Secretary Hargett, Better Business Bureau Warn Against Familiar Scam

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A familiar scam that continues to target Tennessee businesses is now in the spotlight of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Middle Tennessee.

The BBB recently added State Compliance Center, also known as SCC, to its list of "Misleading Advertising, Products and Services Middle Tennessee Consumers and Businesses Can Do Without." The company received a "D-" BBB rating.

SCC is requesting businesses pay nearly $90 to obtain a Certificate of Existence/Authorization, also known as a Certificate of Good Standing. The request is being mailed out across the state on an official looking document.

The standard fee to obtain a Certificate of Existence directly from the Division of Business Services is $20.

Letters being sent by SCC make it appear as if a Certificate of Existence/Authorization is required by law, but it is important to note a certificate is not required to do business in Tennessee. Typically, a business requests a Certificate of Existence for specific business purposes, like obtaining a loan or entering into a contract.

SCC LLC is a registered business in the state of Tennessee, but is not affiliated or associated with the Division of Business Services.

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett has been warning consumers about similar scams for years. Other companies, including Corporate Records Services and Annual Business Services, sent out official looking documents to businesses in 2013 with claims they must pay filing rates higher than what the state actually charges.

"I encourage all businesses and organizations to contact the Division of Business Services directly if they have questions regarding how to obtain a Certificate of Existence, or if they receive questionable items in the mail," Secretary Hargett said. "Business leaders should use caution anytime a third-party is seeking to file something on their behalf with the state."

Whenever the Department of State receives information about a company with questionable practices the information is sent directly to the appropriate authorities.

The Division of Business Services maintains a user-friendly online tool to obtain a Certificate of Existence. It can be found at: https://tnbear.tn.gov/Ecommerce/CertOfExistenceInstr.aspx.

Customers may also call the division at (615) 741-6488 or email TNSOS.CERT@tn.gov for more information.