Picture with punchline:- Scamsters Beware, 2010 is Over!


The year 2010 was full of Scams & Frauds across the globe. The article having below picture; which is posted on a blog by Dilip Naidu sir had really caught my glare.

Make 2011 brighter more progressive!

The photo seems to be clicked in Pune city & the punchline poster mentions the courtesy of Nana Chudasam.

“Scamsters Beware, 2010 is Over!” …  Now the people wants to speculate forthcoming years to be less affected by risks of frauds & scams. The comments on Dilip Naidu Sir’s post elaborates much more insights than the article itself. I enjoyed going through the picture as well as comments & I hope you shall emphasise the worthiness of reading through them.

Courtesy: http://dilipnaidu.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/make-2011-brighter-more-progressive

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Interestingly fake email sent on behalf of RBI (Reserve Bank of India) via & by fraudualant mail ID


These days, I’ve developed an interim interest in checking out SPAM emails in my mailbox. There are plenty of mails to browse through. be it UK Lottery Scams, International Monetary Fund (IMF) fund Transfer, swiss bank transfers, Break-up notifications from some chick n what not…..

The Symbol of Indian Rupee approved by the Uni...

Indian Rupee Image via Wikipedia

I was very much surprised to read a mail from RBI PLC (rbifundstransfer@rediffmail.com). It didnt take me more than 1/1000 th of a second to think …

“since when RBI has become a PLC”….. Reserve Bank of India Private Limited Company !!!


To add -up some more spice to my entertainment, the mail had email-ID smitha.a24@gmail.com in TO field instead of my emial-ID…. Seems like some Indian Name is used as signatory authority.

ha hhaa haa…… Do go through the mail as copied below…… the language is so funny…. just hang on to the email ahead        🙂

(p.s. DO NOT FALL PRAY to SUCH falsified EMAILS & HELP in CREATING AWARENESS to ERADICATE such ACTIVITIES).

<<<<<<< =================================== >>>>>>

<<<<<<<  =================================== >>>>>>

RESERVE BANK OF INDIA

India ‘s Central Bank

DEPOSITED OF YOUR FUND TO RBI FOR TRANSFER TO YOUR ACCOUNT.

This is to bring to your notice that we have received a cheque of 500,000 Pounds (FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS) on behalf of TOYOTA AUTOMOBILE COMPANY in United Kingdom from (DIPLOMATIC MR MORGAN RICHIE) Pacific courier company some days ago, But we could not inform you due to the investigation that was going on about the cheque of 500,000 pounds

This is a very huge amount and has you know that there is a lot of cheque frauds going on all over the world, that is why he took us some time to confirmed that the cheque we received is okay because we don’t want to be fraud in our bank.

We contact the British Government to be aware of this issue should be incase we later face any problem or fraud regarding this payment but the British Government give us 100% assurance that if any problem occur they will be responsible for it and they agree with us.

On behalf of Reserve bank of India (RBI) want to congratulate you has we have confirmed that the cheque is 100% okay that is why we inform you to let you know that cheque is with us.

This is the information and the batch details that i we received from the pacific courier company in other to claim the money for you….

Ref Number: EUM DN 0508-9T6

Batch Number: EUM QY-3LJ4

Serial Number: 20910

YOU ARE TO GET BACK TO US WITH THIS INFORMATION BELOW..

VERIFICATIONSFORM

FULL NAMES:

CONTACT ADDRESS:

TEL/FAX NUMBERS:

AGE:

SEX:

OCCUPATION:

POST CODE:

COUNTRY /CITY /STATE: INDIA

PLEASE FORWARD YOUR INFORMATION TO THIS EMAIL ADDRESS BELOW: reservebankindia_remittance@yahoo.in

Looking forward to read from you soonest.

Your’s Sincerely,

MR PRAKASH SHARMA

FOREIGN EXCHANGE REMITTANCE DEPT

R.B.I, INDIA

e-promotion by ICICI Bank against Phishing mails !!


Kindly make a note of Phishing mails that can hack into your precious bank / Monetary accounts & fetch-out free money.

]

I myself had received such mailers from IDBI Bank asking for personal banking details. On the follow-up with Bank’s Top  officials over mail, it was found that the respective hacking bug was blocked & de-activated.

Here are a few Forensic Triggers mention in the web-poster of ICICI Bank, which is pretty much enlightening.

