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Scams


JULY 26, 2018 – FEDERAL LABOR LAW POSTER

The Pennsylvania Department of State has been made aware of Labor Law Compliance Notices (PDF) sent to recently-formed Pennsylvania businesses. The letter states that the businesses are required to post Federal labor law posters in the workplace or will face significant fines and penalties. Businesses are told they may pay a company called “Labor Poster Services” to receive a compliant poster.
 
This is a partial SCAM. Pennsylvania businesses should be aware that the Commonwealth’s enforcement agency for wage law is the Department of Labor and Industry’s Bureau of Labor Law Compliance. Pennsylvania employers are required to post certain notices in their worksites pursuant to Pennsylvania law and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry provides links to download these poster for free. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry also provides a link to Federal Required Employee Notices.
 
The Department is alerting all Pennsylvania business entities of this deceptive solicitation to prevent Pennsylvania businesses from paying for posters that can be obtained for free. It is also not required that businesses obtain the mandatory posters through an intermediary like Labor Poster Services.


MAY 23, 2018 – PENNSYLVANIA BUSINESS NAME PUBLISHING FORM

The Pennsylvania Department of State has been made aware of Business Name Publishing solicitations (PDF) that are being mailed to recently-formed Pennsylvania businesses or to recently-registered ficticious names from a bogus company calling itself "Pennsylvania Business Name Publishing." The letter urges the business to remit $200 in order for the bogus company to publish advertisements of the business name in approved newspapers and avoid a $500 penalty imposed when "the entity seeks to enforce [a] contract and subsequently published a fictitious name in an untimely manner."

This is a partial SCAM. There is no company registered to do business in Pennsylvania by the name of "Pennsylvania Business Name Publishing." The address used by this fake company is that of a UPS Store located in Harrisburg. The scammers appear to have purchased company formation data from the Department of State and are targeting newly-formed businesses and recently-registered fictitious names. The mailing contains some incorrect and overbroad information. Pennsylvania corporations are required to advertise their intention to file or the filing of articles of incorporation. Proofs of publication of such advertising should be filed with the minutes of the corporation. Fictitious names involving individual parties as registrants are similarly required to be advertised. Proofs of publication of such advertising should be kept with the permanent records of the business.

Pennsylvania law does prohibit entities that are doing business under a fictitious name but have failed to register that name from bringing a lawsuit in the Commonwealth until the name is registered and a $500 civil penalty is paid to the Department of State. 54 Pa.C.S. § 331. Additionally, the effect of failure to advertise when required by law will be that "no legal proceeding, matter, or case in which notice is required to be given by official or legal advertising, shall be binding and effective upon any interested person unless such official and legal advertising is printed and published" in the manner required by law. 45 Pa.C.S. § 307.

The Department maintains a Geographical Listing of Legal Publications to assist businesses in advertising. It also recommends that businesses employ the services of a reputable organization or law firm to assist with advertising. The Department is alerting all Pennsylvania business entities of this deceptive solicitation to prevent Pennsylvania business from paying for a "service" that may not be necessary and may be rendered by an unregistered company.

 

March 14, 2016 - BUSINESS COMPLIANCE DIVISION/NOTICE OF POTENTIAL COMPLIANCE VIOLATION SCAM

The Pennsylvania Department of State has been made aware of more post card solicitations (PDF) that are being mailed to Pennsylvania businesses from a bogus company calling itself "Business Compliance Division." The post card urges the company to "call immediately" to "avoid potential fees and penalties." The number (1-888-803-7922) leads the caller to speak to a representative of the alleged company, who seeks a credit card payment of $125 over the phone to procure a "certificate of existence" in order to comply with "Commonwealth regulations governing new enterprises."

This is a SCAM. Companies which are validly formed have already received a stamped copy of the public organic document filed with the Department of State, indicating the entity number, date filed and name of the current Secretary of the Commonwealth. There is no "certificate of existence" required for a newly-filed company in order to maintain compliance with Pennsylvania law."
 

AUGUST 20, 2015 - DIVISION of CORPORATE SERVICES - ANNUAL RECORDS STATEMENT SCAM

The Pennsylvania Department of State has been made aware of Annual Records Statement solicitations (PDF) that are being mailed to recently-formed Pennsylvania businesses from a bogus company calling itself “Division of Corporate Services – Compliance Division.”  The letter urges the business to complete a form with officer and director information and return with a fee of $150, payable to Division of Corporate Services, by a certain date in order to “fulfill your corporation’s records requirements per Pennsylvania Statute.”

