In what has become an annual scare tactic rife with opportunities for fraud, poster scammers contact businesses, intimidating them with threats of fines or worse for not posting or updating state and federal mandated employment posters. While it is true that most businesses must prominently display a number of employment posters, all of which can be obtained free of charge, the scare tactic works something like this:
A company sends intimidating letters, e-mails, or other communications warning you that you are subject to hefty fines from every government agency known to man if you dare to conduct business for one more day without having the required government posters, updated annually. They warn of the imminent $17,000 fine that will be assessed, with daily assessments for continued violations. Of course, you can spare yourself the agony of government imposed fines by sending them only $99.95. Each year, the threats are renewed, the fines increased, and the fear multiplied.
The latest variation on a theme comes from a California company calling itself the Labor Standards Compliance Office (LSCO). LSCO is not registered to do business in Washington. It uses a mail drop as its official address, but otherwise maintains no physical office in Washington. Posing as a government agency, LSCO sends official-looking correspondence that appears to impose a $295.00 fee that is “Now Due” for failure to comply with posting regulations. Boldly emblazoned in the upper right corner are the words:
Failure to comply with 2013 labor
law requirements may lead to
government fines and/or audits
The notice is as official looking, and as intimidating, as an impending IRS audit. While it is true that legitimate private vendors may sell such posters, communications that create the appearance of being official notices from a government agency seeking to impose a sense of urgency at the recipient’s risk of peril are nothing less than fraudulent.
On February 4, 2014, the Washington Attorney General’s Office filed a complaint against LSCO in the Spokane County Superior Court, seeking to impose an injunction and civil penalties against LSCO. But while this action may have the result of shutting down one operator, at least until they can form another company to carry on, they are by no means the only company engaged in such tactics.
In its February 5th announcement, the Attorney General announced that it learned of another company, called Labor Law Compliance Institute, LLC that was engaging in a similar scam. Labor Law Compliance Institute (“LLCI”) also operates out of a mail drop, this time in Largo, Florida, a haven for nationwide scams. LLCI tries to sell labor law posters for $143, and has managed to attain the slightly less than coveted “F” rating given by the Better Business Bureau.
As already noted, government required posters are available to be downloaded or requested free of charge. The following websites offer all the essential posters:
In addition, the recommended Human Rights Commission poster on prohibiting discrimination in employment can be obtained free of charge by calling 1-800-233-3247 (in Washington State) or 360-753-6770.