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Is Your Registered Entity Susceptible to Identity Theft Attacks?

According to law enforcement officials, identity thieves have been using the Colorado Secretary of State's (the "Secretary") website to engage in business identity theft. By accessing the Secretary's website, identity thieves are able to obtain public information about Colorado registered entities, and then for a nominal fee are able to change the registered agent of a registered entity to themselves. Once the identity thieves have implemented the change, they will use the registered entity's name to apply for fraudulent lines of business credit for their own personal use.

Identity thieves are able to engage in this crime due to the lack of procedural safeguards to check the authenticity of forms implementing changes to the records of registered entities as they come into the Office of the Secretary. Oftentimes, a registered entity will not even know if a change has been made to its entity records upon the submission of a form to the Office of the Secretary.

An entity registered in Colorado can combat these identity attacks by listing an email address for the registered entity with the Office of the Secretary. Thereafter, an email notification will be sent to the listed email address upon any change to the records of the registered entity, thereby alerting it of any unwarranted changes. However, the option to list an email address for a registered entity is only a recent development and remains completely voluntary. As a result, a majority of Colorado's registered entities do not have an email address listed and may not be notified of identity theft attacks.

Therefore, if your registered entity does not have an email address listed with the Office of the Secretary, we strongly advise you to do so to try to protect your registered entity against identity theft. To subscribe to email notification for your registered entity, please visit the Secretary's website, or alternatively, you can contact Karen Roberts here at Otten Johnson (303-575-7581; and she will sign up for the email notification for you. By subscribing for email notification, you will also receive notification of when your registered entity's annual report becomes due. If you've had Otten Johnson file your registered entity's annual report in the past, or would like us to do so in the future, please contact Karen Roberts and she can coordinate with you to include Otten Johnson as a recipient of your registered entity's email notifications, thereby allowing us to continue to file your registered entity's annual report.

Additional information and resources about protecting your registered entity against identity theft can be found on the Secretary's Protect Your Business page on their website.

Otten Johnson's Business Transactions & Capital Markets practice group has substantial experience in dealing with the formation and registration of business entities. For more information on this Client Alert or on addressing such issues, please contact any of the attorneys in the Business Transactions & Capital Markets practice group (for a listing, click here.)

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