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Tennessee secretary of state warns businesses of fraudulent form

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett is warning businesses about a mailer from a company called “TN Certificate Service.”

“We have seen mailers like this before using deceptive forms and language,” Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “We continuously work with the appropriate authorities to eradicate scams and misleading mailers in order to protect Tennessee business owners.”

The Secretary of State’s Division of Business Services has received several complaints about these deceptive mailers, which request a fee of $83.50 to obtain a “Certificate of Existence” from TN Certificate Service. A Certificate of Existence can be obtained directly from the Secretary of State’s office for only $20.

The misleading mailer from TN Certificate Service, titled “2020 Certificate of Existence Request Form,” has been sent to businesses across the state.

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The mailer makes it appear that the 2020 Certificate of Existence Request Form is part of the business entity’s registration process: “A Certificate of Existence certifies that your Tennessee business is in existence, is authorized to transact business in the state, and complies with all state requirements.”
The mailer and organization are not affiliated with or authorized by the Secretary of State’s Office in any way.

Businesses may wish to obtain a Certificate of Existence in certain circumstances, such as a loan closing or other business transaction. However, they are not required to do so as a matter of course during the business formation process.
Secretary Hargett encourages business owners to call the Division of Business Services at 615-741-2286 if they receive such a questionable mailer or have questions about obtaining a Certificate of Existence.

To see a copy of the misleading mailer, click here.  

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