  • The email ID domain might appear to be Bank name / familiar company / friend’s ID.
  • On moving  the cursor onto the sender’s address, it would reveal mis-matching characters in the URL.
  • The padlock (Security protection) icon would be missing.
  • Generally, mailer will mention the urgent step-by-step action required in order to avoid shut-down of account.
  • It will ask for secret information like user ID, passwords, PINs, CVV number, Credit/Debit Card number, vbyv passcode details, etc.

    Money going e-line

    Phishing Mail

 
 
  Dear Customer, You must have heard of ‘Phishing’ ! It is a trap laid by fraudsters through e-mail. If you reply to the e-mail, you might be ‘phished’ of your confidential banking/credit-card details and end up losing your hard-earned money.

The way to protect yourself against phishing is to identify a phishing e-mail. If you suspect an e-mail to be a phishing attempt, forward it to antiphishing@icicibank.com, and delete from your mailbox. Do not respond to such mails.

 
     
 
 
 
For more details on Phishing, please click here.
 
  Sincerely,
ICICI Bank Ltd.
   
 
epromotion against PHISHING by icici Bank

p.s. – Original structure is modified as to suit the formatting.

 

 

Banking and Politics in Fraud – Fall of the Giant: Banco Intercontinental (or BANINTER


This is an interesting piece of Fraud case listed on Wikipedia that catches our attention upon how the econo-political environment of a country can damage giant business entitites

Banco Intercontinental (or BANINTER) was the second largest privately held commercial bank in the Dominican Republic before collapsing in 2003 in a spectacular fraud tied to political corruption. The resulting deficit of more than US$2.2 billion was equal to 12% to 15% of the Dominican national gross domestic product.[1] The size of the bank meltdown and the mishandling of it by the administration of former President Hipólito Mejía contributed materially to the Dominican economy entering a prolonged steep decline. However, the underlying fraudulent bookeeping and political influence peddling had been ongoing for many years and through the administrations of all major Dominican political parties. Current President Leonel Fernández had previously been hired as an outside counsel for the bank.[citation needed]

Ramón Báez Figueroa and expansion of BANINTER

Banco Intercontinental was created in 1986 by Ramón Báez Romano, a businessman and former Industry Minister. His oldest son, Ramón Báez Figueroa, took over the small bank and helped build it into the country’s number two private commercial bank. BANINTER grew quickly into a typical family-run conglomerate, buying up companies or controlling interests in firms that touched on nearly every aspect of Dominican life.

In the process, Báez Figueroa amassed an empire of varied businesses. Through BANINTER Group, he managed to control the country’s largest media group, including Listín Diario, the oldest and leading newspaper; four television stations, a cable television company, and more than 70 radio stations.

Báez Figueroa became a man of great influence and power. At his lavish wedding, former Presidents Joaquín Balaguer and Leonel Fernandez signed the marriage document as witnesses. In late 2000, Báez even proposed a “national economic program”, which earned him much praise from President Mejía.

“Risk, and I’m talking about calculated risk, is proper of all business and of any human activity. “Whoever doesn’t understand this can’t triumph” Báez said in a 2001 interview in a Dominican business magazine Mercado.[2].

His more than generous gifts to friends, business partners, journalists, commentators, models, beauty queens, military personnel, judges, and politicians over the years became legendary, as were his patronage for many events.[citation needed] former president Mejía got a bulletproof Lexus sports utility vehicle; so did his successor, Leonel Fernández. Colonel Pedro Julio Goico Guerrero (a.k.a. Pepe Goico), who served as Mejía’s Head of Security and who guarded former U.S. president Bill Clinton on visits to the United States, got ten solid-gold President Rolex watches worth US$15,000 each and use of a credit card that the bank would pay off.[citation needed]

Later on, Báez himself would denounce that he called a US$2.4 million credit-card fraud on the part of Colonel Pepe Goico. Although the credit card was issued in Goico’s name, it was meant solely to finance presidential trips. Instead, Báez charged, Goico and his cronies used the card for personal purchases, including planes and helicopters, luxury housing and jewelry. The “Pepe-Gate” may have been the spark, but a mountain of kindling had been piling up for years around BANINTER.

