Corporations Elections Licensing Securities

Corporate ID Theft Information


Business identity theft (also known as corporate or commercial identity theft) is a form of identity theft in the criminal enterprise. A criminal can change the corporate registration information of a business, such as altering the names of the corporate officers, and then use the business’s corporate registration history along with additional false documents to establish lines of credit with banks or retailers. Identity thieves can then purchase items that can be bought and exchanged for cash or sold with relative ease.

The damage can be devastating to both the entity that had the unauthorized change to its corporate information and the bank or retailer doing business with the corporation. The damage to the business entity’s credit history can lead to denial of future credit or simply increase the cost of future borrowing for that entity, which can lead to operational problems. The cost to clean up and correct the damage can reach hundreds to thousands of dollars and hours of lost time. The damage can be devastating to the victim’s business. The damage to the victim’s credit history can lead to denial of credit, which can lead to operational problems. The cost to clean up and correct the damage can be hundreds of dollars and hours of lost time.
 

Resolving issues caused by business identity theft can be a time-consuming and challenging process. The following tips will help you if you are a victim.

  • Correct the unauthorized change to your entity’s corporate registration on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website and sign up for email notifications, as further detailed below.
  • Immediately contact your local law enforcement agency to obtain a police report.
  • Contact the bureau of investigation for any state in which unauthorized use of your business’ identity was perpetrated.
  • Contact the Georgia Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection.
  • Immediately contact your bank(s) and credit card provider(s) and report the theft.
  • Compare your EIN with the EIN of the hijacked business and report any differences to the credit reporting agencies.
  • Contact your business creditors and billing companies, and notify them of the criminal activity perpetrated in the name of your business.
  • Contact creditors where the fraudulent accounts were opened, and request copies of all documentation used to open or access the account(s).
  • Maintain detailed records of all actions you take so that you can create a paper trail, as this will be useful in the event you credit needs to be repaired.
  • Contact the largest credit reporting agencies and speak with the Fraud Department to report the crime and view your business credit report.

    • Dun & Bradstreet: 1-866-484-1058
    • Equifax 1-800-525-6285
    • Experian 1-888-397-3742
    • Trans Union 1-800-680-7289

    The Secretary of State’s e-mail notification program sends an e-mail to every email address associated with the corporate entity every time a change is made to any field in the corporate filing. The notification asks each entity contact with an email address on file to review the entity’s information, to make sure that the changed information is authorized and correct. We encourage you to include more than one email address with each of your entities to ensure receipt of e-mail notifications.

    Additionally, a backup security measure permanently stores every email address added to an entity’s record. This measure ensures that a person who attempts fraud can not delete email addresses to block receipt of the notifications by the rightful entity contact.

    Though the Secretary of State’s office has statutory authority to investigate consumer complaints and allegations of criminal activity in other divisions, such as Elections and Professional Licensing, we do not have statutory authority – through either the Corporations Division or the Investigations Unit – to investigate complaints of alleged corporate identity theft. However, we always fully cooperate with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that request our assistance to help them investigate potential criminal activity.
     

    Additional Tips

  • Document contacts, including names, titles, phone numbers, and extensions. Include the names and numbers of all law enforcement officers you contact.
  • Follow up all calls with a letter (with a return receipt). Also, follow up and make sure that agencies or institutions have received all documents they needed to assist you.
  • Maintain information. Do not throw away files related to the identity theft. Keep all notes, correspondences, print outs of e-mails, copies of reports, and other documents in a secure and accessible file.
  • Regularly monitor your credit report.
  • Regularly monitor your business record with the Secretary of State’s Corporations Division.
  • Review the Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft on the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection website.
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    Contact

    214 State Capitol
    Atlanta, Georgia 30334
    404.656.2881
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    © 2012 Georgia Secretary of State