forms.

However, just recently I received this letter and from in the mail from the “Board of Business Center” asking me to “remit payment: $175.”  When I first saw this I was like “what!  More forms and bills to pay?”  But then I was mentally going through my checklist of stuff to see if indeed this was something I needed to pay…but thought something was very fishy for several reasons:

  • It was from the Board of Business Center — all the forms I had received up till now were always from the California Secretary of State, this was some state-less Board of Business Center.
  • The address (PO Box 39876, Los Angeles CA 90039) I was supposed to send payment was LA — all of the small business stuff is handled in Sacramento, the capital, why send to LA?
  • The fine print on the back of the form — the back says “upon receipt of your payment Board of Business Center will deliver the Statement of Information to the Office of California Secretary of State in a timely manner with the State Fees.  Luckily I had just sent my Statement of Information so why would they need to deliver this again for me?

All these little clues just tipped me off to the fact that this thing was some kind of scam.  So I finally googled it and found a very similar looking letter, but for a different document that needs to be filed with the State.

According to the link above I posted one of the commenters works for the California Attorney General’s office and is investigating these scammers.  If you run across a similar letter as the one I posted you’re urged to contact them.  Info below:

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 94244-2550TELEPHONE:   1-800-952-5225 (Toll-free in CA) or (916) 322-3360
FAX:   (916) 323-5341

WEBSITE:   http://ag.ca.gov/consumers

In the spirit of sharing and hoping that someone googles the scam letter I got so they don’t lose out $175 I’ve posted scans of the letter I’ve received and made a post here.  The things people will do to make a buck.

Comments 45

  1. Nancy wrote:

    Thanks for sharing. I got the same form in the mail & thought it was odd. I already paid my statement of information to the Sec of State for $25…now these scammers want me to pay them $125. Of course there’s no phone number call for questions. AND there’s no fine print about them forwarding to the Sec of State.

    I’m definitely filing a complaint.

    Posted 19 Aug 2009 at 10:22 am
  2. ben wrote:

    That’s a good point about not having a phone number to call to ask questions…I forgot that made me suspciscious as well. Hopefully they get these guys to stop. Though, part of me has to hand it to these guys for being clever, but it’s never good when it’s at another’s expense…

    Posted 19 Aug 2009 at 12:57 pm
  3. Latay wrote:

    I just got this letter in the mail. Sitting right next to me. Just like you, when I received it, I was angry. But..I noticed it did not say secretary of state and it also say that ” This is not a government document” on the envelope. I looked for a telephone number and could not find one. I have a checklist of everything I needed to file and this is a SCAM. It has scam written all over it, so hopefully no one falls for this. Thank the world for the internet to research crap like this.

    Posted 19 Aug 2009 at 6:35 pm
  4. Carolina wrote:

    We just got the EXACT same letter you scanned and put here, it even had the 8/13/2009 date. We must have been mailed letters from the same lot as you. I hope news of this scam gets propagated fast, it’s really scummy like you said. Thanks so much for posting this.

    Posted 19 Aug 2009 at 8:38 pm
  5. rikdaddy wrote:

    Thanks for the info. Yeah, someone should shut these chumps down. Ripping people off.
    http://rikdaddy.com/wordpress/2009/08/business-filing-division-scam-artists/

    Posted 19 Aug 2009 at 11:10 pm
  6. Sophia wrote:

    Thank you for posting this! I received the same notice after filing the Statement of Information. Noticed all of the same things as those mentioned above, also noticed the lines at the bottom above “Title” and “Signature” are lacking adequate space. So frustrating that a scam like this exists and is the source of such a waste of time. Thanks again for the heads up!

    Posted 20 Aug 2009 at 9:26 am
  7. ben wrote:

    I’m glad people people are willing to share and “google” can make this stuff searchable…otherwise I might be at least out $175 if not more… Maybe there’s a business somewhere in this whole scamming ordeal…like scam artist bounty hunters. Look out scammers, here comes Cat, the Bounty Hunter!

    Posted 20 Aug 2009 at 3:51 pm
  8. George Gilbert wrote:

    like most of you I got this also.
    suspicious as I am
    I noted envelope. no a gov. doc.
    will file.

    Posted 21 Aug 2009 at 5:49 pm
  9. Eric Atwood wrote:

    I also got the same letter! I almost sent the check. I talked about it with my wife and friend. It suddenly dawned on me it was a scam when I read what it was supposed to do. Statement of Information costs $20. This letter is complete bullshit. Thank you for posting it.

