Business Scams

Business Scams

The Montana Secretary of State’s office is charged with registering businesses that intend to transact business in Montana. Once a business entity has filed all the required documents with our office, it is granted a status of “Good Standing.” However, the “Good Standing” status means only that the business entity has filed all required documents in order to be authorized to transact business in Montana. The Secretary of State’s office does not inquire or investigate as to the integrity of a business registered with our office.

Individuals wishing to investigate or make further inquiry regarding the integrity of a certain business may contact the Better Business Bureau. Information regarding consumer complaints can be obtained from the Montana Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection. Scams pertaining to insurance in Montana are reviewed by the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance.

Scam Targeting New Businesses (August 2014)

NOTICE! A solicitation is being mailed to business owners across the country asking them to pay a fee in order to obtain a Certificate of Existence. (View a copy of the solicitation.) This company is not affiliated with the Montana Secretary of State. The solicitation is not sanctioned by or generated by the Montana Secretary of State. An official Certificate of Existence may be obtained directly from the Montana Secretary of State. Entities may obtain a hard-copy Certificate of Existence online directly through our website, or by sending a paper request with the $5.00 fee.

The status of entities registered with the Montana Secretary of State is viewable by the public on our website 24 hours a day at

Scam Targeting Secretary of State Customers

SCAM ALERT: There is an email scam circulating the Internet that is falsely affiliated with the Montana Secretary of State’s office. Opening the attachment/link(s) included in the email may compromise your personal or work computer. Click here to read more.

Scam Targets Montana Employers Asking for Account Information

The Montana Department of Labor and Industry is warning employers of a second scam targeting Montana employers. The Department has taken calls from employers who have received a letter allegedly from the Department of Labor requesting banking information noting that automatic withdrawals had begun. Neither the US Department of Labor, or the Montana Department of Labor and Industry's Unemployment Insurance Division have sent letters out to employers asking for their banking information.

Any Montana employer receiving this fraudulent request is encouraged to call the Montana UID fraud investigator at (406) 444-1709.

Scam Involving “Annual Minutes Records Form.” Mailings designed to look like official notices from state government or private businesses are circulating the nation with a request for businesses to pay a fee to complete a “Minutes Records Form.”

Montana law does not require corporations to file a “Minutes Records Form” or pay any fee associated with completing the form. If you receive one of these phony mailings, or have a question about a request for payment that you have received, please contact our office immediately at (406) 444-3665.

Business Identity Theft Resource Center: Information to help prevent identity theft.

BBB’s Naming Names: A monthly newsletter regarding business complaints.

“How to Smell a Rat”: Commissioner of Securities and Insurance.

Consumer Alerts: Montana’s Attorney General.

Fighting Back Against Identity Theft: Federal Trade Commission.

Watch out: Fake Business Certificates

Several states have recently experienced issues with individuals falsifying business certificates issued by Secretary of State offices. This fraud has not been seen in Montana but consumers should be aware of this problem.

Be aware of government look-alike mail. Businesses are a known target of schemes that include official-looking mailing with requests for payment. It is good practice to read the fine print on every form and to verify all payment requests with the associated agency. If you have any questions about the legitimacy of a mailing or form, please contact our office immediately.

If you suspect a business certificate may be false, please contact our office at (406) 444-3665. You may also confirm if the business is actively registered with the Secretary of State’s office by searching the Secretary of State's Business Entity Search site at

Need a labor law poster? They’re available free of charge at the MT Department of Labor & Industry – Workforce Services Division.

The “Five in One” posters encompass Equal Employment Opportunity, Family and Medical Leave Act with Military Family Leave (employers with 50 or more employees), Federal Minimum Wage (Fair Labor Standards Act), and the Polygraph Protection Act. Federal regulations also require posting the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

Posters required by Montana law include: Proof of Unemployment Insurance coverage (provided by the Department of Labor and Industry, Unemployment Insurance Contributions Bureau) and Proof of Workers’ Compensation coverage, (provided by Workers’ Compensation Insurance carrier).