(COLUMBIA, SC)—Today South Carolina Secretary of State Mark Hammond issued a scam alert to businesses warning them of a bogus solicitation letter selling “certificates of status” and other federally issued documents for $399.89.
“This week our office has been notified by several business filing customers that they have been contacted by an entity called ‘South Carolina Certified Document Services,’” said Secretary Hammond. “This entity is sending letters to South Carolina businesses claiming that they need to pay $399.89 in order to obtain items that are available for $10.00 or less from state and federal agencies. Businesses need to 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 tells them that they “MAY STILL HAVE SOME ITEMS PENDING!” in order to have all their documents in order. The letter goes on to offer the business the option to purchase a “certificate of status” for $89.95, a Labor Law Poster for $124.95 and an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for $199.99.
“The Secretary of State’s Office is the only entity that can issue a legitimate Certificate of Existence in the state of South Carolina,” said Secretary Hammond. “The fee for a Certificate of Existence is set by statute and is only $10.00, not $89.95. Also, businesses can obtain the labor law poster from the National Labor Relations Board and their EIN from the Internal Revenue Service, for free, through their respective websites. It’s a shame that this company is trying to exploit small businesses with these types of solicitations.”
Secretary Hammond urged businesses and consumers to verify any solicitation that they receive before sending any money. For more information on business scams, please visit the Secretary of State’s website at sos.sc.gov and click on the #BizSchemeSOS link.
Shannon A. Wiley, General Counsel & Public Information Director
Office Phone: (803) 734-2170 ● Email: firstname.lastname@example.org