The Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office continues to receive reports from the business community regarding a company using the fictitious name, MS Certificate Service. According to customers, the company is soliciting misleading “2020 Certificate of Existence Request Forms” (see image below) to businesses, particularly new businesses, throughout Mississippi.
Our office issued a notice about the MS Certificate Service scam in February, warning the business community of deceptive letters requesting a $90.50 fee to order certain business documents from the Secretary of State’s Office. As of today, the scammers have profited more than $175,000 from Mississippi businesses.
The solicitation below is not sent or authorized by our office. Registered businesses in Mississippi do not have to respond or send payment to the third party, MS Certificate Service. Our office will continue to work closely with the Attorney General’s Office to protect Mississippi businesses from this deceitful practice.
A certificate of good standing in the state of Mississippi can be ordered online at sos.ms.gov. Online processing costs $25 and is immediate.
Businesses may report deceptive or misleading solicitations to the Secretary of State’s Office or the Attorney General’s Office. The Mississippi Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline is 1-800-281-4418.
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.