Annual Review Board Scam – California LLC

The letter from the Annual Review Board requiring payment of $228 is one of the newest California Limited Liability Company scam letters. Targeting small business owners who set up an LLC on their own, this scam letter looks very legitimate at the first glance. Also, its due date is very soon, which may confuse people and cause them to make hasty decision without being suspicious.

It asks for over $200 for the filing of LLC’s Statement of Information on the business owner’s behalf. Notice its filing address is Los Angeles, not Sacramento.

Business owners should read any letters very carefully when the letter asks for fees. This scam letter does say that “Annual Review Board is not a Government Agency” in the very small fonts.

156 Comments

  • By Deanna Schroder, January 16, 2009 @ 9:57 am

    I received this letter today and almost wrote a check - but when I saw the LA address I thought twice and decided to Google it - glad I did! Thanks so much for your post about this!

  • By Summer, January 16, 2009 @ 9:01 pm

    Wow, Better Business Bureau needs to do something about this scam.

  • By Liliya Strupinskaya, January 17, 2009 @ 3:16 am

    Thank you for the information you have published! I almost wrote a check to them as well, but then Los Angeles address and a a statement that this offer is not endorsed by any government agency stopped me. I start researching this issue online and came across your article. Thank you!

  • By AJ, January 19, 2009 @ 12:00 am

    The “Office Use Only” at the top for no apparent reason made me pause, and then when I saw it didn’t reference the Form it requests by number (LLC-12) and didn’t have a Sacramento address, I figured this was bogus!!

  • By Michelle, January 19, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

    I knew immediately that this was a scam, and I made sure by Googling it. Make sure to read everything (I thought I did, but the letter says: “This product or service has not been approved or endorsed by any Government Agency, and this offer is not being made by an agency of the Government.”

  • By Debbie Franklin, January 20, 2009 @ 6:44 pm

    Received this letter today and you are absolutely right! It looks very official! They have cleverly adapted the official LLC-12 form to make it their own. Thank you for being a great watch dog!

  • By Christan, January 20, 2009 @ 10:12 pm

    Same here!! I decided to Google before sending a check out…..Time to get them back with some spam mail…

  • By Rich, January 21, 2009 @ 10:45 am

    My wife and I both independently recieved this letter. These guys are aggressive. I hope someone shuts them down. And it appears they have some good legal council because technically, you do have to publish a Statement of Information.

  • By Gigi, January 21, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

    I almost did the same thing - got my checkbook out already but then I saw the address (Los Angeles) and decided to Google it. Am I so glad I did!!! Thank you for posting it!

  • By Peter, January 21, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

    I confused with the letter and try to get contact of Annual Review Board on Google, and see your post. Thanks a lot!

  • By John Laugenour, January 23, 2009 @ 7:26 pm

    Anyone know who these guys really are? Maybe the Ca. Atty. General, Mr. Brown would like to pursue some kind of fraud case against them?

  • By Himalayan International LLC, January 23, 2009 @ 10:23 pm

    Glad that I googled !!! Almost mailed it out. Wanted to search for its address when I tubbled across this board.

    Thank you all you good souls.

    I will definetely file a complaint against this scam.

  • By Michele Woggon, January 24, 2009 @ 12:43 am

    I suspected a scam as soon as I noticed on the envelope of the form that asks for lots of identity info says, “Annual Review Board is not a Government Agency.”

    I emailed Sacramento to verify if this is a scam. However, every aspect of this mailing is a hallmark of a clever scam that is probably fooling a lot of California LLCs.

    The following is the e-mail msg sent to Sacramento:

    “I believe that I am being scammed (again), but I just wanted to verify with you first.

    I recently received a very official-looking demand for $228.00 that says, “Remit Immediately!”. I believe I have paid all required payments already.

    The organization requesting this payment is:

    Annual Review Board
    333 S. Grand Avenue, 25th Floor
    Los Angeles, CA 90071

    Phone: 213 943 1320

    If you read the bottom of their statement, it says, “Annual Review Board is not a Government Agency.”

    Every aspect of this mailing is a hallmark of a clever scam that is probably fooling a lot of California LLCs.

    Could you verify for me if this organization represents the State of California?”

  • By Scammer Lover, January 24, 2009 @ 2:30 pm

    DON’T GET MAD - GET EVEN

    HERE ARE SOME IDEAS – PLEASE CONTRIBUTE OTHERS

    1) Let’s telephone the scammer, Annual Review Board, (213) 943-1320, and ask if we can come in to make a payment. They probably won’t answer, so leave a message.

    Their telephone, (213) 943-1320, is a downtown Los Angeles number. It probably is a cell phone or some cheap-ass voip number. Both have Caller ID. To block Caller ID one time, dial * 67 before dialing the number, e.g. * 67 (213) 943-1320.

    2) Let’s inquire too if we make the next payment(s) IN ADVANCE. Hey our cash flow is way up (hah!) and we have no debt. (It is clear that you are not going to do this right?)

    WARNING: Don’t do anything illegal like sending them a bogus check or money order. Not a good idea because it’s fraud to do that. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth\ doesn’t work because you then would be a scammer too!

    PLEASE CONTRIBUTE IDEAS ON HOW TO TORMENT SCAMMERS

    DON’T GET MAD - GET EVEN

  • By Toshi, January 26, 2009 @ 3:34 am

    Thank you so so so much for this info. Same as everybody here, I alsmost write a check for it. I am so sad to see this kind of reality. But, thank you so much!

