Ad Alert

Federal Filing Government Imposter Scam

Even the CEO acknowledges that some consumers have confused the company for the federal government.

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Ad Alert

Federal Filing Government Imposter Scam

Not the actual SAM.gov website.

UPDATE 6/23/22: Federal Filing has removed the SAM.gov logo from its website in response to TINA.org’s warning letter. Our original ad alert follows.

In order to be eligible to receive grant money from the federal government, including COVID relief funds, businesses and organizations must register with the System for Award Management, or SAM, at SAM.gov. SAM registration, which is also required to bid on government contracts, is relatively simple — and free. And not only is it free to register, it’s free to renew registration, which can also be done through SAM.gov.

Yet some third-party companies use the information applicants provide when registering, which is public record, to target businesses and organizations as their annual renewal date nears. They send scary emails warning that failing to renew registration puts future funds at risk. The emails link to websites posing as SAM.gov, where these companies attempt to trick consumers into paying hundreds of dollars for services that are available for free.

TINA.org recently sent warning letters to the operators of two such government imposter scams, Fed Filing (doing business as Federal Filing) and USA Filing. TINA.org was alerted to both imposter scams by a consumer who had registered with SAM to apply for COVID relief funds for his video gaming center business.

The email the consumer received from Florida-based Federal Filing noted that the business owner’s SAM registration was “expiring soon,” adding:

It is essential to renew your SAM registration as soon as possible so that any changes made to your account are updated without the risk of expiring and avoid any interruptions in conducting business with the U.S. government or receiving funds.

The email provided a link to renew registration, which led to a form on Federal Filing’s website titled “SAM.gov SAM Registration Submission,” with a one-year SAM renewal preselected — for $399. The other options were a two-year SAM renewal for $699, a three-year SAM renewal for $899 and a new SAM registration priced at $998. Neither the email nor the form disclosed that the services are available for free.

“This targets the most vulnerable businesses which are working the hardest to keep their doors open throughout the pandemic and don’t have this kind of money to spare,” the consumer whose business was targeted said in an email.

Company responds

In response to TINA.org’s May 23 warning letter, Federal Filing CEO and founder Humberto Hernandez noted, among other things, a fine-print disclaimer at the bottom of the company’s website stating that “Fed Filing LLC. (Federal Filing) is not a government agency. Federal Filing is a third-party SAM.gov registration firm, which provides SAM registrations processing and filing, small-business registrations, and other government contractor services.” (Emphasis in original.) Hernandez said the SAM.gov logo only appears on the form “as a reference for our services.” Yet the Federal Filing CEO acknowledged that some consumers have confused the company for the federal government.

“We have paid customers thinking that we are SAM from time to time,” Hernandez said in an email. “In this case, we issue a refund and guide them to the SAM.gov website to renew and maintain their accounts.”

Hernandez said the company will take steps “to ensure our marketing materials and disclosure are appropriately done.” But as of today, the company has yet to make any noticeable changes to its website.

Check back for updates.

For more on USA Filing, click here.

Find more of our coverage on imposter scams here.


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