Nonprofits Beware: misleading letter calls for annual registration renewals
Secretary of State Kim Wyman is cautioning Washington business owners to be aware of a misleading and potentially fraudulent mailing that purports to be an official bill related to business registration requirements. Unfortunately, nonprofits are also targets of this phishing scheme and we caution all nonprofits to be on the look out for this letter.
“We’re working with the Attorney General’s Office – the agency that investigates and prosecutes consumer fraud – to see if further action should be taken to protect businesses in Washington,” said Wyman, whose office includes the Corporations and Charities Division.
A mailing sent recently to an Edmonds business requested $121.86 be sent to an Olympia post office box by July 31. It warned that “your state annual report will not be filed until payment is received.” However, the mailing does not mention the Office of Secretary of State or include its logo, which can be found on all official correspondence.
Wyman added that any business owner who receives a registration-related bill from an unknown third-party company should contact the Attorney General’s consumer protection division or file an online complaint at atg.wa.gov/fileacomplaint.aspx.
Similar solicitations in the past several years have resulted in an investigation and legal action taken against the senders of the fraudulent letters. Businesses and charities in Washington can always verify their filing status with the Office of Secretary of State by visiting the website, sos.wa.gov/corps. Registration-related questions can be answered at (360) 725-0377 or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Washington’s Office of Secretary of State oversees a number of areas within state government, including managing state elections, registering business entities and charities, and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also manages the State Archives and the State Library, as well as documents extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington.