Another company, perhaps related to Florida Center of Corporations, is sending fraudulent forms that look as if they are from the Florida state government, alarming unsuspecting businesses into paying $47.99, $49.50 or $68.72 for a service they don’t need.
These forms are dressed up to look like they came from the state government and include:
* Commands like, “Important! Follow instructions exactly” * Lots of meandering text that no one will read * Prominent “Respond by” date * “For official use” * Citation of government statutes * Hiding behind generic business names * Concealed phone numbers and or email addresses
We ran into three of these notices all going to the same entity listing three different aliases or fictitious names: Corporate Filing Service Center, Florida Corporate Filing Services, & F.S.C.
What service is offered?
All forms are offering a “2014 Certificate of Status,” also known as a certificate of good standing. Assuming this company fulfills what is being offered, they are simply obtaining a Certificate of Status from the Secretary of State, which costs only $8.75, and not the $47.99 through $68.72 being charged: One heck of a hefty mark-up! But, that is not what makes this a scam.
Why it’s a scam?
Even if this business is providing a service, the service is being offered under false pretense by making their forms confusing enough that they look like they must have come from the government. They are designed to elicit a quick response from the business person, who doesn’t take the time to read, but senses an urgency to “Respond by” a certain date. Therefore the target sends money that he or she wouldn’t if time was taken to read and understand what is being offered
Hidden in plain sight
Also hidden in plain sight are various disclaimers, which are still confusing such as, “This firm is a non government corporations agency,” whatever that means; or referring to the purported document needed as an “elective” Certificate of Status, implying it is your choice.
Who is/are the culprits?
Neither of the documents list an actual corporation, but both list fictitious names. We did the research for you:
In all three cases, we recommend that you do not send money to them. If you wish to order a certificate of status, do so from the state or use a legitimate filing service like SmallBiZ Filings (www.smallbiz.com) who charges $10 plus state fees.
Above all else, please read your correspondence carefully before sending money.
CEO & Founder of SmallBiZ.com, created over seventeen years ago to help small business owners simplify the process of starting & managing their small businesses. SmallBiZ.com now serves over 10,000 businesses per year with various filing and subscription services; in addition to the 1000's of daily visitors to www.smallbiz.com, accessing free services, help pages, & educational videos & webinars.
They got me for $47 too, but when I got the "Annual Minutes Form" today I decided to do a bit of research and found this. Thank you!! Why doesn't the State of Florida do something about this? I'm writing my representatives. Hope they aren't in on it!
Yup , it's a scam. Just talked to SmallBiz and they confirmed it was bogus. Shame on these people. They did get me for $47 but no more! Just remember that it's exciting to form and have a company but get advise on all of your expenditures.