Corporate ID Theft
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.
Identity Theft Victim Tips
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
your business record with the Secretary of State’s
Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft on the Governor’s
Office of Consumer Protection website.