December is National Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness Month and the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations is launching the “Mind Your Sunbizness!” initiative, which aims to provide information and resources to help Florida business owners take steps to prevent business identity theft. All business entities in Florida are required by law to register with the Division of Corporations and file an annual report, but it is critically important that business owners check their business filings often throughout the year and ensure their contact information is up-to-date with the Division in order to receive alerts if their business filing has been changed.
“Business identity theft is a growing concern for the Department, which is why we want to remind business owners to ‘Mind Your Sunbizness!’ and use the helpful information and resources we have available to take steps to protect their business filing information,” said Secretary of State Ken Detzner. “By checking their filing information regularly on Sunbiz.org and monitoring any alerts received from the Division of Corporations, business owners can greatly reduce their risk of business identity theft.”
Florida business entities can follow these simple steps to protect their business filing information with the Division of Corporations:
- Ensure the email address on file with the Division is up-to-date. The Division will send an email alert if any changes are made to your business filing. Business owners can verify the email on file for them by emailing [email protected].
- Check your business filings often by visiting SunBiz.org to ensure the information is accurate and has not been fraudulently changed.
- Monitor your business’ credit report, accounts and bills.
While there is no foolproof method to prevent business identity theft, by following the simple steps above a business owner can greatly reduce his or her risk and possibly detect fraudulent activity quicker so that corrective action can be taken.
If you receive an alert from the Division of Corporations that your filing information has been changed but it was done without your knowledge or consent, immediately contact the Division at 850-245-6000 to correct the information. You should also contact your bank and credit card providers, file a report with local law enforcement and report any issues to the fraud department at the credit reporting agencies such as Equifax, Experian and Transunion. They can place a fraud alert on your file that will tell creditors to contact you before any accounts are opened in your name.
For more tips on how to “Mind Your Sunbizness!”, please visit Sunbiz.org or check out the Sunbizness Identity Theft Resource Guide.
About the Division of Corporations
The Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations serves as the State of Florida’s official business entity index, and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through Sunbiz.org. As the first stop for starting or staying in business in Florida, it is also an excellent resource for locating businesses operating in the Sunshine State. The Division is a ministerial filing agency with two broad functional services; formalizing the legal standing of a business or activity by accepting and indexing the filing or registration, and supplying information and certification regarding the filings and activities of record. The Division maintains over eight million records and annually performs approximately five million activities. For more information, visit Sunbiz.org.