If you run a business in Pennsylvania, there is a chance you could be targeted by any one of three emerging scams, where the perpetrators attempt to convince you they represent the Commonwealth or one of its agencies.
The main thing to remember is that if you would receive an official communication from the Pennsylvania Department of State or the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office, it will be sent to you on letterhead and contain contact information for the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations.
Over the past several months the Pennsylvania Department of State was alerted to three scams that involve mailings from groups or individuals that infer they are from the “Division of Corporate Services – Compliance Division,” the “Business Compliance Division,” or the “Pennsylvania Council for Corporations.” Consider anything you receive under these headings as suspect.
In the mailings, the recipient is instructed to complete and submit a form, or call a phone number, and pay a fee – anywhere from $100 – $150 – in order to fulfill requirements pertaining to corporate records or to receive a “certificate of existence.”
These scams are very similar to one which we alerted our clients in 2013, which attempted to dupe businesses to file an “Annual Meeting Disclosure Statement” for a fee of $125.
Again, note that official notices sent by the Pennsylvania Department of State or the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office will contain the letterhead and contact information for the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations. Questions or concerns may be directed to the Bureau at (717) 787-1057 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A full copy of the alerts can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website, here.
The litigation attorneys at Houston Harbaugh, P.C., are accomplished business trial lawyers, providing comprehensive support in litigation across a broad spectrum of matters throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and other jurisdictions upon a special admission basis. Our clients are regional and national small, medium and large companies and individuals who seek well planned and aggressive, but cost effective litigation. We counsel, we budget, we have a deep bench, we act quickly when needed and we have experienced trial lawyers who know the courts and bench. We serve regularly as local counsel for some of the largest law firms in the country when they have matters in this region.
Henry M. Sneath - Practice Chair
Co-Chair of Houston Harbaugh’s Litigation Practice, and Chair of its Intellectual Property Practice, Henry Sneath is a trial attorney, mediator, arbitrator and Federal Court Approved Mediation Neutral and Special Master with extensive federal and state court trial experience in cases involving commercial disputes, breach of contract litigation, intellectual property matters, patent, trademark and copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation, DTSA claims, cyber security and data breach prevention, mitigation and litigation, probate trusts and estates litigation, construction claims, eminent domain, professional negligence lawsuits, pharmaceutical, products liability and catastrophic injury litigation, insurance coverage, and insurance bad faith claims.
Samuel H. Simon - Practice Chair
As co-chair of Houston Harbaugh’s Litigation Group, Sam focuses his practice on commercial/business litigation. Sam regularly represents clients in the construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, and wholesale/retail/ distribution industries, as well as individuals in matters such as:
- Construction litigation
- Environmental litigation
- Breach of contract disputes
- Oil and gas litigation
- Restrictive covenants (non-compete agreements)
- Civil rights
- Collections/creditors’ rights
- Lease disputes