Bank crisis

BANINTER’s octopus-like acquisitiveness raised some eyebrows, as did Báez’s luxurious tastes. In 2002 he bought a US$14,600,000 yacht, the Patricia.[3][4] Moreover, Báez had personal expenses of more than US$1,000,000 monthly.[citation needed].

Speculation about the source of Báez’s fortune ran wild, but nobody considered the explanation being given nowadays by the Dominican authority, that Báez was robbing his own bank.

Rumors that BANINTER might’ve been in trouble began circulating during the fall of 2002, and depositors started to withdraw their savings. The Dominican Central Bank stepped in to support the bank by providing new lines of credit. Anxious for a permanent solution, the government announced in early 2003 that Banco del Progreso, run by Pedro Castillo Lefeld, the brother of Mejía’s son-in-law, would acquire BANINTER. But Banco del Progreso abruptly withdrew from the deal. Government officials said that two-thirds of the money that customers had deposited in BANINTER was kept off its official books by a custom-designed software system.

On April 7, 2003, the government took control of BANINTER. Báez Figueroa’s family owned more than the 80% of the bank, and soon after, a deeper examination supported by the International Monetary Fund and the Inter-American Development Bank, revealed the scale of the meltdown.

Báez Figueroa was arrested on May 15, 2003 along with BANINTER vice presidents Marcos Báez Cocco and Vivian Lubrano de Castillo, the secretary of the Board of Directors, Jesús M. Troncoso, and wealthy financier Luis Alvarez Renta, on charges of bank fraud, money laundering and concealing information from the government as part of a massive fraud scheme of more than RD$ 55 billion (USD $2.2 billion). This sum would be big anywhere, but it was overwhelming for the Dominican economy, equivalent to two-thirds of its national budget.

The resulting central bank bailout spurred a 30% annual inflation and a large increase in poverty. The government was forced to devalue the peso, triggering the collapse of two other banks, and prompting a US$600 million (euro$420 million) loan package from the International Monetary Fund.[5]

Though required by the country’s Monetary Laws to only guarantee individual deposits of up to RD$500,000 Dominican Pesos (about US$21,000 at the time) placed within the country, the Dominican Central Bank (Banco Central Dominicano) opted to guarantee all $2.2B in unbacked BANINTER deposits, regardless of the amount, or whether deposits were in Dominican Pesos or American Dollars and without apparent knowledge whether the deposits were held in the Dominican Republic or in BANINTER’s branches in the Cayman Islands and Panama. The subsequent fiscal shortfall resulted in massive inflation (42%) and the devaluation of the DOP by over 100%.

Former president Mejía and the Central Bank (Banco Central) stated that the unlimited payouts to depositors were to protect the Dominican banking system from a crisis of confidence and potential chain reaction. However, the overall consequence of the bailout was to reimburse the wealthiest of Domincan depositors, some of whom had received rates of interest as high as 27% annually, at the expense of the majority of poor Dominicans—the latter of whom would be required to pay the cost of the bailout through inflation, currency devaluation, government austerity plans and higher taxes over the coming years.

Aftermath and trial

The banking crisis ignited harsh fights over BANINTER group’s media outlets, including the prominent newspaper Listín Diario, which was temporarily seized and run by the Mejía administration following the bank collapse.[5] In 2003, TV commentator Rafael Acevedo, president of the opinion polling firm Gallup Dominicana, had said that in the BANINTER scandal “there has been much complicity at every level of society: the government, the media, the church, the military.”[2].

In November 2005, Alvarez Renta was found liable by a federal jury in Miami of civil racketeering and illegal money transfers in a conspiracy to loot BANINTER during its final months of existence. Alvarez Renta was ordered to pay $177 Million to the Dominican state. To this date, he still hasn’t paid that sum.

The main executives of BANINTER, Báez Figueroa, his cousin Marcos Báez Cocco, Vivian Lubrano, Jesús Troncoso Ferrúa, as well as the aforementioned Alvarez Renta, were prosecuted by the Dominican state for fraud and money laundering, among other criminal charges. Báez Figueroa’s main attorney is Marino Vinicio Castillo, who at the present time holds the position of President Fernandez’s Drugs Consultant.

