Scam Alert: Secretary Of State Warns Of Business Scam

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May 18, 2019 urging NC businesses not to fall for a mailing prompting them to pay a $78 fee to get a “Certificate of Status” (now it is called a Certificate of Existence) from the NC Secretary of State’s Office.

The Secretary of State’s Office has received reports that a NC company, NC Certificate Service, is mailing out a “2020 Certificate of Existence Request Form” to recently formed companies. The misleading mailing implies that business entities are required to obtain a "Certificate of Existence". The Secretary of State does have a Certificate of Existence that companies registered with their Business Registration Division can request it you choose, for a much smaller fee.

There is no State requirement that companies registered with the Secretary of State's Business Registration Division obtain an annual Certificate of Existence. However, after the Secretary of State's office has approved the Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization, a copy, showing the Secretary of State’s ID #, must be sent to the NCBLPC Board Office. Upon receipt of the approved Articles of Incorporation or approved Articles of Organization, a Certificate of Registration will be issued to the applicant. A corporation or company organized for the rendering of counseling services is not validly operating if it has not first received this Certificate of Registration from the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors. This certificate is renewable on an annual basis for a fee of $25. A notification of renewal is sent a minimum of 60 days prior to the expiration date, which in all cases is December 31st. Certificates expire on December 31st of each subsequent year following initial issuance of certification. Failure to renew by the due date on the renewal notice will result in notification to the Secretary of State to request suspension of Articles.

This scam appears to be a new twist on an old scheme that has been used in the past to target businesses through deceptive language that implies they owe the government some mysterious filing for a hefty fee. You may check the status of your PC, PLLC, or PA with the NC Secretary of State’s Office online at or call (919) 814-5400.