If there's a way for scam artists to get money, they'll no doubt dream it up. One scam targets small business owners who have formed an LLC, or limited liability company, and attempts to get them to pay a bogus fee.
Though it has only been found operating in one state, chances are the scammers will move their operations to target LLCs operating in other states.
In Arizona, LLC owners received official-looking documents from a company informing them that for a $ 125 fee, they would provide the LLC with annual minutes. The notices were mass mailed to every LLC owner in Arizona requesting information and money in exchange for the annual minutes.
According to that state's Attorney General's office, the return address on the fake forms went to a mail box in a UPS store.
The scammers formatted the notice to look like a government document under the heading of "Board of Business Compliance." For one thing, there is no such board in Arizona and minutes of annual meetings are not required under LLCs in that state. Minutes are required only for corporations. But because the documents look so official, some LLCs in Arizona were duped into sending in their money.
The Arizona attorney general's office is currently investigating the matter and has alerted LLC owners in that state about the scam.
While regulations vary from state to state, most states do not require that LLCs submit minutes to annual meetings.
One way to avoid being the victim of a scam is to question any fees you cannot recall paying in the past. It's always a good idea to consult with an expert if you have any questions about the required documentation and fees for your LLC. In the Arizona case, people were duped because the document sent looked authentic and the fee being charged was relatively small and did not immediately raise red flags to some business owners.