California public records professionals have learned of a troubling new con taking place in our state. Over the last couple of years, we have fielded countless phone calls from anxious clients regarding suspicious notices they have received in the mail. The official-looking notices demand exorbitant fees for the filing of annual statements or the drafting of corporate minutes and threaten loss of corporate status for failure to comply.

THESE NOTICES ARE FRAUDULENT. Although they may appear to come from a legitimate government agency, refer to specific code sections in the text or contain an official-looking seal, they are actually solicitations for business from phony companies that prey on earnest small business owners, hoping trick them into paying something for nothing.

Prompted by thousands of complaints, the Attorney General’s office is taking action. Last month, Attorney General Edmond G. Brown, Jr. filed suit against several individuals and businesses that have been running misleading solicitation scams.

You can read the Attorney General’s press release by following this link:

http://ag.ca.gov/newsalerts/release.php?id=1817&

The Secretary of State’s office has issued a Customer Alert that provides valuable tips for spotting fraudulent notices:

http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/be/alert-misleading-solicitations.htm

Please take some time to investigate the links provided above and remember to review all notices carefully before submitting payment for services. If in doubt about a notice your firm has received by mail, call a public records specialist to discuss specific filing requirements for your organization.

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