This is a SCAM. There is not company registered to do business in Pennsylvania by the name of “Division of Corporate Services.”  The address used by this fake company is that of a UPS Store located in Harrisburg. The scammers appear to have purchased company formation data from the Department of State and are targeting newly-formed businesses, many of which are not corporations. The mailing contains misspellings and incorrect information.

Pennsylvania business corporations are required to keep records relating to accounts, minutes and shares. However, it is not required that these records be filed with the Department of State or with a private company. The Department is alerting all Pennsylvania business entities of this deceptive solicitation to prevent Pennsylvania businesses from paying for a “service” that is a scam.  


JULY 28, 2015 - BUSINESS COMPLIANCE DIVISION/NOTICE OF POTENTIAL COMPLIANCE VIOLATION SCAM 

The Pennsylvania Department of State has been made aware of post card solicitations (PDF) that are being mailed to Pennsylvania businesses from a bogus company calling itself “Business Compliance Division.” The post card urges the company to “call immediately” to “avoid potential fees and penalties.” The number (1-855-530-2615) leads the caller to speak to a representative of the alleged company, who seeks a credit card payment of $100 over the phone to procure a “certificate of existence” in order to comply with “Commonwealth regulations governing new enterprises.”
 
This is a SCAM. Companies which are validly formed have already received a stamped copy of the public organic document filed with the Department of State, indicating the entity number, date filed and name of the current Secretary of the Commonwealth. There is no “certificate of existence” required for a newly-filed company in order to maintain compliance with Pennsylvania law. 

JUNE 16, 2015 - PENNSYLVANIA COUNCIL FOR CORPORATIONS 

The Pennsylvania Department of State has been made aware of solicitations that are being mailed to Pennsylvania businesses from a company calling itself “Pennsylvania Council for Corporations.” This mailing (PDF) urges corporations to file information and send payment in the amount of $125.00 by a certain date in order to maintain proper records. This is not a legitimate company. The Department is alerting all Pennsylvania business entities of this deceptive solicitation to prevent Pennsylvania businesses from completing the form and sending payment to a mailing center post office box address by the deadline on the form. 

 

APRIL 18, 2013 - CORPORATE COMPLIANCE COMPANY AND CORPORATE RECORDS SERVICE SCAM

The Pennsylvania Department of State has been made aware of solicitations that are being mailed to Pennsylvania businesses from two companies:  Pennsylvania Corporate Compliance Company and Corporate Records Service. These solicitations are titled "Annual Meeting Disclosure Statement" (PDF), "2013 - Annual Minutes Form," "2013 - Annual Corporate Records Form " and "2013 - Annual Records Solicitation Form." These mailings urge corporations and limited liability companies to file information and send payment in the amount of $125.00 by a certain date in order to maintain proper records.
 
These solicitations include a citation to the Pennsylvania Business Corporation Law or Pennsylvania statute regarding corporate records. At first glance, these solicitations may look official; however, none of the information being requested is required to be filed with the Department of State or the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania corporations and limited liability companies are not required to file corporate minutes with the Department of State or with a private company such as Pennsylvania Corporate Compliance Company or Corporate Records Service. The Department is alerting all Pennsylvania business entities of this deceptive solicitation to prevent Pennsylvania businesses from completing the form and sending payment to a mailing center post office box address by the deadline on the form.
 
Despite the suggestive language on the mailing, the "Annual Meeting Disclosure Statement," the "2013 - Annual Minutes Form", the "2013 - Annual Corporate Records Form" and the "2013 - Annual Records Solicitation Form" are not required to be completed. These formal-looking letters did not originate from any governmental office, nor are the Pennsylvania Corporate Compliance Company and Corporate Records Service affiliated or associated with Pennsylvania state government in any way. Similar scams have been reported in other states. These documents should be disregarded by all companies that receive them.
 
Additionally, please keep in mind that any official notices sent to businesses by the Pennsylvania Department of State or the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office will contain the letterhead and/or contact information for the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations. Please contact the Bureau at (717) 787-1057 or ra-corps@pa.gov should you have any questions or concerns regarding these solicitations.