Letters are being sent to businesses registered with the Secretary of State directing them to submit $49.50, respond by a certain date, complete a form (see example (PDF)), and send the money and documentation to a private entity named "California State Corporations." According to the letter, California State Corporations will provide a "certificate of status." However, these Certificates of Status (see example (PDF)) are fraudulent because only the Secretary of State can issue a Certificate of Status.
A certification of the entity's status, also known as the Certificate of Status, only can be issued by the Secretary of State who is the official custodian of business entity records for the State of California. The fee for this certificate is $5.00. The private entity has no affiliation or authorization to act on behalf of the State of California or the Secretary of State and is illegally issuing fraudulent Certificates of Status for entities registered with the California Secretary of State.
An official Certificate of Status can be obtained by submitting a request to the California Secretary of State's Sacramento office either in person or by mail. Instructions and fees for ordering a Certificate of Status can be obtained on our Information Requests webpage.
These solicitations are not being made by the California Secretary of State's office and are not being made by or on behalf of any governmental entity. Although a business entity can use an intermediary to submit filings, request a certificate of status, and pay fees to our office, no business is required to go through another private entity in order to obtain documents or certificates from the Secretary of State's office and no private entity can issue these documents.
Action for Fraudulent Letters
California businesses that receive one of these fraudulent solicitation letters or that have paid the company and received a fraudulent certificate should submit a written complaint along with the entire solicitation (including the solicitation letter, the outer and return envelopes, and all related documents if available, and a copy of the fraudulent certificate) to the California Attorney General, Public Inquiry Unit, P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, California 94244–2550. A complaint form, which can be completed online and printed to mail, is available on the California Attorney General’s website.