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Rip-Off Alert: Letter was fake business license renewal fee

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 12/28/2012 7:21 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- A new scam is stealing millions of dollars from thousands of people and small-business owners through a simple letter in the mail.

Susan Mullen got a letter in the mail asking for her business license renewal fee. But then she remembered a warning she'd heard.

"My first instinct was to pay for it. Then I remembered something I'd been told a while back so I looked into it further,” Mullen said. "There were a lot of scams regarding the renewals for the LLCs -- to watch out for that -- I wouldn't be getting anything in the mail."

The letter was a scam that billed more than $10 million from thousands of victims.

"These small business owners got a document in the mail that looked very much like a bill asking them to remit payment immediately for $175, and if they didn't pay, there would be penalty," said U.S. Postal Inspector Wynter Kugel.

Postal inspectors started tracking the case after thousands of complaints.

"This mailing had no numbers, email addresses and no website,” Kugel said. “There was no way to contact other than mailing your money to the post office."

Inspectors say that is a red flag. Another piece of advice: Read the fine print.

"On the form, there was tiny writing that said, "This is not a bill,” Mullen said. “I think read the fine print and really go over it before you write a check."

Postal inspectors have identified the suspect and taken the necessary steps to ensure the suspect ceases his deceptive mailings. Postal inspectors are considering civil action, which often results in the return of funds that the suspect may still have at his disposal.
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