SC Secretary of State warns of scam selling bogus “certificates of status” to businesses

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– South Carolina Secretary of State Mark Hammond is urging South Carolinians to be aware of scams where an entity is selling bogus “certificates of status” to businesses.

“This week our office received multiple complaints from businesses stating that they had received a letter in the mail from an entity called SC Certificate Service,” said Secretary Hammond.  “The letter purported to provide a ‘South Carolina Certificate of Status’ for $87.25.  Businesses should know that this is not an official certificate issued by the State of South Carolina, and that this so-called certificate of status is not required to transact business in this state.”

Officials say the letter from SC Certificate Service makes false claims that “a South Carolina Certificate of Status is issued by the Secretary of State and may be required for loans, to renew business licenses, or for tax or other business purposes.”

Secretary Hammond says that while the Secretary of State’s Office does issue certificates of existence, these are not issued by any private entity.

Officials with the Secretary of State’s Office say you should contact them if you receive one of these letters. “It is a shame that there are scammers out there who try to take advantage of businesses by marketing these phony documents,” said Secretary Hammond.  “I implore businesses and consumers to verify the legitimacy of any solicitation that they receive before sending any money.”

You can contact the Secretary of State’s Business Filings Division at 803-734-2158 or through the Secretary of State’s website at sos.sc.gov.

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