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Old 02-02-2017, 04:15 PM   #1
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Fake USCG Registration

Maybe some others have seen this, as well...

I just received an official looking "Vessel Reinstatement Courtesy Notice" from "U.S. Vessel Documentation" web site, advising me that my USCG documentation had expired and to contact them. The web site is uscgdocumentation.us, which is obviously not the USCG. I'm sure they would be happy to do an unnecessary renewal for me, at a "special" price....just cough-up my credit card #!

I know my certificate is still valid, so it was obviously bogus. I can see, however, how someone could get sucked-in with this scam.

Lots of bottom feeders out there...caveat emptor!
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:58 PM   #2
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This is a great post and something all should see. I've made it a 'stickie' so it stays at the top of the section list for a while.
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Old 02-02-2017, 05:01 PM   #3
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I wouldn't say it's fake. It looks like a presumably legitimate documentation service company. A bit misleading? Sure, if you aren't paying attention. Sleezy, yes. But down at the bottom of the home page it does say:

U.S. Vessel Documentation is NOT the U.S. Coast Guard or the National Vessel Documentation Center; we are a third party agency that handles USCG Documentation processing to NVDC

I guess I don't see it as any worse that the endless calls and emails I get about my car warranty expiring. They all suck.

One thing I check before doing business with any web outfit is read the about page and the contact page. If there is no substantial description of the business, and no actual street address, I just move on. This outfit doesn't even have an about page, let along any company info. So they seem to be making every effort to make you think they are the NVDC.
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Old 02-02-2017, 05:01 PM   #4
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Thanks, Al...glad to provide some useful info. I should note that my notice came in the USPS mail, with the web site & a phone number listed in the letter.

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Old 02-02-2017, 06:01 PM   #5
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When I got my renewal notices this year, I thought about renewing on-line. Until I noticed the yearly cost went from $26 per boat per year if I sent a check to $75 a year on-line. Maybe I ended up on a third party site, but it seemed excessive. Anybody else notice the difference or renewed on-line?
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:46 PM   #6
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bcam: You were on a third party site. I renew on line each year and its something like $26.00. The third party site is one of the ones that pop up quickly when googling USCG registration.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:54 PM   #7
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bcam: You were on a third party site. I renew on line each year and its something like $26.00. The third party site is one of the ones that pop up quickly when googling USCG registration.


^ this.

When I get the renewal notice in the mail from the USCG they always list the URL for the online renewal. It is cheap(ish).
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Old 02-08-2017, 06:43 AM   #8
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Since the USCG sends the renewal notice in plenty of time , the USPO can get the check to them for under a half a buck.
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:49 AM   #9
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I have used the USCG.mil site for renewing my doc for the past 2 years. It's included in the renewal letter. It's fast and easy with no extra costs beyond the approximately $26 fee.
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Old 02-08-2017, 10:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Since the USCG sends the renewal notice in plenty of time , the USPO can get the check to them for under a half a buck.
And in a few years you won't have that option as the cost of handling a check in total is about $10 versus a cost of handling electronic payments of about $1. As a business owner it costs us far more to handle checks than credit card payments. In business now, we process over 98% of all our payments electronically. Oh, and we do not pay any employees by check. I'm even old enough to remember when everyone had to run to the bank each pay day.
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:38 AM   #11
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DOCUMENTED VESSEL Owners BEWARE

Received an official looking letter from US Documentation. The letter and website is made to look like its the Coast Guard. They even have USCGdocumentation.us as their email address (bet they thought that was clever) also Coast Guard links and videos that look like you are navigating within the Coast Guard adorn the website. They charge $75 to renew your annual Documentation and you can select to renew up to 5 years (Coast Guard charges $26 and you can do it in 5 minutes online EFT from your checking account or use a Credit Card here: https://www.pay.gov/public/form/start/1175233 ). I attempted to cancel three minutes after the transaction hit and you get a very long email full of legalese telling you you are not able to cancel. I protested in additional emails and left Voice Mails and only get other email threatening if you dispute the charge on your credit card that they will file a lien on your boat. The email came from"Captain"John Soria, again an attempt at clever.

So beware and spread these words of information and caution to your boating friends. Overpaying by 300% is like missing a marker and running aground. Please warn others of this Navigation hazard!!

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Old 02-15-2017, 10:14 AM   #12
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My renewal notices always come in the mail. Has there been a change to that?

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Old 02-15-2017, 10:36 AM   #13
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I received mine as usual before year's end and it was the same as before with the mail in
payment that had not changed. Thanks for the head's up from "Spottsville" however.
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:47 AM   #14
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why document a boat? just register it.
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:52 AM   #15
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Greetings,
Mr. sf. There are a number of threads discussing the +'s and -'s of documentation.
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Old 02-15-2017, 11:11 AM   #16
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I'm 90% certain it's a scam, 'cuz when I did a search for vessel documentation, all the legitimate sites have a either a "USDC" (U.S. Documentation Center) or an "NVDC" (National Vessel Documentation Center) logo, neither of which seem to be on the letter you posted. They also include USCG in their URLs. I'd be 100% sure if I could figure out how they managed to hijack the Pay-Gov page, 'cuz it seems to be real.

Hopefully you used a credit card. If so, I'd dispute the charge, including all correspondence from 'em including their threat to put a lien on your boat if you do. That suggests to me that it happens a lot, that they figure no will risk it for just $75. I'd also forward all of it the real USCG doc service.

That's what I'd do anyway...
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Old 02-15-2017, 11:14 AM   #17
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Its not a scam but it is VERY misleading. That is a documentation service that is trying to look like the CG site and get people to renew through them for an up charge. Not illegal, but unethical in my book.
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Old 02-15-2017, 11:26 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Its not a scam but it is VERY misleading. That is a documentation service that is trying to look like the CG site and get people to renew through them for an up charge. Not illegal, but unethical in my book.
I wonder if there's anything (legal) we can do to make their business model fail. Sort of like the folks who lead phone scammers on a wild goose chase, wasting their time without succumbing to the scam.

I'd be more than willing to donate some of my time to help bankrupt this scum.
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Old 02-15-2017, 11:48 AM   #19
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This is also being discussed here.

Fake USCG Registration

I'll merge the threads into one discussion.
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Old 02-15-2017, 12:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor of Fortune View Post
Its not a scam but it is VERY misleading. That is a documentation service that is trying to look like the CG site and get people to renew through them for an up charge. Not illegal, but unethical in my book.
In that case, their threat to put a lien on your boat if you dispute the charge is most likely an effort to stem the tide of people who find out they can do it for 1/3 their price. I'd still report 'em to the USCG.
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