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.