Wisconsin DFI and BBB Wisconsin Warn Businesses About Misleading Solicitations

Yesterday, the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and the Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin (BBB) warned businesses about solicitations designed to look like invoices arriving through postal mail and being reported to both DFI and BBB from “WI Certificate Service.”

The solicitation is designed to look like it is from the Secretary of State and requests payment of $72.50 for a “Certificate of Status.” The solicitation is not being sent by DFI, and the requested payment amount far exceeds the $10 fee DFI charges to obtain an official certificate of status online. The solicitation is not a valid invoice and businesses are advised to not pay it.

Buried within a paragraph on the mailing is the following sentence, which could easily be missed, “WI Certificate Service is not affiliated with any government or state agency and this is a solicitation for your business.” The address used by “WI Certificate Service” is actually a Madison UPS store and the toll-free phone number listed on the mailing is not a working number, according to BBB research.

These types of solicitations can mislead consumers into overpaying for documents that businesses can obtain from DFI directly,” said DFI Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld. “Carefully review all notices received and contact DFI with questions or to purchase an official certificate of status.”