  • By Shane, January 27, 2009 @ 7:43 pm

    How are these people being allowed to conduct business in this way? One would think that the State of California would really have a problem with private business portraying themselves as the government. To me this is the equivalent of dressing up like a police officer and going door to door, asking for money.

    Why isn’t there a class action law sit against this company?

    I called them up and gave them an earful.

  • By Chris, January 27, 2009 @ 11:09 pm

    I’m glad I Googled this because I knew something was up. This is a scam for my LLC that I just started. Why would you send some payment to Los Angeles and not Sacramento? Also, why address payment to “Annual Review Board” and not “Secretary of State”. Spread the word and report them to USPS for fraud. I will be spending a few hours tonight filing complaints against them to shut them down.

  • By Camille Finklea, January 28, 2009 @ 12:01 pm

    Thank you for this information. I just read the letter I received and didn’t trust it. The address that is on the bottom of the letter does not match the return envelope and it wasn’t from a government agency. I hope they get shut down soon. I will be on the watch for any other scams of this sort.

  • By Craig, January 28, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

    Unbelievable!! I’ve had this scam letter for 2 weeks with this weighing on me that California wants $200 from me before I even begin my business and come to find out today it’s a scam. How do these people live with themselves? Thank you so much for posting this scam regarding Annual review Board. It’s getting tough to tell the legit from the fake.

  • By Sami, February 3, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

    I just called the “Annual Review Board” on the 213.943.1320 number after all your posts and the receptionist lady told me that no forms of payment were accepted other than mailing a check directly to them. I asked why a government agency would not have a place of business that would allow walk ins and she then put me on hold. I was then informed after holding that they are not a government agency. I asked why I would owe them $228 immediately and she said that what I received in the mail is not a bill…! What bull-crap! Put these people out of business PLEASE! Federal Trade Commision would love to hear from us on this one!!!

  • By Ciccio, February 4, 2009 @ 6:25 pm

    I knew it from the beginning… I never heard of this Annual Review Board so I called and somebody answered. I said that I was a somebody from the California IRS LLC division. As soon as I said that the call dropped…

    Strange uh?

  • By o, February 9, 2009 @ 11:44 am

    Wow… I was just about to send them the $195.00 that they are asking for. But I was looking for a 800# on the internet so I could talk with someone. I didn’t know how I could owe anyone any money, I just got my Corp. Status a few months ago. I was upset, I thought that I paid for everything when I paid dor my filings with legalzoom…

    Thank God, this site came up when I typed in “Annual Review Board”..

  • By Joyce, February 11, 2009 @ 4:29 pm

    Today received this scam notice from “Annual Review Board” as well as another one from “Department of Business Minutes”. I suspected both as scams, and came online to confirm. I’m glad I did!

    I see many previous posts mentioned being an LLC. Just so others are aware, my company is not an LLC, it’s a Corporation. So, it appears these scam companies are not just targeting LLCs, but regular corporations as well.

  • By Joyce, February 11, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

    For anyone who recently established an LLC, the link to the Statement of Information (form LLC-12) to complete and file with the CA Secretary of State can be found here:

    http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/llc/forms/llc-12.pdf

    Or if your company is a corporation, it’s even easier. The Statement of Information form can be completed and submitted online (total fee is $25.00).

    https://businessfilings.sos.ca.gov/

  • By Joey, February 12, 2009 @ 5:58 pm

    I didn’t bother to open the envelope. Instead, I wrote “Return To Sender - Unknown Addressee”, circled the sender’s address, and crossed out my address. Then I left it in my mailbox for the postal carrier to pick up. This way, the envelope gets returned to them. I’m sure that if others did the same, their mailbox would get full and they would get a lot of their junk returned to them.

  • By ditrying, February 17, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

    Thanks for this post. I set up an S corp and received the same doc targeting my specific Corp code which is agriculture. It looked impressive but not like all the other corp docs I have received. Also it was for $195.00 and threatened that I would not be able to do business if I did not pay it. Anyway, I put a call into the United States Postal Service 1-800-275-8777 and just kept saying “fraud” to the automated service and finally got a representative. She took my information and said someone would call me. It might help if others called also.

    Hope that helps!!!

  • By Junie, March 9, 2009 @ 2:27 pm

    I almost fell for it also. It seemed so odd (but plausible in all the bureaucratic mess today) that we would have to pay a second department. But I thought I’d google it before asking our lawyer, and low and behold, it’s a scam!
    Thanks

  • By Jolie, March 9, 2009 @ 6:39 pm

    This company (ARB - Annual Review Board) should be reported to California’s State Attorney’s Office.

  • By mustafa, March 9, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

    someone picks up and answers the phone and tries to talk legit…this is such a scam!

  • By abocha, March 9, 2009 @ 10:59 pm

    I also received this letter. You can report mail fraud (which I did) at this site:

    https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx

  • By bill, March 10, 2009 @ 12:02 am

    I just filled out the US Postal Service mail fraud notice. I suggest everyone do the same:

    https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx

  • By Laney, March 10, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

    Filed a complaint against them with the Better Business Bureau today. Please see this link for the BBB report against them: http://www.labbb.org/BusinessReport.aspx?CompanyID=100076593

  • By kevin, March 10, 2009 @ 7:46 pm

    I go this letter too. What’s interesting is that they have the correct LLC number on the letter ? How did they get this information ? Will they go the the state website and search for all LLC’s ?

    -Kevin

  • By HG, March 10, 2009 @ 8:03 pm

    I got this too! I sent it to my lawyer and he said it was fraud.