With 350 prosecutions and defense witnesses slated to testify, ex- president Hipólito Mejía among them, the criminal proceedings against Báez Figueroa began on April 2, 2006. However, the Court decided to postpone the first hearing for May 19, 2006, accepting a motion by the defense lawyers.[6] It was prompted, as detailed at length in the trial by a scandal involving debt writeoffs and sweetheart loans or other financial deals suspected of having favored leading politicians and others.[7]

What remains most curious was that the fraud went undetected for 14 years by the country’s supposed financial gatekeepers—the Central Bank, the Superintendent of Banks and U. S. accounting company PricewaterhouseCoopers. How Báez Figueroa and his cronies were accused and some convicted of pulling it off provided a glimpse into the gift-giving and favor-swapping common between private business and top government officials in the Dominican Republic.

The first trial ended in September 2007.

Sentence and criticism

On October 21, 2007, Báez Figueroa was sentenced by a three-judge panel to 10 years in prison. Additionally, he was ordered to pay restitution and damages totalling RD$63 billion. The laundering charges were excluded, but the other suspected mastermind of the fraud, Luis Alvarez Renta, was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for money laundering.[8] Marcos Báez Cocco, ex-vicepresident of the Bank, was also found guilty, and sentenced to 8 years.

The accusations against two other defendants, former BANINTER executive Vivian Lubrano, as well as the secretary of BANINTER Board of Directors Jesús M. Troncoso, were dismissed for lack of evidence.

The sentence has been widely criticized for its severe contradictions, but more specially because it’s been alleged that the judges were pressed by “the powers that be”. Noted journalist Miguel Guerrero wrote in his column of the daily El Caribe that the defrauders of BANINTER have been protected “by a dark combination of political, economic, mediatic and ecclesiastical powers” and that the sentence was a mamotreto“.[9] In fact, Guerrero went to the extent of saying that everything was fixed beforehand, and the defendants and their lawyers knew it, as did those representing the Central Bank.

Court of Appeals and Supreme Court decisions

In February 2008, the case went to the Court of Appeals of Santo Domingo and the Court upheld the sentence against Báez Figueroa, Báez Cocco and Alvarez Renta. The decision that had favored Vivian Lubrano was reverted, and she was sentenced to five years in prison and RD$18 billion in damages. Charges against Troncoso Ferrua were definitely dropped.

In July 2008, the Dominican Supreme Court confirmed the decision against the defendants.[10]

Nevertheless, Lubrano allegedly fell into a “deep depression” and suffered from “panic attacks”, and she never went to prison. After much debate, President Leonel Fernández gave her full pardon, on December 22, 2008.[11]

References

  1. ^ DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ECONOMY THREATENED BY MASSIVE BANK FRAUD. | Company Activities & Management > Company Structures & Ownership from AllBusiness.com
  2. ^ a b Hurricane Ramoncito: how Ramon Baez and his cronies broke the Dominican Republic’s largest bank—and almost brought down the country – Top 100 Banks | Latin Trade | Find Articles at BNET.com
  3. ^ Dominican Government seeks failed bank’s assets in Grand Cayman – DominicanToday.com
  4. ^ http://powerandmotoryacht.com/megayachts/0902patricia/index.aspx Yacht Patricia
  5. ^ a b http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071021/ap_on_bi_ge/dominican_bank_fraud_trial_1
  6. ^ Dominicant Today, April 3, 2006
  7. ^ http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071021/bs_nm/dominican_fraud_dc_2
  8. ^ Business finance news – currency market news – online UK currency markets – financial news – Interactive Investor
  9. ^ http://www.elcaribecdn.com/articulo_multimedios.aspx?id=141702&guid=EF04DB20333D4739BC301542550DEA80&Seccion=134 El Caribe, October 23, 2007.
  10. ^ Hoy
  11. ^ Diario Libre

External links

  • BANINTER promotion.

Warning: The US Government Mail You Received Might Be a Scam


Warning

This article is a reprint of Wise Bread’s contribution to OPEN Forum from American Express — where small business owners can get advice from experts and share tips with each other.

Con artists are constantly bombarding us with bills that look like official government mail.  It is one of the most effective scams, and there’s a good chance you are already a victim.

“33% of all businesses that receive bills in the mail for products or services they never asked for actually pay the bills,” said Robert Siciliano, an identity theft expert and author of The Safety Minute.