    Posted 23 Aug 2009 at 7:57 pm
  10. Harry Iyer wrote:

    Thanks Ben. I also received a similar letter requesting a payment of $125 to be paid immediately. It never mentioned in whose favor the cheque was to made to and of course there was no contact number. That made me suspicious. So I googled BOBC and nothing came up. When I googled the address your posting came up.

    Posted 25 Aug 2009 at 1:10 pm
  11. ben wrote:

    Glad I was able to be of some use. After I got my letter and googled it myself and didn’t come up with anything right away so I figured it might be good to put up my letter and hopefully have google index the post so other people could find it :)

    Posted 25 Aug 2009 at 1:57 pm
  12. john wrote:

    Thank you for posting. I knew something was fishy too.

    Posted 25 Aug 2009 at 5:32 pm
  13. Siegfried M. wrote:

    Thanks for putting this out there, I received this letter and same as you I thought “damn, just paid legal zoom to get all my LLC documents filed etc. and now this”. But suspicious as I am, there were all these little things that didn’t add up, no tel#, P.O.Box in L.A., $175 fee SHOULD be submitted etc. Just googled it and your posting came up. I’ll e-mail the attorney general’s office and hopefully somebody can put this scum away.

    Posted 31 Aug 2009 at 10:32 am
  14. Phelan wrote:

    I received one of the same letters from PO Box 39876, Los Angeles CA 90039 and also another letter from:
    Committee of Corporate Compliance
    2443 Fair Oaks Blvd, Room 1401
    Sacramento, CA 95825

    I would assume that one is a scam as well.

    Thanks for posting this information. Businesses have enough to contend with, without scams like these.

    Posted 31 Aug 2009 at 2:42 pm
  15. Phelan wrote:

    Oh, found another scam letter for $150.00.
    Compliance Annual Minutes Board
    P.O. Box 6202
    Murrieta, CA 92564

    I’d assume these are semi-legit businesses taking advantage of naive business owners and their employees. For the note, you can do all this stuff yourself w/o 3rd party companies.

    Posted 31 Aug 2009 at 2:49 pm
  16. ben wrote:

    Hi Phelan, glad I was able to help you out as well as others. Thanks for also posting up the additional scam that you found. It looks like these scammers will find any way to make a buck…at someone else’s expense.

    Posted 31 Aug 2009 at 2:53 pm
  17. Seth wrote:

    I got one of these and realized after i sent the check. Mine said make checks to Business Filing Center and was for 239.00 and said i would be fined 250 dollars if if did pay by August 31st. I called Bank of America and stopped payment on it so hopefully that will help.

    Posted 31 Aug 2009 at 3:03 pm
  18. Victor wrote:

    Thanks for sharing all your comments. I received the same letter title, “Disclosure Statement-Board of Business Center.” It asks for $125 with the words “DUE NOW” to be sent to BOBC, P.O. Box 39876, Los Angeles,CA 90039.

    When I saw the P.O. Box, that automatically raised a red flag so I Googled the company and sure enough, this is a SCAM!

    Thanks guys for saving me $125! How about some jail time for these scammers?

    Posted 01 Sep 2009 at 5:54 pm
  19. ben wrote:

    Seth, glad you were able to catch this at least and hopefully you were able to stop that payment. I wonder how much these guys make out with…surprising this is legal…it’s no different than if I started pulling over people and saying they violated made up traffic laws.

    Posted 01 Sep 2009 at 7:37 pm
  20. ben wrote:

    Victor…jail would hopefully prevent these guys from taking advantage of others…maybe shooting squad as well?

    Posted 01 Sep 2009 at 7:38 pm
  21. Dan Ryder wrote:

    Unlike most respondents here, I didn’t figure out the scam until I’d written checks. Right Checks with an S.

    I stung for 175 in the first case and 239 on a second LLC. Fortunately, I caught the second one in time and stopped payment.

    These scammers are pretty clever and their notices got to me before the state’s paperwork.

    I should have figured out that a state notice would say pay the Secretary of State, the Franchise Tax Board or a specific state agency.

    An expensive oversight on my part.

    Posted 03 Sep 2009 at 7:09 am
  22. rj wrote:

    Thank you for making this info available and informing the public about the scam letter being sent from “Board of Business Center” PO 39876, LA 90039.

    Posted 07 Sep 2009 at 5:47 am
  23. ben wrote:

    Hey Dan, Sorry to hear about the bad news…but I’m glad you didn’t get caught the second time…Still amazed these guys are allowed to operate.

    Posted 08 Sep 2009 at 1:59 am
  24. emma wrote:

    Our company received this same letter requesting payment of $175. Thought it odd because I thought I had paid all the fees to CA for doing business there. So in a quick google found your information – thanks for sharing and saving us a hassle with our banking information in the hands of scammers.