  • By ST, March 16, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

    Thank you SOOOO much for this post! Same story as everyone here — I was about to write a check. Thanks also for the useful links — I’ll be adding to the fraud reports filed.

  • By Bill Jeppesen, March 16, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

    Wow, I came so close to being scammed! I filled out the form, got ready to cut the check, looking for to whom the check should be written, then I saw…not been approved or endorsed by any Government Agency…next step Google, next step, shredder. Thank you!!!

  • By catherine, March 16, 2009 @ 10:00 pm

    My husband brought this letter home today and had me read it. The First thing that caught my eye was the seal then the disclamer “This product or service has not been approved or endorsed by any Government Agency….” We have to keep a sharp eye out!

  • By Jer, March 16, 2009 @ 10:28 pm

    The real statement of information only asks for a $20 filing fee (I hope).

  • By Rob, March 21, 2009 @ 2:46 pm

    It burns me up that we almost wrote out the check to them but when we checked the Nolo LLC guide we found that state doesn’t charge 228$. How do they get our company name and address? Does the state sell this information to these scammers?

  • By Jenna, April 2, 2009 @ 9:55 am

    We just received ours today! I knew it looked fishy. Thank you for all of the posts.

  • By TR, April 2, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

    Ha Ha… I had a good laugh! I was pissed when I first opened the letter but then remembered paying a much small filing fee for a Satatement of Information I filed for another LLC a while back.

    These guys are good… very good!

  • By kym, April 2, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

    i got the letter and i am sending it back sans check with “NICE TRY” written across it.

  • By theoutside, April 2, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

    You just saved me $225. Thanks- reported them to the BBB and filed a mail fraud complaint.

  • By Allan L., April 3, 2009 @ 12:50 am

    Yup, I also just received this letter and am so irate that a company like this is allowed to operate in our state.

    They need to be taken down, legal-style.

  • By raybo, April 3, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

    I got this letter too and it does look VERY official. Some of the letter sounded like they were some kind of company who was going to do something on behalf of my company. If I were not already a suspicious person, I probably would have written the check. I’m sure many have. BBB and attorney general should close these guys down!

  • By adrian, April 4, 2009 @ 10:29 am

    too bad there are lots of people who sent money to these scam artists. where is the law? busy checking on the bailout? or immigration? imagine how many small LLC’s are sending money since there are only 38 responses here. and when trying to report to FBI, they are too busy with subprime mortgage. AMAZING!!!!!

  • By lw, April 4, 2009 @ 6:30 pm

    Why isn’t there a legal action against this company? Where is the FBI…?

    Thanks a lot for the information you have published!!! I almost sent the check $228 to them as well, but then Los Angeles address and a a statement that this offer is not endorsed by any government agency stopped me. I start researching this issue online and came across your article. Thank you very much!!!!!

  • By Jennifer, April 6, 2009 @ 11:54 am

    I was about to write the check, when I saw the small wording about not being a government agency. I went out on the web and found your information. Thank you for saving me $228. Being a small business I need to use my money for more important things like paying my employees, so they can eat. It is so despicable what people will do to one another.

  • By C Nunes, April 6, 2009 @ 3:21 pm

    This scam needs to be reported to someone immediately. The fact that they have created their form to look so much like the one from the State of California is fraudulent. They have a seal (mine showing an eagle), use the same fonts, have your name, CA LLC number with a control number printed on the top are just a few of the tricks. Only in small print at the bottom does it state it has not been approved or endorsed by any government agency. Business person beware!

  • By JScar, April 7, 2009 @ 11:17 am

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR BLOG…getting ready to go on vacation, paying taxes, getting ready to pay this…looked fishy. Thank you!

  • By Nunez, April 10, 2009 @ 1:44 pm

    Man they’re good! Almost sent payment. Thank you for your article. I’m so glad I google it.

  • By David, April 11, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

    I actually filled out the form, wrote a check and before sealing the envelope went online. Always follow your gut feeling.

  • By M. S. Cunningham, April 13, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

    WOW, what a post! Was just about to get the payment over, but as I read the letter, the key words which made me google it were: Remit immediately, DUE DATE, AVOID DELAYS, SUSPENSION, SUSPENDED all in bold caps! I have been scammed before, and can usually spot them preatty quick, but this one was good, thought out and put togeather well. They should be stopped..

    Just a note, will be starting a new company called “The Verifiers”, wherein we collaborate with individuals across the globe to help aid in performing actual physical verification of information on companies such as this.

  • By Jeff, April 13, 2009 @ 8:50 pm

    Go here to report this company to the Attorney General!

    http://ag.ca.gov/contact/complaint_form.php?cmplt=CL

  • By Craig, April 15, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

    Thanks. You helped me confirm my hunch.

  • By ANNY, April 16, 2009 @ 5:49 pm

    i can’t believe that i almost cut a check for this stuff. glad i decided to spend 1 min to goggle. thanks guys!

  • By Ciprian, April 16, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

    Did anybody make a complain to the state?

  • By Chris, April 18, 2009 @ 11:22 am

    We recieved this very official looking request- had a hunch it was a scam. Thanks for confirming it - we will pass the word to others

  • By Juan Luis, April 18, 2009 @ 3:57 pm

    Same as David,check was ready to go…

  • By Betty, April 18, 2009 @ 4:11 pm

    Thanks for saving me money. As soon as I saw the Los Angeles address I thought it might be phoney. When I googled it your article came up.

  • By Mike Fossan, April 18, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

    Thank you for having this scam posted for us. One thing is that these people who sent the letter had teh wrong name of the company so I knew something was alos wrong.