Fake bills are especially convincing when disguised as government mail.  For example, here’s a picture of a fraudulent letter I received from the “Business Filing Division”

Fake Business Filling Bill Form

It looks just like a real California state form.  Using official language and citations to actual law, the letter warns that my business will be suspended if I didn’t pay $239 to update my company’s information with the state of California.  (California does require businesses to periodically update their information, but it only costs $20, not $239.)

After almost falling for this scam, I reached out to experts and other victims of government mailing scams to learn more about how it works.  Here’s a list of their best advice on:

I.  8 ways to spot this scam

Most of these fake government letters share the following tricky features:

1.  Everything looks official

These fake letters have official-looking seals, quote real regulations, and contain government forms that look like the real thing.

The words “Office Use Only” are prominently displayed on the top.  This is a sneaky attempt to mimic the words “Official Use Only.” – Harif87 (http://www.scam.com/member.php?u=136786), Scam.com.

“I’m a designer, and so I can usually spot the difference right away between a real government document and a spurious one.  But often times they’re very close!  I have a grudging respect for how well these sales letters are designed to look like government notices.”  – Matt Kirkland, Brand New Box.

2.  They have your correct information

Just because they have your correct information doesn’t mean the letter is legitimate.  A lot of your professional and personal information are part of the public record.  It is easy for scammers to pick info from online databases and go to work.  – Alexis A. Moore, Survivors in Action.

“Since your state filings are public records, they time the mailings to coincide with your corporation’s actual renewal dates.”  – Kate Lister, author of Undress For Success.

3.  Offering a semi-legitimate service

“Some of these companies offer a legitimate service that is actually required by State Law.  However, they do not offer this service in a forthright manner.”  – Lisa Nguyen esq, Proviso Law Group.

4.  Sneaky disclaimers

“The mailings generally contain disclaimers required by law, such as ‘This is not an invoice.’  However they can still be deceptive if prepared in a format similar to a state document such as an annual report.”  – John Meyer, Company Corporation.

Even when disclaimers are attached, they are sometimes printed in small gray letters, hidden among a sea of legal jargon, or printed on parts of the letter that is likely to be discarded.  –  Issamar Ginzberg, Entrepreneur of the Year.

5.  Prey on your fear of government and obedience to authority

“The letter language didn’t feel right.  It was vague and stressed a deadline.  It preyed on a fear that one is delinquent on a government related fee.” –  Blaine Ung, co-founder of WebinarHero.

“I got accustomed to writing checks to the government in order to get the LLC set up.  Just when I thought that the numerous fees were done with, I got a letter in the mail exactly as you described.  I was furious that I was going to have to pay $325 each year as another cost of doing business.” – Taylor Brown, lead software architect for YouNeedABudget.

6.  Targeting the most vulnerable people

“What makes this insidious is that they are preying on new business owners who are probably excited to get their business off the ground, almost at any cost.”  – Russ Hearl, co-founder of Sherpa Travel Exchange.

7.  Deceptive addresses

They are set up in virtual office parks located in prestigious business buildings. The addresses are in the state capital to avoid raising red flags. – Christine Durst, co-author of The 2-Second Commute.

8.  Official sounding names

They use important names like “Corporate Compliance Filings,” “Board of Business Center,” “Annual Filing Division,” “Business Filing Division,” “Compliance Annual Minutes Board,” “Federal Clearing House,” “Department of Business Minutes,” “Department of Business Compliance,” etc.

II.  7 most effective ways to protect yourself

1.  Google the phone number and payment address

“I did a Google search of the phone number to see if it led to a government Website; instead I found numerous postings that the number I searched belongs to an organization that scams business owners out of money. Thank goodness for these public forums and for the folks that take the time to post in them.”  – Caroline Callaway, Bolt Public Relations.

2.  Look for official consumer alerts

Check your state’s official website for consumer alerts.  Most likely your scam has already been reported (see official state websites for all 50 states).  – Nicole Winger, spokesperson for CA Secretary of State.

3.  Your accountant or lawyer may help for free

“I never charge clients for asking questions.  I thank them and make them feel good for bringing it to my attention before taking action so that they feel good about contacting me whenever another similar question comes up.” – Michael T. Hanley, CPA at Merl & Hanley.

“Generally, I don’t charge my client for looking at a document like this if they hired me to set up the LLC or Corporation.”  – Lisa Nguyen esq, Proviso Law Group.