    Posted 11 Sep 2009 at 6:45 pm
  25. JR wrote:

    thanks for the confirmation of my suspicion. I am going to send a fake check!

    Posted 14 Sep 2009 at 2:32 pm
  26. caren wrote:

    Ugh…I’m embarrassed to say this, but I just realized I was scammed. I’m feeling like a total moron now and I doubt I’ll ever see that $175 again.

    Expensive lesson learned.

    Posted 15 Sep 2009 at 10:50 am
  27. ben wrote:

    @JR that’s sounds like a good idea. A fake bill deserves a fake payment.

    Posted 15 Sep 2009 at 2:03 pm
  28. ben wrote:

    @Caren, sorry you got scammed out of your money :( But make sure to submit a complaint with the attorney general…you never know, if they ever go after those guys you just might see your money again.

    Posted 15 Sep 2009 at 2:04 pm
  29. marka@aol.com wrote:

    Thanks very much for posting this. It all seemed sketchy to me as well. Especially the P.O. Box. Very lucky that you posted this message and I was able to avoid getting ripped off. Thanks.

    Posted 19 Oct 2009 at 8:54 am
  30. Don Nguyen wrote:

    Thanks for sharing this! I am going to report them to the AG’s office

    Posted 24 Oct 2009 at 11:35 am
  31. Mike wrote:

    They tried to scam me. I Googled it. Found you. AND do appreciate your efforts.

    Posted 27 Oct 2009 at 12:52 pm
  32. Kevin wrote:

    Just received this exact letter today, 10/27. Everything that you pointed out, made me curious to research the BOBC and found your website. Thanks for sharing the knowledge.

    Posted 27 Oct 2009 at 12:59 pm
  33. Sylvia wrote:

    I had already made my check out, but wanted my husband to look at this. As far as I knew, I would only have the taxes to pay. He advised me to google it as he thought it looked like a scam since is was not from the State of California as other forms had been.

    Thanks so much for posting your experience.
    Sylvia

    Posted 29 Oct 2009 at 7:57 am
  34. ben wrote:

    Glad I was able to help all of you out. If you guys see anything else like this let me know. If everyone keeps posting up stuff like this the scammers will have but not choice but to close up shop and go the straight and narrow.

    Posted 02 Nov 2009 at 5:40 pm
  35. Brendan Muller wrote:

    Thanks fo posting this online.

    I got similar letter.

    Regards

    Posted 03 Nov 2009 at 8:21 am
  36. quan wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing this information. I received the same letter and has been wondering if it’s a scam, so I decided to do some research. Luckily, I came across this site. I’ll file a complaint to the link you posted above. Best,
    Quan

    Posted 08 Nov 2009 at 11:12 pm
  37. Brian Adams wrote:

    I scanned a personal check into paint shop pro, front and back, and changed all the routing numbers. Signed, sealed and delivered! Took a bit to get the front and back lined up for the printer, but well worth it.

    Posted 13 Nov 2009 at 11:08 am
  38. ben wrote:

    That’s hillarious Brian! One good fake deserves another fake in return!

    Posted 24 Nov 2009 at 4:06 pm
  39. Will wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this information, I almost sent the check, luckily googled and found this website, appreciate everyone input. Will defintely file complaint to the link you provided.

    Posted 27 Dec 2009 at 11:20 pm
  40. ben wrote:

    Glad you were able to save yourself being scammed out of some money. It’s still amazing they can get away this stuff.

    Posted 30 Dec 2009 at 6:01 pm
  41. Roger Rhamjeet wrote:

    Thanks for this post, I got this letter in the mail today. Did a search and found this information. I drew a big cock on my invoice and put it back in the mail. I thought it was worth the cost of a stamp.

    Posted 27 Apr 2010 at 9:28 pm
  42. Bruce wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing this information. I received the same letter and has been wondering if it’s a scam, so I decided to do some research. Luckily, I came across this site. I’ll file a complaint to the link you posted above. Best,
    Quan

    Posted 19 May 2010 at 7:28 am
  43. ben wrote:

    @quan, glad to hear you were able to catch this in time…i know some people didn’t and got scammed out of their money. That’s so not cool

    Posted 19 May 2010 at 8:39 pm
  44. Michael wrote:

    Thank you. Almost fell prey to this.

    Posted 02 Jun 2010 at 11:00 am
  45. JacobWO wrote:

    I’ve just stubled upon this site complianceintl.com, could I just copy the technical
    information from the site or do I need some kind of permission?. I am writing a school project.

    Jacob

    Posted 18 Aug 2010 at 6:07 pm

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