    Mike

  • By Seth, April 18, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

    Wow. What a scam! I was writing out the check when I noticed the LA address. Thanks everyone for creating this thread.

  • By Seth, April 18, 2009 @ 5:29 pm

    Wow, what a scam! Someone should take action against these guys for misrepresentation. I hate being taken advantage of.

  • By Mike, April 19, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

    Many, many, many thanks for this post & everyone’s comments! I nearly fell for this too. Will definitely pass the word! Thanks again everyone!!!

  • By Tony, April 19, 2009 @ 1:22 pm

    Throw away the letter into your recycle bin. This outfit needs to be brought down. I just wrote to the Sec of State. Probably won’t do any good. Pass the word Many of us can make a loud noise.
    Legal coercion and dishonesty at its best…

  • By RP, April 20, 2009 @ 2:58 am

    I almost wrote a check for this too. Did anyone call the BBB yet on this company? Thanks for having this information on your site. I really got suspicious when I saw the remittance check amount for $228. I have always filed my statement of information yearly for 20-30 only so I went online and found your blog

    Thanks

  • By Margi, April 20, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

    Just tried to call the phone number, and it states that the mail box is full and not taking anymore calls. So glad to find this site and save $228.

  • By D Malley, April 20, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

    Thanks for the information. We also got this letter. I will report it as mail fraud:
    https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx

  • By Jenny, April 20, 2009 @ 2:54 pm

    I found they have an F rating on the BBB website. I also filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission - it was easy. If anyone has any other ideas about getting these guys shut down, please help!

  • By John, April 20, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

    Why don’t the police go over there and arrest these sob’s. I got enough to worry about without having to try and deal with these parasites. I am calling the Sec of State in the morning

  • By June, April 21, 2009 @ 9:45 am

    Only the paranoid survive. I’m glad my instincts kicked in. The LA address didn’t feel right and I decided to Search and yep, Scam. Thank God for the internet.

  • By Charlotte, April 21, 2009 @ 9:55 am

    Thank goodness for this website, I’m going to contact my local BBB and waste .42 on a stamp to send them a note; ‘YOU ARE SCUM BAGS’. It will make me feel better!

  • By Tiffany, April 21, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

    I too received this letter and after never receiving a call back and being instructed to leave a message; I decided to go online and search - this is when I saw the link stating it was a scam.

  • By Jacki, April 21, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

    Thank God for Google! Sadly, I think these guys got some money out of me a couple of years ago… but not anymore!
    These people need to be shut down! Thanks for your stories. You saved me $228 that I desperately need right now.

  • By Steven, April 21, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

    Thanks guys! I also received this letter and had pen in hand to write the check when I decided to take the min to Google it. I’m glad i did!

  • By Rajat Sewal, April 21, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

    I too got this letter from Annual Review Board and almost paid them. Then I decided to google it. Phew. It is nice to see these posts. We have to stay ALERT at all times. I am now reading about whether I need to file every two years and what the fees is.
    -Rajat

  • By Mardi, April 21, 2009 @ 5:04 pm

    I received the Annual Review Board, Statement of Information, Limited Libality Company statement in the mail today and I was so concerned that I had somehow failed to file our LLC’s Statement of Information and that I cost had gone up so much that I ate two candy bars, filled out the information, wrote a check and then made a copy of all information. I called the phone number at the bottom right hand side of the page and got a recording. It all seemed so strange so I goolgle Annual Review Board and here I am! Thank you!!!

  • By Luis, April 21, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

    I can’t believe it.!!!! I mean really???!!!! I’m very business savvy and a couple of things sparked a red flag. One is the disclosure saying that they’re not endorsed or approved by a Government Agency. Believe me, my very first instinct was to very if this was legit, but man I can easily see how writing a check could have been very easy.

  • By Alicia Dee, April 21, 2009 @ 11:16 pm

    I just got this letter in my mail box and almost freaked out. I really thought it was true and like everyone else, I almost wrote out a check to them as well. It looked real. What I did notice was the part that said, ” This product or service has not been approved or endorsed by any government agency.” I can’t believe I nearly got scammed. Thanks for whoever started this blogged! You helped a lot of people out.

  • By Bee Colman, April 22, 2009 @ 10:57 am

    Got the letter yesterday. I have had this LLC for several years and never received anything like it. I left a message asking them if they are an official Gov’t Agency. dont expect a reply. thanks for your article.

  • By Tyler, April 22, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

    Thanks for this. I’ve received something like this before and it was another scam. They need to be shut down.

  • By K. Hartley, April 22, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

    Thank you for the article. I complete all of my filings online. When I googled the Annual Review Board, your article came up. I didn’t notice the discrepancies until I reviewed the letter against your article. Again, thank you.

  • By Susan, April 22, 2009 @ 4:19 pm

    With a name like “Annual Review Board” I knew it had to be a scam, especially reading the statement at the bottom, “…not endorsed by any government Agency…” Now to figure out how to turn these con artists in!
    Cheers,
    Susan

  • By mike gutierrez, April 23, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

    Had this letter sitting around for a couple of days. I’m dissolving the LLC so I was trying to find a phone number to call to see if I needed to pay. I just happened onto this website. Thanks.

    I can’t believe these type of scams are allowed to perpetuate.

  • By dianaw, April 23, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

    Thanks!!! Received today this letter today - Googled straight away and voila. Thanks again for the forum.

  • By David Chao, April 24, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

    I got this letter yesterday and automatically questioned it. 1 week to send in a check seemed ridiculous. Just didn’t look right. Thanks for this blog as it confirms my thinking!

