Maine warns businesses of scam solicitations for ownership reports

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AUGUSTA — Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows is cautioning local corporations and non-profit organizations about deceptive mailings offering to file Beneficial Ownership Information Reports for a fee, which is a service provided free of charge by the federal government.

The scam, using forms that mimic official documents, solicits fees of $175 or $195 from businesses to submit these reports on their behalf.

Bellows emphasized the importance of vigilance among business owners and non-profit leaders when encountering such suspicious requests.

“The state’s Corporations Division is always a quick call or email away if they want to verify the legitimacy of a mailing,” Bellows stated.

Under the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), the reports are a federal requirement to help prevent financial crimes and must be filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

This applies to entities like corporations and limited liability companies created or registered in the United States.

The misleading forms originate from a group called C.P.S. and are similar in appearance to legitimate solicitations and forms, such as those for annual corporation reports.

New business entities are required to file a report with FinCEN within 90 days of their establishment or registration.

Existing businesses formed or registered before January 1 must submit their initial reports by January 1, 2025.

To ensure accuracy and security, business representatives should directly visit www.fincen.gov/boi for information, video guides, webinars, and a contact center for filing reports.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a press release detailing the new Beneficial Ownership Information Registry, which can be found at home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy2015.

For assistance, the Maine Corporations Division is available via email at [email protected] or by phone at 207-624-7736, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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