Gulfshore Insurance > Gulfshore Blog > Commercial Risk Management > Business Identity Theft is on the Rise

identity-theftThere is a new form of identity theft in Florida, and it is affecting businesses and the information they have on file with the State of Florida.  You need to be aware of this latest scam and how to prevent it from happening to your business.

All business entities in the state (like corporations and limited liability companies) must register with the state’s Division of Corporations, the keeper of the official records for all business entities in the State of Florida.  The information kept on file by the Division of Corporations, which includes a company’s name, address, and names and addresses of owners/directors, is public and available to anyone who logs into the Division of Corporations’ website at

Because this information is available to the general public, identity thieves are logging into and changing an individual company’s information as well as their contact email address (email is the only way the Division of Corporations corresponds with businesses.)  The thieves then use these altered records to open new bank accounts, redirect a company’s mail to a new address, or fraudulently obtain lines of credit.  In some cases, thieves have even used the altered information to get contracts and collect cash for work performed, leaving the original company with the tax burden.

Right now, a company’s information on file with the Division of Corporations at is not password-protected, and the system cannot prevent an unauthorized user from going online and changing the information on file for any given company, leaving businesses vulnerable.  However, the Division of Corporations has instituted an email alert process, where they will send an email notice to any business entity if that entity’s mailing address or FEIN is changed on  If the change was not authorized, the business can then notify the state right away by using a link provided in the email.  However, this only works if the email address on file with the state is the correct and authorized one.

If you are registered with the Division of Corporations, it is important to periodically check and verify the data on file with the state, to make sure no unauthorized changes have been made.  At, a business can click on “Search our Records” then “Inquire by Name” and enter their business name.  When you click on their company’s name, all the company’s information currently on file with the state will come up.  Businesses should check it over carefully and make sure the information on file is accurate, especially the business mailing address, FEIN, and authorized contact email address.

More information about business identity theft is available from the National Association of Secretaries of State at  If you have any questions about submitting policy change requests, please contact our Policy Services Department at 888-262-4483.

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