  • By Debbie L, April 27, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

    Thank you so much for this blog. I called the number twice, and left messages but no one called me back. So decided to check the internet and here was this wonderful blog letting me know this was a scam. I’m very thankful to everyone for posting this information!

  • By Spence, April 27, 2009 @ 8:57 pm

    I also received a letter last week and was ready to get out the checkbook when I did a quick Google search. The fact this many people have posted on this site since mid January — not just received letters, but actually posted on a random blog — is astonishing. This company must have blanketed small businesses and the sad part is you know they’re making money off this scam. Based on the apparent sheer volume, they almost have to be.

    I just filed a complaint with the BBB. I want to keep checking back over the next few months to see if this post continues getting similar comments. If so, then I guess I have no idea what function the BBB serves.

  • By Susan, April 28, 2009 @ 3:03 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. You saved me $228. I was ready to fall for this– it’s very expensive to own a corporation in California, and I thought oh, my god… one more fee. I totally missed the language at the bottom, saying “this product or service has not been approved…” etc. What alerted me to do a search on Google was that the beginning says something about filing this biennially. So first I looked up the definition of biennial– I thought it meant every two years, and wanted to make sure that it wasn’t the same as biannual, which means twice a year. The thing is, my corporation is only a year old– so then I was ready to search for the California government website that would clarify this, and maybe call to see why I was getting this letter if it was only due every two years. I am so glad I did the Google search– I searched for “California Annual Review Board LLC,” and found several sites with information on this scam. Thank you again, and I will file a mail fraud complaint with the postal service. Whew… that was close!

  • By Lorena, April 28, 2009 @ 3:11 pm

    We received this letter and thought it looked fishy so we got online and checked it out. Thanks for posting your message and confirming our suspicions!

  • By MV, April 28, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

    I just sent payment yesterday. I don’t know why I decided to google it but I just placed a stop payment on the check from my bank account.

    I should have checked sooner. Thank you all!

  • By Charisse, April 28, 2009 @ 10:10 pm

    I questioned the letter but still almost wrote a check because of the pending date. If this tells me anything at all it is that you should always question unsolicitated mail and thank goodness for posts like these. You do have to provide info to SOS.ca.gov but you sure as heck don’t need to pay someone $200 to do it for you.

  • By Nicholas, April 28, 2009 @ 10:44 pm

    I recieved this same scam letter after I setup my non profit organization Dont Die Drunk. It was asking for $195 in fees!! Luckily the mailing address seemed wierd that it was in LA and not Sacramento, so I showed our lawyer who confirmed it was a scame!

  • By Dr. Andryce M. Zurick, April 29, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

    Yesterday, April 28, 2009, I received the letter from the Annual Review Board. I was suspect as last week I received another SCAM letter from the Compliance Annual Minutes Board (Murrieta, CA) that described similar annual meeting topics. Thank goodness for the Internet and search engines to research suspect companies that feed upon small business owners. A very sorry state indeed.

  • By Steve Sellwood, April 29, 2009 @ 1:22 pm

    Thanks for the information. I questioned it, but was also going to write a check. I appreciate you clearing this up!!

  • By Kim in Venice, CA, April 29, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

    Cannot thank you enough for having this article on line. I called the Secretary of State Office and they confirmed it and said that the Attorney General is investigating this scan and to have anyone that received this letter to call 800-952-5225 or 916-445-9555. So I’m passing it on. Thanks again!

  • By AlmostScammed, April 30, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

    File a complaint to the Office of Attorney General at:

    http://ag.ca.gov/contact/complaint_form.php?cmplt=CL

    If enough of us file, I’m sure it’ll get their attention. I’ll be filing mine this afternoon.

    Good luck everyone in your ventures.

  • By Ron, April 30, 2009 @ 8:09 pm

    Shocked me to see a request for $228 with a due date of the same day I received it. Thanks for the post. But what really concerns me is the original post was in January, here we are 5 months later and people are still receiving the bogus letter. Why hasn’t anything been done?

  • By J Worden, April 30, 2009 @ 9:23 pm

    I just filled out US Postal mail fraud notice and when I finished they say this:
    U.S. Postal Inspectors base their investigations on the number, substance, and pattern of complaints received from the public. We ask you to keep all original documents related to your complaint. We will contact you ONLY if more information is needed.

    So please everyone fill this notice out by going to:
    https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx

  • By A, May 1, 2009 @ 4:04 pm

    Thanks, I actually sent in the form without the check. They then sent me a letter requesting payment. I thought it suspicious when I saw who to make the check out to and decided to Google it. Thanks much.

  • By Ag, May 12, 2009 @ 6:50 pm

    How does this go on for five months with out the government stepping in. I just got one as well, anyone know the names of the people running it and where they live? I’m reporting to the USPS too.

  • By Ag, May 12, 2009 @ 7:03 pm

    Some good links:

    looks like someone bought the URL just to rat them out, names one of the scammers:
    http://annualreviewboard.com/

    ca secretary of state site, search under corps to find them:
    http://kepler.sos.ca.gov/list.html

    PDF about how to report them to the California State, they are still an active corp:
    http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/be/forms/customer-alert-solicitations.pdf

  • By Ruth, May 13, 2009 @ 6:26 pm

    Thank goodness for the existence of this blog, and thanks for all the posts! I was suspicious about the notice I got, googled and found this. Also checked the CA Secretary of State website, and confirmed that yes indeed the scam is all over the place. What a shame. Hopefully the Attorney General can do something like issue an injunction against these scammers.

