NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Secretary of State announced that people should be cautious when receiving official-looking mail. This time, the scam is targeting most Tennesseans by asking them to pay for a copy of a "UCC-1 financing statement" filed against them.
The letter asks for a $107 payment for a copy of their financing statement. Nick McBride, the Knox County Register of Deeds, said if the public needs a record — the fee is much lower than that.
"The government does not come to them and tell them that they need something. That's just not our function, we're here to serve the public," McBride said.
The Federal Trade Commission received more than 2.8 million fraud reports last year. McBride said part of the problem is that some of these companies may offer disclaimers on the bottom of the page — but that doesn't ensure they are 100% legitimate.
"We've, we being the Tennessee Registers Association, have worked with the Attorney General and the problem is that a lot of these companies are just barely skirting the law," McBride said.
But McBride also explained that most people don't need UCC statements because they are already on file with the government. These are usually filed by creditors as a way to publically declare that they can seize the property of debtors who default on business loans. They are usually printed in local newspapers, too.
The Secretary of State said they are common in Tennessee, with the Division of Business and Charitable Organizations issuing around 200,000 per year.
The scam mailer is named the "Tennessee UCC Statement Request Form" and asks for people to pay money for the statement, on behalf of the debtor. One of the biggest red flags to watch out for when watching for scams is when the letter asks for money.
"They sure don't need to be sending a check for $100 for someone to give them that copy," McBride said.