At Company Alarm, we are acutely aware of how prevalent and yet under-reported business identity theft is. The State doesn't take you seriously; the authorities don't know how to help. Our founder, Andy Pham, knows from personal experience how the system has failed to protect business owners who are required to register their business with the State. With just a few mouse clicks, scammers are free to take over businesses.
In our effort to do something about it, we've met many people who have been victims. These are their stories.
Hi. I am Kym Huntley.
I have been a Las Vegas resident for the past seven years.
In 2012, I met a man that was starting a window covering business. In exchange for rent, I started helping to build the business, and because of my efforts, I was offered 25% of the business.
I incorporated the business, drawing up the complete documents myself, was issued a Federal Tax ID for the business under my social security number, obtained a business license, and started building a website.
I worked seven days a week sometimes 60-80 hours a week with no pay. I believed this was necessary in order to help build the business.
Unfortunately in 2014, my partner, after I had increased the profit margins from 15% to 48%, built a website and developed outside contracts, decided I was no longer needed, and without my consent or knowledge, went onto the Nevada Secretary of State’s website (Silverflume) and removed me not only as the Registered Agent, but also as the Managing Member of the company.
He fraudulently, and without any validation required by Silverflume, clicked a few buttons on a computer, and removed me from all state documents. In less than an hour, I was no longer - according to the state of Nevada website - an owner, agent or managing member.
The man did not stop there. With these fraudulent changes, he was able to remove me from all bank accounts, credit cards, all corporate accounts, including my phone, and ensure I had no legal access.
All of this happened without me ever being notified by Silverflume.
I was the person that had set up the Silverflume account.
I was the registered agent for the company
I was the managing member.
And, with a few clicks of a keyboard, it was all taken from me.
During my tenure, I never took a salary. My only compensation was an apartment paid out of a corporate account. As a 25% owner, I knew I had to make sacrifices for the first 24 months and I worked hard to build the business.
In 2013, our gross sales was over $287,000. But now my business partner had stolen the cash, inventory, and all of the company's assets. He left me absolutely nothing. I was destitute, and I was also homeless.
I went to the Nevada Secretary of State's Office and filed a complaint. They told me that since I knew my business partner, it was a civil matter. The State of Nevada refused to do anything. I thought the government was there to protect me as a business owner. This was only the first of many disappointments with the system which I had trusted.
The Secretary of State suggested I hire an attorney. At that point, I didn’t have the resources to hire an attorney. I couldn't even pay for one hour of legal assistance. That was only $150, but I couldn't scrape it together. I filed police and FBI reports. I also sent a letter to the IRS, because my Social Security number is the one that is associated with the Company’s EIN number.
This ordeal was devastating to me financially, and it was emotionally draining.
Looking back, I wish I had been notified immediately when my partner removed me as the managing member. With Company Alarm's instant SMS messaging, I would have been able to act sooner.
If you have been a victim of business identity theft, we want to hear from you, too. Please reach out, we'd love to talk to you.
Company Alarm is dedicated to helping business owners protect what they have worked so hard to build. Our monitoring software is designed to prevent cybercriminals from exploiting loopholes to hijack your company and assets. To sign up for this low-cost, value-added protection, click here.