The Real Deal: Alert for Small Business Owners
Updated: Wednesday, March 20 2013, 01:56 PM EDT
ALTAMONT - An alert for small business owners; an offical-looking letter may soon appear in your mailbox offering assistance with filing state paperwork but the help is likely not needed and comes at a cost.
Noreen Cambria owns a horse stable and a career-counseling service in Altamont. A few days ago, she got a letter in the mail claiming she needed to make sure her business paperwork was in order and filed correctly with the state. "You read it, you read it quickly and it sounds like it's very official," she tells CBS6. The letter claims, for a fee of $125, her annual minutes requirement will be satisfied. "They wanted us to write down the name of our shareholders, board of directors...the more I read it, I said I don't know this thing just smells like a scam," she says.
The letter comes from a company called "Corporate Records Services" and what they're selling, most businesses do not need. Basically a client would send the company the minutes of the annual meeting and Corporate Records Services would put in document form. Cambria is in compliance with the state and files her own paperwork.
The letter has a Albany return address on it but when CBS6 visited that address along Central Avenue, it wasn't an office, it was a UPS store in Westgate Plaza where the company has a postal box. A company with a nearly identical name, "Corporate Records Compliance Office," was sued in 2011 by the New York State Attorney General for bilking thousands of New York Businesses out of more than $1 million by sending similar notices designed to look like they came from the state offering the same services.
"I thought, if 11,000 people last year had fallen prey to this and this person is still behaving with impunity, it must have been wroth it's wild to do that," says Cambria. CBS6 tried to reach someone at Corporate Records Services but our emails were never returned. "I think those of us, especially who run tiny businesses, who choose not to pay for attorneys for every little thing that we do, need to be especially careful of things like this that come in the mail, says Cambria.