Scam alert: Always protect yourself

State of Michigan issues alert to business owners

By Tony Statz - Producer
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It seems Ruth to the Rescue is continually issuing scam alerts to Metro-Detroiters.

The sad truth is you can NEVER let your guard down. Just because we warn you once and the scam goes away for a while, you should know it will come back. Some of the details might change, but the scam artists are still trying to steal your money.

Recently, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) sent out a warning about a new scam targeting business owners. It's the same scam we warned you about back on September 3, 2012. And, the state says its actually the third time the scam has reared its ugly head in Michigan. (LARA saw spikes last September, February, and August).

Once you read about this scam, please read the advice from Ruth to the Rescue at the end of this article about how you should, and can, protect yourself from any scam artist looking to steal your money!

Business Owners Beware

A very official looking letter has been showing up in mailboxes. The fake letter is from some non-governmental entity called "Michigan Corporate Compliance Company". The misleading document implies that Michigan businesses need to complete an Annual Meeting Disclosure Statement and is designed to look like an official document, but it is not.

The accompanying instructions for completing the form list a return address at 5859 West Saginaw Highway, #221, Lansing, Michigan. It also asks for a payment of $125.

What To Do, State Offers Advice

The phony letters can look authentic. If such notices are received, they are to be disregarded because they are neither issued by LARA nor any governmental agency.

Any Michigan corporation that receives a notice to have annual meeting minutes prepared and pay a fee to avoid dissolution of their corporation are advised to do the following:

1. Keep the notice, mailing envelope, and return envelope.
2. Contact the United States Postal Inspections Service to report mail fraud at: 877-876-2455
3. Or contact the Michigan Office of the Attorney General at P.O. Box 30212, Lansing, MI 48909.

Legitimate notices and mailings to Michigan corporations are issued from LARA's Corporation Division and are mailed to the resident agent at the registered office address on record. When receiving any official-looking document, please review carefully and read the small print. If you are not sure, please contact the LARA Corporation Division at 517-241-6470.

Different Scams, Same Protection

The bottom line on scams is this: you must ALWAYS be prepared to investigate and verify an unexpected requests for money no matter how official
they might look. In the past 18 months, Ruth to the Rescue has reported on people posing as the FBI, the DEA, DTE, and local police.

Each time, the scam artist is trying to scare you into coughing up some quick cash or your personal information. DON'T FALL FOR IT!!!

Police never call you to discuss outstanding warrants. If you think the state is asking you for money, the information can be easily checked by calling either the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

Never, ever quickly agree to pay someone if you're not expecting the bill.

Ruth to the Rescue hopes that if you stop to investigate and verify, you can avoid becoming a victim of ANY scam. Because, unfortunately, the scam artists will keep trying to catch you off guard!

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