301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

3.31.23 – by David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

The Office of the Attorney General has alerted businesses in Maryland of a scam that has resurfaced in 2023. The scam involves a letter with the title “2023 Certificate of Good Standing Request Form,” which requests a fee in exchange for a letter of good standing with an “official seal of the Secretary of State.” This same scam letter was circulated in 2019 and 2020, and it has resurfaced once again.

The scam letter appears to be official, with a “document number” and a barcode, and includes a customer service phone number of 1-855-222-3322. The letter requests that the recipient sends a check or money order to “MD Certificate Service” in Baltimore, Maryland, in exchange for an “elective Maryland Certificate of Good Standing.”

However, the letter is a scam, and businesses are advised not to send any money. Some business entities in Maryland may require a certificate of good standing, but not from the Secretary of State. An official certificate of good standing is available from the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation for a nominal fee. Businesses are advised to obtain their certificates directly from the Department of Assessments and Taxation and to verify the authenticity of any letter claiming to be from the Secretary of State.

The Maryland Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the United States Postal Inspection Service, are urging businesses to report any suspicious letters they receive. These entities are working together to investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Businesses are advised to be cautious and vigilant when receiving any unsolicited letters or emails. They should verify the authenticity of any request before sending any money or providing personal information. The Attorney General’s Office advises businesses to contact their local law enforcement agency if they suspect they have been a victim of fraud or have received any suspicious correspondence.

The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation is a state agency that oversees the registration of all businesses in the state. The agency provides a wide range of services to businesses, including issuing certificates of good standing, registering trade names and trademarks, and maintaining business records. The Department of Assessments and Taxation website is https://dat.maryland.gov/Pages/default.aspx.