  • By 2 ton Dodge, May 14, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

    Got this letter about the time that the LLC and County Registrar info was due to be renewed. So I thought it was part of that. When I went the County Recorders offcie, I took the “Annual Review Board” paper with me. They laughed and said its a scam and its made to look like a county or state document. These people should be shut down. If I came up with a scam like this Id be prosecuted!

  • By Carmen, May 14, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

    WOW! I was SCAMMED! As a new LLC owner wanting to stay in compliance I sent a Money order! I just realized I had not heard from them sisnce I sent the check so I JUST decide to GOOGLE them. I’m in SHOCK! Help What do I do Now?

  • By Anita, June 9, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

    I got one as well. IIt looks so formal that I was about to call the County registration. I was suprised since I just paid my registration. We should file a class action against this company. BBS should send them a warning.

  • By domineaux, June 11, 2009 @ 4:20 pm

    I faxed a copy of the letter to the Attorney General, State of California.
    Guess I’m in a long line of other complaints.

    I wonder if anything will be done about it?

    Honestly, I doubt it. Our government is so lazy an incompetent I’d actually be flabbergasted if anything was done about it.

    In the meanwhile the scammer will still be riding around Santa Monica in his Lamborghini, drinking wine and enjoying the good life.

  • By Mark L, July 2, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

    It appears this isn’t the only company trying this. I actually got a letter from “Business Filings Division” with a BS “seal” at the top of the page but otherwise the exact same text with a mailing address of 980 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA. They wanted $239 and asked me to remit immediately. I can’t find ANY official government agency at this address. Anyone else see this one? I’m calling the BBB about this place as well…

  • By Chris, July 3, 2009 @ 4:13 pm

    Just received one today but from “Business Filings Division”. Since I had already sent my SOI a couple of weeks ago, I questioned it. That and the fact it was asking for $239 when it only costs $20 to file an SOI. Called the state and they said to throw it away - it’s a scam. Instead, I’ll file a complaint along with the rest of you!

  • By Leah, July 6, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

    FYI— We got this letter today; but they are now calling themseves the Business Filings Division. Otherwise the text described above is almost identical. Also, they list the address as
    Business Filings Division
    LLC Unit
    980 Ninth St. 16th Fl
    Sacramento, CA

    If their ‘business’ is filing paperwork on behalf of people who have no idea they’re being taken in, I don’t see why the government offices they are sending the docs in to have to accept them. Can’t do much above them getting our info though; I believe LLC filing is a public record.

  • By David, July 6, 2009 @ 4:04 pm

    Thanks for this post! I couldn’t believe the state would charge me $200 for something that was only supposed to be $20. In my case, these guys have used a Sacramento address:

    Business Filings Division
    LLC Unit
    980 Ninth St. 16th FL
    Sacramento, CA 95814-2736

    http://annualreviewboard.com is a site with good info about this scam and they also report the new address.

    Definitely reporting these guys, and I can’t believe this scam is still going on!

  • By Brent Wagner, July 6, 2009 @ 8:32 pm

    Just got the letter. What garbage.

    Like the comments before me…

    How the hell is this still being sent out????

  • By Wayne, July 7, 2009 @ 11:52 am

    I am not an attorney but here are my armchair observations for what they are worth. Details: From the “Business Filings Division” in Sacramento. Same name on the official looking seal plus “California” … luring at first glance but NOT the official state seal. They DO state that the product is not endorsed or associated with any government agency so my impression is that they are covered there. What I take particular exception to is wording such as “Due Date” and “Remit Immediately” which implies to me that some service was performed or agreed upon. Would love a legal interpretation of that language. Googled the name “Business Filings Division” and the address and traced it to what appears to be a law firm (on the surface anyway). My personal guess is that they are walking right along the legal fence. The sad part is that many people will read this and all the above messages AFTER they send in their checks.

  • By Wenis, July 13, 2009 @ 12:23 am

    Thank you very much for sharing this important information. I just received this letter today. I almost wrote a check. I’m very glad that I did a search before I wrote the check. Once again, thank you very much for posting it.

  • By Dana, July 13, 2009 @ 12:03 pm

    Thank GOD I read the fine print! the “has not been approved or endorsed by any government agency” gave it away here. I go a bill for $239 and mine was supposed to be mailed to Sacramento. They ALMOST got me! I had it filled out with the check ready to go… but something didn’t sit right.

    Beware…

    Business Filings Division
    LLC Unit
    980 Ninth St. 16th FL
    Sacramento, CA 95814-2736

  • By Brian, July 15, 2009 @ 2:43 am

    I already sent the check and received another one. I then get suspicious and got online and found this thread too late. My bank is showing the check is being “pending” and I am not sure what to do to stop it. I tried to set a stop on the check but it might be little too late. Any suggestion ?

  • By Paige, July 17, 2009 @ 12:53 pm

    Thank you! We called the state and they confirmed it was a scam. We’ll be sending it to the news stations.

  • By Palin, July 18, 2009 @ 8:16 pm

    Oh my gosh can’t believe this is on-going. Received two - Disclosure Statment asking a $125 fee and Statement of Information asking fee of $239 to be made payable to Business Filings Division address to 980 Ninth Street, 16th Floor, Sacramento, CA, 95814.

  • By Eric Watson, July 21, 2009 @ 12:42 pm

    I got this in the mail and called the Secretary of States office and they told me it had nothing to do with them. \So it’s a scam?\ \I wouldn’t say that.\ \But it has nothing to do with the State of California?\ \No, you can file a complaint with the State Attorney General’s office if you’d like.\

    Glad I made this call. Also got one from the DEPARTMENT OF ANNUAL MINUTES COMPLIANCE the same day. There ought to be a law against this stuff.

