JACKSON, Miss. (WTOK) – Mississippi’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against a company accused in an ongoing business scam, following an investigation by the office of Secretary of State Michael Watson.
Watson says his office first received reports about Centurion Filing Services, LLC, in February. According to customers, the company, which operates under the fictitious name, MS Certificate Service, targets new businesses by sending a misleading “2020 Certificate of Existence Request Form” through the mail. The document, described as misleading by the secretary of state, encourages business owners to pay a $90.50 fee to receive a Mississippi Certificate of Existence. As of today, Watson says the scammers have profited between $170,000 and $260,000.
Mississippi businesses can actually receive a Certificate of Good Standing from the secretary of state at its website, sos.ms.gov. Online processing costs $25 and the certificate is available immediately after purchase.
“This scam has affected more than 2,700 of our small businesses,” said Watson. “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to hinder our business community, and no Mississippian should face the additional nightmare of becoming a victim of fraud. I’m proud of my team for working diligently to gather the facts in this case, and I’m thankful for the Attorney General’s partnership in bringing justice those who have been impacted.”
Watson says the business services division received many complaints and a cease-and-desist letter from the AG’s Office was sent to Centurion Filing, to which the company has not responded.
Businesses may report deceptive or misleading solicitations to the Business Services Division at (601) 359-1633, or the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-281-4418 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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