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“It’s sort of a scare tactic:” Postal inspectors warn of mailing used to lure people into paying fees

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MILWAUKEE -- Some call it a form of trickery, but there's nothing illegal about it. It is important to remember what you paid in the past for certain things, to save you money in the future.

"It`s sort of a scare tactic to make you think that you need to do that to stay in compliance," Kaye Hughes said.

Hughes is talking about a mailing used to lure people into paying unnecessary fees.

Contact 6: Mailings used to lure people into paying unnecessary fees

Contact 6: Mailings used to lure people into paying unnecessary fees

Hughes is head of an alumni association, and required to file papers with the state for tax purposes.

"This company would be glad to file my reports for me, write the reports and submit them for me for a fee," Hughes said.

Normally, the process costs $15, but the letter says the fee would be $150.

"I`ve done this for eight to 10 years and I thought this is the first time I`ve ever heard of any kind of a $150 fee for something that was required," Hughes said.

Hughes was afraid there had been some sort of change in the laws, and something new was required.

Contact 6: Mailings used to lure people into paying unnecessary fees

Contact 6: Mailings used to lure people into paying unnecessary fees

Hughes noticed a few things that looked suspicious -- like the misspelling of a street (Leestown should be one word), and the return address was for a UPS box.

So she called postal inspectors.

"It`s somewhat a form of trickery," Lisa Verhusen, US postal inspector said.

Inspectors say they see mailing like this every year.

"As long as they provide this service it is NOT fraud. But you don`t have to go through them. You can just file with the state for $15 like you do every year," Verhusen said.

Also, a major fee increase should be a red flag.

"When you see that $150 or an amount that you know you didn`t pay last year... you want to know what is going on, why would they be asking that," Verhusen said.

Kaye Hughes

Kaye Hughes

"I thought it was pretty sneaky for someone to I guess maybe play on your doubts about what the real process was," Hughes said.

If you receive a suspicious mailing, always check with your state's attorney general or your local Better Business Bureau to see if the mailing is legitimate.

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