BBB says mail "scheme" targets small business owners

BBB says mail "scheme" targets small business owners

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - There's a new warning from the Better Business Bureau about a possible scam targeting small businesses in the tri-state. The letters come in the mail.

They appear to be from a state official and say you need to turn in some forms, but it's all fake.

The Better Business Bureau says these misleading letters are showing up in multiple states.

One Evansville business owner says she hasn't seen this so-called scheme, but has seen so many nothing surprises her.

Across the tri-state, throughout Indiana and even into other states - from Illinois to Massachusetts - small business owners are getting mailings appearing to be from the Secretary of State.

"They can copy the seals of the various offices and make it look very, very official," Tom Bozikis, VP of the Tri-State BBB said.

Small business owners are asked to pay $125 to a company so they can fill out forms supposedly mandated by the state. The letters look urgent, but ultimately, the BBB says they're phony. 

When Cate Sisco, a small business owner of 16 years, heard about this latest "scam," she says she wasn't surprised. 

"I think they just think they can get more money out of a business than they can an individual," Cisco said.

Sisco says her business, "Piece of Cake," hasn't gotten any deceitful letters, but she says they've dealt with their fair share of schemes. 

So what can someone do if they think their business is quickly becoming a victim of fraud?

Bozikis says - be alert and don't automatically trust some of these things.

Thanks to her own past experiences, Sisco says she's already always skeptical, but still hopes one day she and other business owners won't have to worry. 

"I believe there are more honest people than dishonest people and you know, shame on them is what I would say. You know, hopefully I'm not going to get caught in a scam and hopefully other businesses won't either," Sisco said.

The BBB says any business owner who thinks they may be getting deceived should give them a call. The BBB in Evansville can be reached by calling 812-473-0202 or by calling 1-800-359-0979.

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