  • By Rodney, July 21, 2009 @ 6:52 pm

    Yeah I was duped on this one. Apparently my lawyer was fooled too. If you tried calling them in April, it’s a dead line. If you call them now, some college girl operator picks ups. If you dispute the scam, she’ll transfer you to some voice mail of some guy with a foreign accent. I actually got a call back from someone named Dina. I’ve had several interactions with her and am requesting my money back. Apparently they don’t use computers, so everytime I ask something, she has to check and call me back (what a drag!). So far she says she can’t issue a refund, but she’ll call me back to confirm that my statement of info was or wasn’t actually processed with them. In any case, I’ll sue if she doesn’t adhere to my request.

  • By Rodney, July 21, 2009 @ 6:55 pm

    BTW, if anybody needs my take on this for a news story, I’m willing to share my side and all of the efforts I’ve put so far. Thanks.

  • By CWA, July 23, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

    Got one of those letters this week. I know it is a scam. Pretending to be official but just marginally legal by the disclaimer at the end of the letter. I send all this stuff to the attorney general’s office, not that they do anything. Maybe I could try the county district attorney? Probably need to find a legal authority that is up for reelection soon.

  • By Craig, July 28, 2009 @ 6:51 pm

    I got nailed by this. Came home after two weeks of vacation to a stack of mail, was in a rush and dropped the into the mailbox without thinking about it. Then I saw the one from the DEPARTMENT OF ANNUAL MINUTES COMPLIANCE and decided to google it. I did file with the State AG. My bank already cleared the check, but hopefully they catch someone so no one else gets caught. Thanks for putting up this site! Just wish I’d seen it sooner. . .

  • By San Francisco SEO, July 30, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

    I just got this scam in the mail yesterday. I knew it was bullshit when I saw the section that says: “This product or service has not been approved or endorsed by any government agency…”

    I see these clowns have wised up a bit and are now using a Sacramento address. It blows my mind that no one has thrown them in jail yet!

  • By alex, August 2, 2009 @ 8:39 am

    Just got the same letter. What can be done to shut these people down. HOw can this go out to the media where larger masses of people are aware.

  • By Mark, August 2, 2009 @ 11:18 am

    Just got this today. They seem to have “fixed” the LA problem - mine says Sacramento. Unbelievable. THANKS!

  • By Tongan, August 6, 2009 @ 5:30 pm

    I received this letter today. I was so mad that I called the number and left a message. Upon further review, I noticed at the bottom of the letter it states that it was not a government document. Which is when the letter met the trashcan.

    Be Very Careful When Reading Letters!

    God Bless America.

  • By Samoa, August 6, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

    I just filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

    I recommend you all take 2 minutes out of your time to file a complaint.

    https://odr.bbb.org/odrweb/public/getstarted.aspx

    Take care!

  • By A in NYC, August 6, 2009 @ 5:55 pm

    I got one today to. I knew it was bogus (although it did cause alarm), as it didn’t seem legit…no phone #, when I googled it, there was no such name, we’ve never paid them before, the quick due date. It wreaked of scam. Good thing I found this though. Will file reports with all agencies. Poor people who HAVE paid $239!

  • By Mike, August 7, 2009 @ 6:07 pm

    We received one today. The first thing I noticed was the awful \California\ seal on the letter. Noticed that they fixed the L.A. thing too. I’m sending mine back with a big fat note attached saying NOT to send this \stuff\ to me again. And, I’m turning them into the BBB. Good luck to all!

  • By Dayna, August 7, 2009 @ 8:14 pm

    I got one of these today too and yes it is a Sacramento address 980 Ninth St, 16th Fl Sacramento. What is interesting to note is that the 16th Floor is full of Attorney offices. Am i then wasting my time complaining to the Attorney General? and this scam seems to be going on for quite some time now. With all the Complaints to the AGO, i am wondering when the day will come when the people are protected instead. I am tired of the scams, the pay offs and the corruption.

  • By Robin, August 7, 2009 @ 8:48 pm

    Just got mine today…. I emailed all the data to CA’s Secretary of State’s office. I’m on board if any action can be taken against these frauds!

  • By KL, August 11, 2009 @ 11:27 pm

    I got one today, guess they are still coming!

  • By VTAM, August 18, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

    I received the letter today but the filing address has changed - now it IS in Sacramento. The envelope tells you something — It says, “This is not a government document”

  • By LG, August 18, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

    Received this letter today kind of ridiculous since I have had my LLC for over four and have files two business filings already for $20. each directly to the Franchise Board. I can see how people would be fooled when first receiving it so that’s why I googled. Scammers are evil that’s all i have to say…hope Karma works here.

  • By Myles, August 19, 2009 @ 12:03 am

    Ditto. I glad I found this blog before writing my check. Looks “almost” authentic but after reading through it very carefully, it definitely raised doubt.

  • By Angel, August 19, 2009 @ 11:24 am

    Recevied the letter again (we got it last year also), why this kind of scamp still exist?

  • By l david, August 21, 2009 @ 12:28 am

    got my BFD business filings division letter ( bill / threats ) and was going to write the check ,,, then i started reading,,,, long story ,,short , i’m investing 44 cents to send a little post-it with chose words written within,,, then i’ll notify the S O S

  • By Monica, August 24, 2009 @ 4:52 pm

    I’ve just recieved one too. Did not look right, so I Googeled like mosy of you. Disgusting!! How can they get away with a scam like this??? Return address shows: Business Fillings Division 980 Ninth St.16th FL Sacramento, Ca 95814-2736

  • By Mark C, August 31, 2009 @ 7:40 pm

    recieved letter today asking for $ 239.00
    address is LLC Unit 980 Ninth Street, 16th Floor
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Wow bad group of people. Hope they get shut down soon. Thank you for all the info this was very helpful to realize what a scam this is.

