Incorporation. Gentlemen, Start your Scams

In addition to all the programming work of Maneno, there comes a great deal of paperwork as well. It’s not so much in the site and project alone, but more in the fact that we’re working on forming a proper 501(c)3 non-profit so that we can accept tax-deductible donations and have the project pay for its needs instead of us. We’re getting quite close and should have this all resolved in the first month or two of 2009; I hope.
Of course, the first step in all of this is being a corporate entity. That part is actually rather painless. You create some articles and send in a check to the State of California. A couple of weeks later, given that you’re not incorporating with someone else’s name, shebang, you’re incorporate. It’s rather interesting to me that the minute you do this, you suddenly pop up on all kinds of other folk’s radar. For instance, two days after receiving the certification by the state, I received a credit card application in the name of the organization. Obviously they’ve got someone sitting near the office compiling a list of all the new corporations that are formed. It appears that scammers do this as well.
A little while after I received the credit card application (which I promptly threw away), I received a form to fill out and “Remit Immediately!” to the Annual Review Board. What was being asked for was the Statement of Information Officers List. This may seem important until you read through it and see that the fee is $195 and it needs to be sent to some random address in Los Angeles. California does require this form, but the filing fee is $25 and it is sent to Sacramento, which is where all important business is sent. This group also states in one of the very last lines on the back page of their form that they are not a governmental agency, which basically makes them completely null, void, and a scam.
Just to be sure , I called the Secretary of State and while they couldn’t confirm that these guys were an outright scam, they did mention something about their lawyers looking in to it and that if something I need to send in isn’t being sent to Sacramento, then it can probably be discarded.
So, there you have it. The first scams have appeared. I’m rather curious if more are going to rear their ugly little heads, or given the nature of Maneno if we’ll eventually get hit up with some new version of the Nigerian scam.