Secretary of State Warns Businesses of Recent
“Certificate of Existence” Scams
The Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office and the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office warns the business community of deceptive letters requesting a $90.50 fee to order certain business documents from the Secretary of State’s Office. The Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office received numerous reports of a company using the fictitious name, MS Certificate Service, soliciting misleading “2020 Certificate of Existence Request Forms” (a copy of which is enclosed) to businesses throughout Mississippi. This solicitation is not sent or authorized by the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office. We’ve made sure registered businesses in Mississippi are aware they do not have to respond or send payment to the third party, MS Certificate Service.
“Scams like this resurface quite often in an attempt to cheat hardworking, unsuspecting business owners who are doing their best to stay on top of everything,” said Secretary Michael Watson. “Our office takes pride in having an affordable business filing system, and we work hard to make sure no business owner gets taken advantage of by groups like this. We encourage all businesses to be vigilant and report anything suspicious or misleading. A big thank you to those who brought this one to our attention.”
Misleading solicitations may:
- Require a fee.
- Cite specific Mississippi statutes.
- Contain a due date for your response.
- Appear similar to a government form.
- Contain a “Customer ID Number” that does not match a number given to you by a State or Federal Agency.
- Contain a warning to make sure that the form’s instructions are followed exactly when completing the form.
- Contain your business entity’s actual business ID number and date of formation, as reflected in the Secretary of State’s business records.
A certificate of good standing in the state of Mississippi can be ordered online at www.sos.ms.gov. Online processing costs $25 and is immediate.