Consumer Alert: Check the fine print on official-looking documents
Be sure to check the fine print when you receive official-looking documents in the mail.
Typically, we don't question government-issued documentation, but one fraudulent company has become an expert at mocking government documents in order to cheat people out of money through fees and fines.
The company, Corporate Records Services, is a fraudulent company. The fake company used misleading mailings to trick thousands of small business owners into paying unnecessary fees.
"The forms these businesses were receiving looked legitimate and they looked like a governmental document that was a requirement," says Laura Carter, a U.S. Postal Inspector.
For $125, CRS offered to fill out forms that were supposedly required by the state. The forms looked urgent and were written in legal language with a "please respond by" mark in the corner.
"The scammers have gotten very creative and very good at mimicking the labels, the logos, and the whole impression of it being government documents," says Abby Kuzma, the Director of Consumer Protection.
The owners of CRS, Thomas and Steven Fata are the subject of complaints in several states including.
"Ordinarily, when you get a document that looks like a government document, you respond," says Kuzma. "We really need to let people know that people are scamming in this way."
"We always suggest to people, please check with your local attorney general's office or your local Better Business Bureau to always find out whether or not this is a legitimately required item."
As for Thomas and Steven Fata, they are awaiting trial and are the subject of a court order not to send deceptive mailings.
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