December 16, 2008
San Francisco Police are alerting merchants, especially in the Mission district, to an extortion scam in which suspects, when they observe that a fair labor standards sign is not posted inside the business, ask for $200 for the sign and threaten the merchant with a $3,000 fine if the merchant does not comply. The suspects represent themselves as government officials.
There have been two reported incidents of this scam, the first on December 11 on the 3300 block of 23rd Street and the second on December 12 on the 3200 block of 22nd Street.
In both of these incidents, there were a male and a female suspect. The suspects did not have the signs with them, but instructed one merchant to fill out a check for $200, leaving the payee line blank, and told the merchant to call the printer of the signs to have one delivered. The merchant later decided to stop payment. Another merchant said that she did not have the cash but would pay them tomorrow if they would return, but they did not come back.
Merchants are advised that fair labor standards posters, as well as other governmental regulation posters, are supplied at no cost. Merchants may access www.dir.ca.gov or call 415-703-4810 for information and/or to obtain a poster(s).
Merchants should be wary of anyone purporting to be government official requiring cash for the posting of a government-related sign and threatening the merchant with a fine unless that sign is posted. Merchants are urged to call the San Francisco Police Department if they encounter such individuals.
For more information, please contact:
Public Affairs Office
850 Bryant Street, Room 549, San Francisco, CA. 94103