Treasure Valley business owners may have received a letter in the mail requesting money for assistance filing corporate records as mandated by state law. This is a deceiving scheme by the company Corporate Records Service. The group is contacting Idaho businesses by mail to collect a $150 fee in exchange for services to fill out a corporation’s “Shareholders, Directors and Officers Form.” According to the Idaho Attorney General’s office, the Idaho Business Corporation Act does not require companies to file this type of form or pay a fee to the state or any private entity.
Your Better Business Bureau received a copy of the letter and quickly recognized it to be similar to one that had been sent out a couple of years prior. The letter states the company will prepare the documents for you and asks for information such as stockholders, board members, and officer positions. The form makes it appear that the company will handle the businesses filing requirements with the government, but in the fine print, there is a line stating it does not satisfy these requirements.
The letter has the words “2018 — Annual Records Solicitation Form” at the top. In a large box below that is the name and address of a business on the left and a barcode to the right.
This misleading service last made headlines a couple of years ago when a similar form requesting only $125 was sent through the mail. The parent company of Corporate Records Service is out of Michigan. It has a different name in each state, but BBB investigations show these letters have been going out to businesses in all 50 states.
In years past the company had to pay a $15,000 penalty for violating the Idaho Consumer Protection Act when it made its letters appear to be on behalf of the government. This time around, the business is playing it safe by noting it is not in affiliation with any government agency and that it does not fulfill annual report filing requirements. However, they are informing businesses their service is in accordance with Idaho law and has even included a copy of Idaho Statutes, highlighting the areas that where records are required. It can be confusing for even the most seasoned business owner.
Corporations should be on the alert for this third-party mailing and remember that it is not a required filing by the state. When business owners must file an annual report, they will receive an official letter from the Idaho Secretary of State’s office. Previously, the Idaho Attorney General’s office encouraged businesses to opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial mail.
To keep up to date on schemes such as these visit bbb.org.
Veronica Craker, firstname.lastname@example.org, is the content and communications director for Better Business Bureau Northwest +Pacific. To check a business or report a scam, go to bbb.org or call 208-342-4649.