BRENTWOOD — Tennessee Baptist Convention churches are being cautioned of a scam that has targeted churches.
At least one known TBC church has been victimized.
In June the church received in the mail the “2014 Annual Minute Form for Tennessee Corporations.” Instructions called for the church to complete the form and return it with $125, which the church did.
According to a media alert from the office of Tre Hargett, Tennessee Secretary of State, this scam is similar to one that surfaced more than a year ago with an entity calling itself Corporate Records Services and using a different address.
The media alert (which was released Oct. 10, 2013) noted that Hargett’s office “has been receiving inquiries from businesses and other organizations about an official-looking notice from Annual Business Services.
“In the notices that have been mailed out to Tennesseans, Annual Business Services claims the organizations must fill out a form and pay $125 to register. However, Annual Business Services is not in any way affiliated with the Secretary of State and there is no state law requiring registration with that entity,” the media alert stated.
In addition, the standard annual fee to file a corporate registration report in Tennessee is only $20, the alert continued.
Hargett, in the media alert, said, “I strongly advise corporations and other organizations to exercise caution before providing private and confidential information — particularly credit card information — to this or any company representing itself in this manner.”
He encouraged people who receive questionable documents to call their office at (615) 741-2286 to verify its authenticity.
TBC attorney James Guenther agreed that this is a scam. He noted that on the form (received by the Tennessee church and others) that it says, “Annual Business Services is not a government agency and does not have or contract with any governmental agency to provide this service.”
“Of course, they are providing no service,” Guenther said.