  • By Andrew, September 2, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

    I got mine today. this is intentionally fraudulent. the look, feel and content of this document is made to give people the impression it is a required fee to maintain the existence of the LLC. It is likely they are receiving large sums of money. There were 484,945 California LLCs as of Dec. 1, according to the secretary of state’s office. Do the math. If only 5% return this form, the recipient will gross over $5.7M. Where is council? Anyone want to sue? anorris@mednet.ucla.edu. SEC should be involved.

  • By Luxe, September 9, 2009 @ 6:32 pm

    Received a letter from our new company and it is to funny. They have change the address to Sacramento and I do not see anything on the letter that says, “this is not a government agency” - I find it sad that people continue to do this crap.

  • By xuejun, September 15, 2009 @ 7:36 pm

    Got this two days agao. Now the address is in Sacramento, and the a letter looks every bit like an official letter. Guess the scammer is adapting as well.

  • By MJ, September 22, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

    I just received this in the mail. They’ve gotten smart and put the return address to one in Sacramento now. Don’t be fooled! Read the entire page! It states at the bottom and on the back that they are NOT a government agency and that the government does not endorse their product or services!

  • By RN, September 25, 2009 @ 11:01 am

    Glad I looked it over and had already electronically filed my Statement of Information through the CA website. Otherwise I might have been tempted to send in the check. With the Sacramento address, threats of penalties, fines, and suspensions, it is a very sad attempt to con money out of people for essentially no real value. Pretty pathetic way to make a living scamming money out of honest workers!!

  • By Jon, September 25, 2009 @ 1:33 pm

    So, was had on one of these the very first time it was sent to me. Realized it was a scam/soliciting but it was too late, as they had already cashed the check.

    Called my bank to see if there was a way to turn the funds around, but there was not.

    In case anyone else was had, my letter actually has a phone number on it (i’ve heard that they often do not on many letters that go out). Hopefully this helps other people so you don’t have the same problem as me, or you can contact them to complain:

    Annual Filing Division
    1215 K Street, 17th Floor
    Sacramento, CA 05814
    916-779-4147

  • By Sally, September 28, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

    should be posted on all news channels-just had a client who is a little old lady(80+)almost send her hard earned $$ to these creeps-she came to the office to have help in filling it out-we got it before it was completed - she was scared to death that she was going to lose her properties for not replying-thank you for this web site

  • By Andy, September 29, 2009 @ 1:16 am

    Yup, got one too. The address is now Sacramento, I bet they are reading this blog… I got as far as filing in my address, it’s VERY convincing !!

  • By Andy, September 29, 2009 @ 10:49 pm

    I knew this letter was a scam when I read it, but seeing this website made me feel a lot better. What’s amazing is that the first post on this scam dates to early Jan ‘09 and that 9 months later, these people are still in business. I wish the BBB could stop them.

  • By Goliath Tools, LLC., October 1, 2009 @ 3:14 pm

    We were scammed by these posers back in April. Being a young company and wanting to stay compliant, we did not feel the need to investigate as the forms were very professional and appeared to be legit. Watch out!!! They are Annual Review Board in L.A. and Business Filing Division in Sacramento.

  • By David, October 5, 2009 @ 11:23 am

    Thanks everyone for commenting. My LLC has been in existance for about a year, but I changed the name recently. As a result, I initially thought this request for statement of information was in regards to the name change. When I saw the fee for $239 I knew something was wrong because I had previously submitted the SOI for $20. The California Secretary of State website has information regarding this scam. Reference http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/ for more info.

  • By VV, October 5, 2009 @ 6:17 pm

    who can we contact to stop these people.

  • By heidi, October 28, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

    i got this letter too but unfortunately — i am an idiot and i paid them. my LLC is very new and because of that, i didn’t realize it was a scam. btw: my letter had a sacramento address. does anyone have any suggestions on what to do? is there any way to get the money back? you’d think the state would want to help people — i owe CA my $800 annual fee — and unfortunately — part of that payment has gone to the scam artists.

  • By Eric Jones, November 10, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

    I almost paid it as well. Thank you for the post.

    Now let’s be proactive. Please write a formal complaint letter and include your contact information and signature. Please scan the letter with signature and email it to:
    businessfilingsdivisionscam@gmail.com

    I will gladly file a complaint with the Attorney General and any other suggested agencies. Let’s put these guys in jail where they belong.

    Eric

  • By John S., November 13, 2009 @ 5:42 pm

    As despicable as this company/person is, it is not necessarily a crime. It depends on whether they actually file the Statement of Information, etc. or not. It’s the same thing as the company that sends the letter saying they will submit a form to see if you can have your property re-assessed and pay less property tax. Obviously, something you can do yourself without the fee. If this company doesn’t do the paperwork for you, that’s a different story, but probably a civil matter.

  • By Mp, December 23, 2009 @ 5:49 pm

    Yes my boss got a letter and he was caught up with paying everything else he just sent a check in..scamed..it was with the sacramento address on 9th street and for 239 dollars i feel bad for him as he just called the office to disolve his LLC and they told him that letter was a scam. Dont get scamed read the letter it is not official it does however look official. Call your Secretary of state business office and check.

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