COLORADO SPRINGS — Here in Colorado the Secretary of State and Attorney General’s Office are teaming up to take a tougher stance against business identity theft going on in our state. A new state law has set requirements in place to track complaints, providing extra protection for consumers and small business owners.
When somebody registers a business with the State of Colorado using someone else’s address, personal information, or modifies existing information for a business without permission, it’s business identity theft.
It’s happening often enough in Colorado that lawmakers recently passed a bill signed into law by the governor establishing a complaint process to help investigate this fraud that can ruin someone's credit and even shut down a business.
”So essentially taking the identity of that business and molding it into something else that is fraudulent,” said Adah Rodriguez of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado when asked to define the problem.
She says small businesses in the Pikes Peak Region are often targeted by business identity theft because historically they haven’t had the resources to fight back or rebuild after their brand and reputation are damaged.
”It can drain a bank account. It can cause confusion in the community enough so that consumers are no longer using the legitimate business. There are lots of ways a business can be ruined because of business identity theft,” said Rodriguez.
After hearing testimonies like this, Colorado lawmakers passed the “Combating Business Identity Theft Act” taking a tougher stand against this fraud.
News5 spoke with Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser who says his office is now partnering with the Secretary of State to hold bad actors accountable.
“Watch your credit history, see if people are opening up businesses or credit cards under your name,” warned Weiser. “We want to make sure that any of these companies who are selling these deceptive services about helping you renew your business certificate or what have you, we can stop it and make that sort of behavior illegal.”
The Secretary of State has a new tool to help consumers and small business owners check on their personal and business information to make sure it’s safe and the Attorney General has an identity theft repair kit you can access if you run into trouble.
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