Routt County businesses among those targeted in possible scam
April 6, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Routt County business owners are among businesses statewide being targeted in a possible scam.
The Colorado Secretary of State's Office is warning businesses and nonprofit agencies about a "deceptive mailing" from a private company offering to file required reports with the Secretary of State's office for much more than the $10 filing fee.
The mailings came from the Corporate Controllers Unit, a Nevada-based company listing a Denver post office box as a return address.
The message features an official-looking seal at the top and the title "Periodic Report." The letter cites the Colorado Revised Statutes and warns business owners that if they do not file periodic reports with the Secretary of State's Office, they could be listed as "delinquent."
The letters go on to offer to help businesses avoid delinquency in exchange for $225. At the bottom of the letter is a disclaimer advising that there is no obligation to pay the $225 on receiving the message. "This product or service has not been approved or endorsed by any government agency," the disclaimer reads.
Steamboat Springs resident Mariane Sasak received the letter this week for her business Steamboat Ranchwear.
"I watched the news that night, and they said it was a scam," Sasak said. "I opened the letter, and there it was."
The Secretary of State's Office issued a statement advising businesses that the filing can be completed online directly with the office, and in most cases the fee is just $10.
Colorado Attorney General's Office spokesman Mike Saccone said that Attorney General John Suthers is urging recipients of the letter to file a complaint with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Department and that the service does appear to be a scam. Saccone said it is a common strategy of scam artists to try to charge consumers to perform a free or low-cost service and simply pocket any money they receive.
Saccone said the low cost of sending out the mailings means scammers need only a few hits to make it worthwhile.
"If they get even a handful of consumers to respond, they're in the black," he said.
Corporate Controllers Unit Owner Maxim Kitaev said he understands that some people are wary of the high cost, but he said his company provides the service it promises. Kitaev said he has been in business two years and operates nationwide.
"We spend a lot of money on mailing, so we charge a little bit more to make money," Kitaev said.