4.  Set reminders in accounting or calendaring software

Enter your schedule of required government payments into your accounting software.  By setting up reminders in advance, you can quickly verify whether you are late for a payment.  – Dawn Tulman, ToiBocks.

If you have made payments to the real government agency in the past, the agency’s mailing information should already be in your accounting software’s database.  The fact that you have to create a new payee profile for this new “bill” should raise red flags.  – Rick Smith, Chefs Resource.

5.  Create an official “accounts payable list”

“We have an official Accounts Payable list.  Anything not on that list is required to be forwarded to me (president of the company) for review.” – Ken Wisnefski, Webimax.

6.  Use a legitimate third-party service

I registered my LLC through the Company Corporation.  My service package gives me unlimited access to their toll-free customer service hotline.  When I asked about the dubious letter I received, they immediately identified it as a scam.  Their website also has a helpful scam alert section.

Several other companies provide legitimate incorporation and business registration services.  For example, Denise LaBuda, founder of Money Wizdom, also got excellent help from Mycorporation.com when she received the same fake government solicitation.

7.  Join a community

Don’t reinvent the wheel.  Other business owners have received the same scam letters and have already done the research.  Joining communities like the Rotary Club, your local Chamber of Commerce, blog communities, or online business forums give you access to a large reservoir of collective experiences.

Membership in these communities can also open many doors.  When I did research on this scam, I identified myself as a contributor to the American Express Open Forum and Wise Bread community.  I received a torrent of responses, including immediate follow-ups from the California Secretary of State and the IRS.

III.  Getting help after you’ve been scammed

Should you contact law enforcement?

“Depending on how savvy the scammers are, it may be difficult for law enforcement to tackle from a resource perspective.  While there are a number of state and federal rules and regulations that can be called into play, the reality is that most won’t have much of an effect since the potential for enforcement is so low.”  – Edi Goodman, chief privacy officer of Identity Theft 911.

On the other hand, California’s Attorney General has been actively prosecuting these rip-off artists. When in doubt, it is probably best to make a report.

Organizations that help

There are non-profit victim advocacy groups that can help you file complaints.  “Reporting crime and knowing what to look for in a scam is difficult.  We have volunteers eager to assist anyone who is in need at no charge.”  – Alexis A. Moore, Survivors in Action.

Contact your credit card company

If you paid by check or money transfer you can probably kiss that money goodbye.  However, if you paid by credit or charge card, you may be able to dispute the charges. – Shawn Mosch, Co-founder of ScamVictimsUnited.

IV. The many variations of this scam

These government solicitation scams often target the following groups:

  • Business owners: Notice offers to update your company information, file your corporate minutes, renew your business registration, or help with other record-keeping requirements.
  • Taxpayers:  Scammer tempts you with a fake tax refund or scares you with a delinquency notice.
  • Property owners:  Letter tells you that you’re eligible for lower property taxes if you submitted to an official reassessment of your property’s value.
  • Licensed professionals such as realtors, cosmetologists, brokers:  You get a bill for renewing your license, along with a stern warning that failure to pay will result in revocation of your license.
  • Employers:  Letter tries to sell you employment posters required for the workplace.  Usually these posters can be downloaded for free from official government websites.

V.  Why this scam is so dangerous

Beyond monetary loss, there are many other reasons why you should worry about these scams.

Marked as a mark

If you respond to one letter, you might be marked as an “easy target” and receive additional – and perhaps more dangerous – solicitations in the future.

They might be after your identity

“The scammers are often looking for personal data as well as bogus fees.  They’ll use the info for ‘true ID’ thefts, which means setting up credit accounts in your name and making other mischief.” – James Walsh, editor of Scams & Swindles: How to Recognize and Avoid Internet Era Rip-offs.

You miss a real government deadline

Some of these scams “help” you fulfill a real government requirement at an extremely inflated price.  But just because they are charging you a high fee is no guarantee that they will do a good job.

In one recent California case, a company charged victims $175 to help them file corporate records.  However, the company didn’t bother asking the victims for the right information, and instead filed fictitious corporate records on the victims’ behalf.

VI.  Official state websites for registering or incorporating your business

Before you pay another “bill” from the government, check your state’s official website for the real requirements and deadlines:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Guam
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
U.S. Virgin Islands
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

If you have received these fraudulent letters in the past, please share your experiences in the comments.  Search engines will pick up your story and make it easier for other people to identify these scams.

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