Many new business owners may experience a lot of frustration as they go through all the paper work that is required to have a legitimate business in California(Trust me I know I went through the same thing) so these business owners try to look for the easy way out by having a contractor. Don’t get me wrong California doesn’t really put a lot of money into their fees but since all of the federal buildings are placed 20 miles away from each other many entrepeneurs opt to find an easy way out and this may lead to a scam and even fraud.
My own experience is when I went to publish our company’s fictitious name, there is a building in the City of Whittier and if you want to publish your name you would have to go there exclusively and go to their registration room where there is an abundance of computers around with easy to fill in e-application form. But, be wary because there is many solicitors outside the city building tempting the future business owner with their professional attire and knowledge of all procedures. Many unsuspecting people may believe they actually work for the city itself! But that isn’t true and they may swindle people for 300 dollars or more for a process that is essentially free minus the 33 dollar city charge. The funny thing I found was that the people who process these applications do indeed give out “Be aware of solicitors” flyers along with your paperwork, yet they do turn a blind eye to these scammers just because they know each other.
Another scam that is quite common and experienced is that once your business location is established you would have to post Employee/Wages posters in your work location and these are basically free and can be downloaded here (http://www.dir.ca.gov/wpnodb.html) and is legal to post them. These scammers though will send you a letter in the mail stating they are from the California Business Practice Bureau and you must pay 275 dollars for these posters and it may be marked as a “final notice” which already alarmed me because I never reached the 1st or 2nd warning at all. The 2nd thing that aroused my suspicions was that the address was at a PO box, now I felt that a legitimate place would have a regular address so I did my research and called the California Department and Labor and they told me that this is indeed fraud and to note that you will only be fined if an inspector shows up with proof of their badge and observes that you do not have updated postings.
These are the scams that I have experienced so far and I believe there may be more out there to trick the average person so be careful and please do your homework before you undertake anything concerning government documents and also on who to trust. If you have experienced anything like I did and want to inform others please leave a comment or feedback, thanks!