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Consumer Alert Issued With Business Info And Scam Warning

Michigan Business NewsLansing, MI - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has issued a new consumer alert to notify small business owners about the new federal Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), which will impact millions of small businesses.

Knowing what the legislation requires will help businesses comply with the law and avoid scammers who may try to steal personal or corporate information under the guise of offering assistance.

The Corporate Transparency Act, which took effect January 1, 2024, requires most small and medium-sized businesses to file a Beneficial Ownership Information report disclosing information to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) about the people who own or control the company.

According to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s fact sheet on the CTA, the law was designed to stop criminals from using American businesses to anonymously launder ill-gotten proceeds. The law will also help arm law enforcement and other partners with the knowledge they need to stop financial anonymity, which supports illegal activities like drug trafficking and terrorism.

“The Corporate Transparency Act is necessary legislation that will help prevent criminals from using U.S. companies to facilitate their illegal operations while hiding their ownership of those companies from authorities,” Nessel said.

Many small business owners are unaware of the CTA’s existence and its requirements. Those who know about the CTA know that failure to comply may carry civil and/or criminal penalties. This may motivate business owners to accept assistance from individuals seeking to acquire company or personal information for nefarious purposes.

Some business owners may receive a letter titled Important Compliance Notice that asks them to click on a URL or to scan a QR code. These emails and letters are fraudulent. FinCEN does not send unsolicited requests. Accessing codes or links or providing any information to scammers could lead to business identity fraud.

“Individuals are not the only ones who can be victims of identity theft,” Nessel continued. “Many companies have seen their assets and reputations ruined by bad actors who have stolen their information through imposter schemes like this or other avenues, including brand spoofing. My Consumer Protection Team is dedicated to educating business owners about these tactics to help prevent them from falling victim and stands ready to help when needed.”

If you believe your business has been the victim of fraud, contact FinCEN or call 1-800-767-2825. You can also contact the Department of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team: 

Consumer Protection Team
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
517-335-7599
Fax: 517-241-3771
Toll-free: 877-765-8388
Online complaint form

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