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Commonly Asked Questions

Secretary of State

Q :: If I registered my company with the Secretary of State, isn’t my company protected from cybercriminals?

A:: No, there are many vulnerabilities on the state site.  Once you register your critical data, it becomes a public record and anyone can see it.  They can easily change your information, including your manager in seconds because the state requires no confirmation that the person changing your information was authorized by you to do so.  The notice the State sends you will not alert you of the exact change, which gives cybercriminals unique abilities to file fraudulent paperwork about your business in order to hijack it, including all its assets.

According to the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), 83% of U.S. states do not even report Business Identity Theft.

Q :: Is Business Identity Theft really a thing?

A:: Unfortunately, it is. It happened to our founder, Andy Pham. A company he owns was hijacked and investment property worth $5 million was stolen out from under the company’s control. There are multiple threats targeting your business and this crisis continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate. Learn more here.

Q :: I’ve never heard of businesses being stolen from the SoS site. Is this just a random thing that doesn’t happen very often?

A:: No. This is a chronic problem. Despite warnings from various secretaries of states and the Council of State Governments, this type of business identity theft has been on the rise since the Great Recession of 2008. Since then, billions of dollars in assets have been drained from hijacked companies. 

According to the FBI, one case alone of business identity theft cost a company over $1 billion in damages.

Q :: Does the secretary of state assume any liability if my business is hijacked from the secretary of state site?

A:: No. Unlike losses from personal identity theft that are covered by financial institutions, states, including their secretaries of state offices, do not assume liability. Nor do they offer resources for protection or recovery.

Q:: Why isn’t business identity theft a federal crime?

A:: Although Congress passed laws in the late 1990s and early 2000s aimed at curbing personal identity theft, the law is more vague when it comes to business identity theft. But even if that was not the case, the fact remains that your company’s vital information registered with your secretary of state’s office is extremely vulnerable. Despite hundreds of thousands of thefts and hundreds of millions of dollars in stolen assets, most states have not acted to secure your company’s information.

Company Alarm Software

Q :: How does the Company Alarm monitoring service work?

A:: We monitor the information on SoS websites and text business owners the moment their information changes. That allows business owners to act fast and regain control of their companies before cybercriminals have a chance to drain assets and do any other damage. Learn more here.

Q :: How difficult or time-consuming is it to get set up and going?

A:: It is quick and easy. No hardware or set up required. It only takes a minute or two to fill out this simple form and you are protected as soon as you hit "submit."

Q :: How will I be notified if there’s a breach?

A:: By text message in real-time straight to your cell phone. This allows you to take action on the same day and save your business.

Q :: What do I have to do if I get a text alert?

A:: Immediately contact your secretary of state’s office to restore any false information on your company’s registration to its corrected state. Then, file a report with your local police agency. Learn more about the steps you will need to take here.

Q :: Does Company Alarm offer support 24/7?

A::  ABSOLUTELY!  We monitor your information 24/7 and alert you by text of any changes the moment they occur.

What do I do in the case of a breach?

Q :: If I get a text alert that my information has been compromised, is it too late to get it back?

A:: No, but it’s imperative that you act quickly. That is why Company Alarm’s 24/7 monitoring and real-time alerts are vital, and no other company but our offers this type of individualized protection.

Q :: Who do I notify in the case of a breach? Should I call the police?

A:: First, call your secretary of state’s office. Then the police (or sheriff’s department, depending on which jurisdiction your company resides). You also want to contact the FBI, FTC, and credit reporting agencies. More information is available here

Download the fraud complaint form from the secretary of state’s website and file it immediately.  Send out a cease and desist letter to the perpetrator. Go online and file a police report asap.

Prevention and Protection

Q :: How can I be proactive to ensure I don’t get hijacked?

A:: Signing up for Company Alarm’s 24/7 monitoring service means IMMEDIATE protection. It is the most effective way to prevent someone from hijacking your business and protect it from this type of growing cybercrime.