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Recently I got email from total stranger asking us, our company, to send him electronic copy of Articles of Incorporation. I don't know what to do. He could have legitimate purpose that I cannot think of. Afraid to decline or ignore him because we could loss a potential client and since we already struggle in business, we have to do the best for every single person who contacts us. Why would someone need our Articles of Incorporation electronic document? What could be the legitimate reason(s)?

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    Customers don't want or care about your articles of incorporation. Identity thieves who want to use your AoI for their own ends (borrow money in your name, etc) do. – RonJohn Jun 28 at 21:57
  • hmm ok, i was hoping for different answer but rather having unwanted answer than none at all. Thank you. – Steve Jun 28 at 22:13
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    Let's turn the question around: have you ever wanted the AoI of a company that you thought of buying from? – RonJohn Jun 28 at 22:26
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Articles of Incorporation are used to help verify that your business is actually a business, and that it has the name you claim it has. There are quite a few entities that may wish to verify your business. For example, many banks that you wish to open a business account or loan with will likely request articles as a prerequisite. I've even had potential customers request my articles because they have rules that they can only hire corporations for consulting work (instead of individuals that would need to be paid on a 1099 basis). However, I have never had a person or company ask for my articles of incorporation out of the blue. Furthermore, I wouldn't hand them over to anyone if I didn't know exactly why they were requesting it. I can't even think of a contrived reason why someone would legitimately need them without being able to explain why, and without you initiating contact first.

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There is not a legitimate reason to respond to an unsolicited message from a stranger. Why don't you ask that person to justify their request?

  • Because I respect everyone. He asked me/us whether or not I can send him that document and if yes, then send. He didn't seem to be willing to negotiate with me about the reason. So I am asking here, instead of him directly, what could be the reason... When you get a question like that, its just YES/NO so you don't have an option to ask for the reason... But my ''no'' could mean loss of potential client... – Steve Jun 28 at 21:55
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    This has nothing to do with respecting anyone. – quid Jun 28 at 21:57
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    Would you send them to Charles Manson or Bernie Madoff if they ask you for them? – RonJohn Jun 28 at 21:59
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    When someone knocks on your door do you refrain from asking them who they are in fear of offending a potential customer by accusing them of being a thief? Maybe try not accusing anyone of anything and just ask the person who they are? – quid Jun 28 at 22:26
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    Your second sentence contradicts the first. ;) – TTT Jun 29 at 1:24

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