Beware of new scam targeting Tennessee Businesses

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There’s always somebody creating a new scam so they can get some greenbacks illegally and won’t have to work. Secretary of State Tre Hargett has issued a warning
to Tennessee business owners about a new scam targeting businesses with a deceptive mailer from a company called Business Document Center incorrectly implying that
businesses need a Certificate of Good Standing. A what? I love the names that these scammers come up with for these fake documents they create. Hargett said only recently the Division of Business and Charitable Organizations and himself have been made aware of the company sending out these misleading mailers trying to take advantage of Tennessee business owners. He said the mailers imply that businesses must have a Certificate of Good Standing to operate in
Tennessee. A Certificate of Good Standing is not even something that the secretary’s office offers. What is called a Certificate of Good Standing in some other states is
similar to a Certificate of Existence in Tennessee, and neither are necessary to do business within the state.
This most recent mailer, titled 2022 Certificate of Status Request Form, tries to get Tennessee business owners to pay $87.25 for the Business Document Center to
request a Certificate of Good Standing on their behalf. A Certificate of Good Standing is not a document available from the Secretary of State’s office. The fee the Business Document Center is charging four times more than the Secretary of State’s office charges for an equivalent document offered called a Certificate of Existence.
The mailer and the Business Document Center are not affiliated with or authorized by the Secretary of State’s Office in any way. Hargett encourages Tennessee business owners to be wary of any mailings they get from third-party companies that say they will work with my office on your behalf. Hargett said the scammers are charging excessive amounts for something that many businesses will never need and if they do, can be easily obtained for only $20
through his office,. Businesses may wish to obtain a Certificate of Existence in certain circumstances, such as a loan closing or other business transactions. However, they are not required
to do so to form a new business or to conduct business. Businesses that want a Certificate of Existence can quickly and easily request one directly from the Secretary of
State’s office for just $20 by phone at 615-741-2286, mail or online at tnbear.tn.gov/Ecommerce/CertOfExistenceInstr.aspx.
If business owners receive a suspicious mailer about a Certificate of Good Standing or a Certificate of Existence, you are advised to report it to the Division of Business
and Charitable Organizations by phone 615-741-2286 or email [email protected] Beware of any mailings or telephone calls requesting money for anything you are unfamiliar with. Check it out first. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did.

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