We all know that when you move into a new home, advertisers and marketers immediately flood your mailbox with solicitations for different services. Home improvement stores offer discounts, cable companies offer free channels, and housekeeping companies offer a free estimate for their cleanings.
When you first register your Corporation or LLC with the Secretary of State, you will attract similar solicitations. In the past it was common for your new business to receive credit card applications from credit card companies, and promotional services from stationary supply and phone companies. However, in recent months we have seen an alarming new tactic to defraud new business owners, which has also caught the attention of the California Secretary of State.
There is a company sending very official looking letters to newly registered California businesses under the name “California State Corporations.” This is a fraudulent solicitation and should be disregarded immediately! The solicitation often asks for the business owner to send $49.50, by a certain date, to receive a “certificate of status.” Beware of this phishing fraud!
First, any communication that does not come from the CA Secretary of State, CA Franchise Tax Board or IRS should always be viewed with skepticism. Second, any solicitation demanding you send payment to an office, that is not an official government office, is likely fraudulent. Third, in this instance, only the Secretary of State can issue a “Certificate of Status.” Lastly, there is no official California office called “California State Corporations.”
If you receive official-looking mail and have a question as to whether it is phishing or legitimate, you should immediately contact your business attorney or CPA to get an answer. As a new business owner you have enough to worry about – don’t let a phishing scam siphon off your attention or money!