Have You Received This Letter?
Business owners are frequently targeted by unscrupulous companies looking to make a quick buck off of the owner’s desire to make sure their business is legally compliant. That’s why there is a cottage industry of scammers that send letters masquerading as government notices
The subject matter of these scams ranges from corporate minutes compliance, employment posters, to trademarks, and it can be hard to figure out if a letter is legitimate or just a scam.
Depending on the state you’re in, there might be legal requirements for such mailings to indicate that the letter has not been sent by a governmental body. For example, in California such mailings must include the following statement on the envelope itself and on its contents:
“CA Business & Professions Code Sec 17533.6 This service has not been approved or endorsed by any government agency, and this offer is not being made by an agency of the government.”
Although such warnings are hidden, or otherwise obscured so that a most readers would not notice the disclaimer.
Corporate Compliance Center
The Corporate Compliance Center is one of the most well known scammers that targets businesses with letters indicating that the business must submit a form, and pay a fee, citing a California statute that requires corporations to prepare corporate minutes.
The form usually requests that the corporation provide the name of the officers and directors of the corporation and that upon paying a fee, approximately $100.00 or more, the “Compliance Division” or “Compliance Center” will assist the corporation in meeting its statutory obligations.
These notices appear to be issued by the California Secretary of State or some other governmental entity. But these notices should be disregarded because they are neither issued by the California Secretary of State’s office nor any governmental agency. Instead, they are issued by private for profit, non-governmental businesses, such as Compliance Filings, Inc.
Compliance Filings, Inc., and similar private businesses obtain information from the California Secretary of State’s website regarding the name and address of your corporation and will mail out these compliance notices to new organizations. These so called “notices” make the reader believe that their corporation is somehow out of compliance and must file with the organization to cure the problem.
What Should you Do If you Received This Letter?
If you’ve received a letter from the Corporate Compliance Center, you can ignore it. This did not come from a government entity, and you do not need to pay this company anything.
This does not mean that you should ignore your company’s responsibilities to maintain proper minutes and other corporate documents, but such compliance does not need to come at the high price indicated in the Corporate Compliance Center notice.
If you need help making sure your company is current with its corporate maintenance responsibilities, your BizCounsel attorney would be happy to assist you.
Not Sure if You’re the Recipient of a Scam?
Whenever you’re in doubt about whether or not a letter you’ve received is a legitimate government notice or just a scam, you should always contact your BizCounsel attorney or use the BizCounselNOW service.