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07/30/2019

ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG, SECRETARY OF STATE MERRILL ISSUE ALERT REGARDING ILLEGITIMATE BUSINESS MAILING

Attorney General William Tong and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill are alerting Connecticut businesses about a mailing from a company calling itself CT Certificate Service. The mailing suggests that Connecticut businesses must pay a fee of $112.50 to CT Certificate Service in order to obtain copies of their "Connecticut Certificate of Existence."

The Office of the Attorney General has initiated an inquiry into the company.

A certificate of existence is not a required document in Connecticut. Moreover, a business that needs a certificate of existence can request them online from the Secretary of the State by going to www.concord-sots.ct.gov for a fee.

The mailing also misrepresents, among other things that a business owner should order the Certificate of Existence because the document supposedly proves that a business "complies with all state requirements." In reality, the document merely shows that a company is active and up-to-date with its annual report filing. The mailing also arrives in an envelope marked "IMPORTANT – OPEN IMMEDIATELY" and "BUSINESS MAIL – TIME SENSITIVE," intended to create a false sense of urgency. A copy of the mailing and the accompanying envelope are available here.

On the mailing, CT Certificate Service lists a West Hartford address, which makes it seem like it is based in Connecticut. In reality, the West Hartford address is a private mailbox service. CT Certificate Service actually appears to be a fictitious name used by a company based in Saint Petersburg, Florida. These types of strategies can make it almost impossible for business owners to know the true identity of the company with whom they are dealing.

"CT Certificate of Service has no affiliation with the State of Connecticut and this is not a legitimate mailing. If you have received this letter or sent money to this company, I want to hear from you," said Attorney General Tong.

"A certificate of legal existence is an optional document that you may request from our office that confirms that your business is active and current with annual report filing obligations,” said Secretary Merrill, Connecticut’s chief business registrar. “There is no legal requirement for any business to obtain a certificate of legal existence, or to pay the inflated fee indicated. If you are ever unsure about the legitimacy of a business filing notice you receive, please contact my office at 860-509-6003 or email us at crd@ct.gov. We are ready and eager to help any Connecticut business owner."

If your business paid CT Certificate Service in response to the “2019 CERTIFICATE OF EXISTENCE REQUEST FORM”, please make a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General at attorney.general@ct.gov and include a copy of the mailing.

Twitter: @AGWilliamTong
Facebook: CT Attorney General
Media Contact:

Elizabeth Benton
elizabeth.benton@ct.gov
860-808-5324 (office)

Consumer Inquiries:

860-808-5318
attorney.general@ct.gov