HARRISBURG – Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that his office has filed suit against a Florida business for scamming Pennsylvania business owners. The scammers sent letters to businesses, acting as the Commonwealth’s Department of State, claiming that business owners needed to apply for a certificate of good standing in order to lawfully do business in Pennsylvania. Business owners were sent legitimate certificates of good standing, but the scammers charged double the cost of receiving a real certificate from the Commonwealth..
“PA Certificate Service thought they could get away with scamming Pennsylvanians—all they’ve really certified is that they’ll have to face my office in court,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “We’re committed to protecting Pennsylvanians starting small businesses that boost local economies and enrich communities across the Commonwealth.”
PA Certificate Service operated their scam by sending letters to Pennsylvanians who recently incorporated a new business with the PA Department of State. The letter, which imitated the appearance of a letter issued by the Commonwealth, informed the recipient that they “have one step left” to obtain a “Pennsylvania Certificate of Good Standing” for $87.25. In reality, the PA Department of State offers subsistence certificates for only $40.00. These certificates are completely optional, and are not necessary to operate a business in Pennsylvania.
The lawsuit asks the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas for an injunction to stop the Defendant from operating its scam in Pennsylvania, for full refunds for every Pennsylvania entity and individual who purchased the overpriced certificates, and for civil penalties of up to $1,000 per violation of the law.
Anyone who received a letter from “PA Certificate Service” should file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General by visiting https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/submit-a-complaint/consumer-complaint/.
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