Most everyone knows about personal identity theft. A renegade thief steals your personal identity – social security number, date of birth, address, full legal name. Then they go after money in your bank account, apply for loans or credit cards, etc. The results can be devastating to your finances and credit report taking hundreds of hours of time and angst to resolve.
But did you know that Business identity theft is easier and more lucrative? And the devastation can impact not only the owners but employees too. The reason this is more dangerous is because the dollars are larger. It is easier to steal from a business because all their ownership details are published by the Secretary of State.
Whenever you form a corporation or an LLC, you must provide a tremendous amount of identifying data. Thieves easily find your business details online SOS business portals.
Even worse the Secretary of State that requires this information for you to get a Corporation or LLC acknowledges on their website that business identity theft is a real problem. What happens is that a hacker steals your password. Then they change the LLC Manager or the Corporations’ officers. Meanwhile, the Secretary of State disclaims ANY responsibility if you are victimized. Go look on their websites.
Here’s one real life story – an investor owned vacant acreage in North Las Vegas using an LLC. Thieves found his LLC details at the Nevada Secretary of State’s website. It all matched up with grant deed records at the Clark County Recorder.
Thieves hacked the owner’s password for his Secretary of State account. Once inside his account they changed out the manager’s name. Slick huh?
The new LLC manager (bad guys) applies for a hard money loan. The lender sees the Manager on title. Lenders title policy okay. $2,000,000 loan closing. Not a single payment made to the lender. It’s Saturday night, off to the tables! Title company, police detectives, lender, escrow company, secretary of state all pointing fingers at each other.
The real manager had no idea this happened until much later until the loan went into default. Can you imagine this legal nightmare? What about your D&B business credit standing?
Had the real owners opted to use a Business or Realty Land Trust, the thieves would have failed to pull this off. So if you’re now thinking defensively, get your valuable assets off the public radar screen with a private trust. The Secretary of State is not your friend anymore.
Business Identity Theft is the next trend in high tech thievery and fraud. Online assets are easy targets for the bad guys. Keep your assets safe and unlisted by using a private trust.