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SCAM ALERT: SC Businesses Targeted with Bogus Certificate of Existence Solicitation

Mon, 11/14/2022

(COLUMBIA) – Today South Carolina Secretary of State Mark Hammond issued a scam alert to businesses warning them of a bogus solicitation letter selling certificates of existence and other documents for $399.89.

“Our office has been notified that businesses are being targeted by an entity called ‘South Carolina Certified Document Services,’” stated Secretary Hammond.  “This entity is sending letters to South Carolina businesses claiming that they need to pay $399.89 to remain in good standing.  Businesses should know that this is a scam and not respond to this letter or send them any money.”  

The letter from South Carolina Certified Document Services appears to target new businesses that have incorporated with the Secretary of State, and falsely tells them, “You have one step left to obtain all your documents now for only $399.89 and remain in good standing.”  The letter also gives the businesses the option to purchase documents separately, including a Certificate of Existence for $89.95. 

“The Secretary of State’s Office is the only entity that can issue a Certificate of Existence in the state of South Carolina,” said Secretary Hammond.  “Furthermore, the fee for a Certificate of Existence is set by statute and is only $10.00, not $89.95.”  In addition to selling a Certificate of Existence, the letter also offers a Labor Law Poster for $124.95 and an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for $199.99.  Businesses can obtain these documents for free from the National Labor Relations Board and the Internal Revenue Service through their respective websites. 

Secretary Hammond urged anyone receiving this letter or similar correspondence to contact the Secretary of State’s Office immediately.  “Businesses and consumers should verify solicitations that they receive to make sure that they are legitimate before sending any money,” said Secretary Hammond.  “For more information on these types of scams, please visit our website at and click the #BizSchemeSOS link.  You can contact the Secretary of State’s Investigations Division through our website or by calling (803) 734-2170.”


Shannon A. Wiley, General Counsel & Public Information Director
Office Phone: (803) 734-2170 ● Email: