Unscrupulous entities regularly target Georgia businesses and organizations by deceptively trying to solicit money for services or notices that can be obtained for free or at a fraction of the cost, specifically:
- They send letters in which they offer to file corporate registration forms on the business’ behalf with the Secretary of State. While some mailings of this nature may be legitimate, many are deceptive solicitations that use high-pressure tactics designed to trick businesses into paying high prices for services they may not need. These scammers may even try to dupe businesses by disguising the solicitation as a letter from a government agency or as a bill. They typically charge several times the amount you would pay if you filed the forms yourself. Moreover, it is actually very simple to file corporate filings with the Secretary of State, so paying a third party to do so for you doesn’t really save a lot of time or effort.
- They send invoices or solicitations for employment-related posters they say are required by state or federal law. While the Department of Labor does require that certain notices be posted in the workplace, it provides free electronic copies of all required notices on its website.
To help prevent businesses and organizations from being misled by these deceptive solicitations, Georgia enacted legislation in the 2021 and 2022 sessions (see O.C.G.A. § 10-1-393.16), which states that anyone who sends any written solicitation for services relating to corporate filings or employment or labor related posters or notices shall include, in at least 16-point Helvetica font at the top of and at least two inches apart from any other text on such solicitation, the words:
“THIS IS A SOLICITATION. THIS IS NOT A BILL OR OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT AND HAS NOT BEEN SENT BY THE GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE.”
No text on the solicitation shall be larger than the above required words. Failure to comply with these provisions shall be considered an unfair or deceptive act or practice in violation of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act and could result in the imposition of significant civil penalties.