Be on Guard Against Solicitations Offering Government Assistance and Labor Law Posters
The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office urges organizations and businesses to be on guard against telephone and mail solicitations offering to provide assistance in connection with government programs or regulations in exchange for payment.
Solicitations for Government-Required Labor Law Posters
Some organizations have complained that unscrupulous organizations have attempted to sell them government posters, which are required by State and federal law, even though such materials can be obtained for free from the appropriate government agency. Such solicitations may include official-looking seals or urgent “warnings” indicating that a law requires organizations to buy posters to comply with State or federal regulations. Businesses and other organizations need not pay private companies to receive such materials. Organizations may obtain required State labor law posters by contacting the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry, Labor Standards Division as follows:
Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry
443 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155-4307
(651) 284-5005 or (800) 342-5354
Organizations may obtain required federal labor law posters by contacting the United States Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as follows:
U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Tri-Tech Center, Suite 920
331 Second Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55401
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Minneapolis Area Office
330 South Second Ave, Suite 720
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Posters available at: www1.eeoc.gov/employers/poster.cfm
Government Grant Assistance Solicitations
Businesses, organizations, and individuals have also been targeted by scams offering to assist them in obtaining large amounts of government money in exchange for monetary payments. Businesses that send money to these programs only receive “informational booklets” containing minimal assistance, if they receive anything at all.
Although there are a variety of sources within the government and private sector that offer grants to eligible applicants, organizations do not need to enlist the services of a separate company to learn about such funding sources. The application procedures for a wide variety of public and private grants can be obtained free of charge. Organizations should never give their bank account information to unknown telemarketers.
Since many of its departments offer grants, the federal government has created Grants.gov as a resource for parties seeking information about grants. Grants.gov is managed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and may be contacted as follows:
Grants.gov Program Management Office
HHH Building, Room 739F
200 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, D.C. 20201
Organizations may also contact the United States General Services Administration’s Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance at: www.cfda.gov.
For more information, contact the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office as follows:
Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 296-3353 (Twin Cities Calling Area)
(800) 657-3787 (Outside the Twin Cities)
TTY: (651) 297-7206 or TTY: (800) 366-4812
Fake Invoices Targeted at Businesses and Other Organizations
Scam artists often aim fake invoices at companies, churches and synagogues, non-profits, and other organizations, hoping to get them to pay for products or services, such as printer toner, paper, directory listings, magazine subscriptions, books, and chemical products that the company did not order, that have little or no value, or that are never delivered.
Credit Card Processing Service Solicitations
Small businesses are often inundated with solicitations from credit card processing companies. Some of these sellers, however, lock their customers into long-term contracts and do not provide the promised rates or service.
Business Filing Scams
The common denominator of these scams is that the solicitations always instruct the business to submit a fee for a service that is unnecessary, or that the business could do on its own for a fraction of the cost.