How criminals use the Secretary of State to commit business identity fraud

By Dayne Williams | October 25, 2018 – 8:30am PST

 

It is not hard to access business information, on your states Secretary of State website. After all its public information. On most secretary of state web portal is free, on others there may be a nominal access charge.

Unfortunately, crooks are getting smarter. As the creative noose tightens around the stealing of personal identifying information, culprits are continuously seeking another lucrative exploits. Most business owners, officers, directors, and key executives are closely analogous with their business – be it as a guarantor, operational, or decision-making authority in the company. Consequently, business identity theft also involve the misuse, not only the business information, but the identities of these individuals.

Here are just some of the ways thieves can obtain your business and personal information:

  • Data breaches and compromised information
  • Personal credit reports and business credit reports
  • Dumpster diving (information from discarded or unattended documents)
  • Spyware, Phishing schemes
  • Black market
  • State business records and other public records

Utilizing the Secretary of State to commit financial crime is not new, but its a growing exploit and concern for business. This is how most crimes are committed on corporations.

  1.  Manipulation of previously filled, state business registration, and filing requirements.
  2. Fraudulent reinstatement of a dissolved, closed, or “dead” business
  3. Registration of a foreign business
  4. File or use an intentionally similar business name or d.b.a
  5. Change business address to issue purchase orders and accept products and invoices

Protecting your business

Capital Oversight Biz-Trac is a monitoring solution that is effective tool in protecting your business from identity theft.  These are the features and benefits of Biz-Trac:

Monitors: Actively monitors your business information 24/7, and identifies adverse changes, conflicts, and inconsistencies in your business information and corporate formation.

Detect: Identifies 15 deviated points of legal filings, entity status, and statutory agent of process, that may affect your business operation.

Notification: Immediate alerts and notifications are sent via phone, text, or email, to the authorized person(s) registered on the account.

The Bottom Line

Its imperative for all business owners, officers, directors, and key executives to circumspectly protect their identity. While protecting your personal identity is vital to your family and self, protecting your business identity is just as important. While there is no way to ensure that your business will never become a victim, proactively managing your business and personal information, with vigilance is the first step in mitigating such risk.