HELENA – In what is being referred to as a "deceptive mailing", Montana businesses, Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen referred the matter to Attorney General Austin Knudsen for potential action on behalf of Montana businesses.
The Secretary of State’s Office has alerted Montana businesses of the misleading mailing, which is regarding a Certificate of Existence. The mailing, which is not associated with the Secretary of State’s Office, offers a Certificate of Existence for $77.50. Businesses can obtain a Certificate of Existence directly from the Secretary of State’s Online Filing Portal (biz.sosmt.gov [lnks.gd]) for $5.
Multiple businesses have contacted the Secretary of State’s Office regarding the deceptive mailing.
“For many Montanans, their business is their livelihood, and it’s important we protect that way of living,” said Secretary Jacobsen. “Similar mailings have misled businesses in other states, leading to legal action and restitution for the business owners who were deceived, which is why I am sending this matter to Attorney General Knudsen on behalf of the thousands of business owners in Montana.”
In November 2020, the Iowa Attorney General’s office sued Florida-based Centurion Filing Services, LLC, under Iowa’s consumer protection laws, resulting in the company agreeing to pay nearly $80,000 [lnks.gd] in refunds to more than 1,000 Iowa businesses.
Centurion Filing Services operates in Montana under the Assumed Business Name “MT Certificate Service.”
An example of the deceptive mailing being sent to Montana businesses can be viewed on the Secretary of State’s website by clicking here [lnks.gd].