Thursday, January 24, 2019

Suffolk business owner warning others about scam letter she received - WAVY-TV

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) -- The owner of a yoga studio is warning other business owners about a letter she received, replicating paperwork from the State Corporation Commission. 

River Yoga Owner Sue Blei says, "The State Corporation Commission, every year, you have to renew and they send you the paper work about now and it looks a lot like this." 

Blei received paperwork in the mail last week that looked a lot like what she receives from the State Corporation Commission to renew her business license. 

At first, she didn't think twice about the letter. But then she noticed she couldn't find a website listed on the paperwork.

"I sat down to make the payment and somethings were just not adding up," Blei said. 

Blei went to the website she normally goes to in order to pay to renew her license and saw the scam warnings from the State Corporation Commission.

The State Corporation Commission says its received dozens of inquiries about this paperwork and that's it's from private organizations -- not the government.   

The private company offers to provide "corporate consent records in lieu of annual meeting minutes," according to the State Corporation Commission. 

The forms sent to out businesses, like the one Blei received, look similar to the annual report form given by the State Corporation Commission.

"How would I, a yoga teacher, I don't know anything about business, how would I know that this wasn't legit?" said Blei.

The State Corporation Commission says the documents provided by the private company are not required by Virginia law and are not authorized by the commission. They also won't be accepted for filing with them.

To keep from getting scammed into thinking it's a letter from the State Corporation Commission, there are some things you can look out for. 

First, the envelope says "this is not a government document," and a few paragraphs down in the letter, there is a statement saying, in part, "This does not fulfill the Virginia annual report filing requirement."

Blei says she glad she spotted the difference and hopes her experience makes it a little easier for other business owners in the future.

"It's so confusing that you're like, let me sign at the bottom and send you my money that way I'm safe and I'm covered and I'm not going to get into any trouble," Blei said.

10 On Your Side did reach out to the private company for comment. As soon as we hear back, we will update you.

Click here to read more information from the State Corporation Commission about this. 



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