Colorado Secretary of State sent this bulletin at 01/26/2012 10:30 AM MST

Denver, Colorado – Secretary of State Scott Gessler today invited business owners and filers to password protect their filings to safeguard against business identity theft. As business filers incorporate in Colorado or file their annual reports online, they will now have the option to create their own password to prevent unauthorized changes to their records.

“Businesses in Colorado deserve to know that their information filed with the Secretary of State’s office is secure,” Gessler said. “Since taking office a year ago, I have heard loud and clear from the business community that my office needed better safeguards. I’m happy to say that we delivered. Colorado is a model for the rest of the country.”

The state first uncovered business identity theft in 2010, when these identity thieves targeted businesses by illegally manipulating data on secretaries of state web sites. After hijacking business identities, they took out credit using the company’s good name, forcing businesses to rebuild their credit history.

“In today’s tough economic climate, businesses need to focus on creating jobs, not worrying unnecessarily about business identity theft,” said John Brackney, president and CEO of the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce. “This innovative tool developed by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office allows companies to get back to business and grow the economy.”

Last year, Gessler worked with Representative B.J. Nikkel (R-Loveland) and Senator Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) to draft legislation to allow the Secretary of State’s office to implement a password protected business filing system. Following passage of that bill, the office immediately began building the password protection system.

“At a time when the state is encouraging job growth and business investment in Colorado, corporate identity theft threatens to become a serious problem,” Nikkel said. “Securing these business filings will help protect the valuable credit necessary for Colorado businesses to stimulate our economy.”

Working with law enforcement and the private sector, the Secretary of State’s office is a national leader in combatting the growing problem of business identity theft. Gessler continues to work with law enforcement agencies and national stakeholders to identify the criminals and shut down their operations. He currently co-chairs the National Association of Secretaries of State Business Identity Theft Task Force, helping other states curb this criminal activity.

Current business filers can now add password protection to their filings by going to their business’ summary page and clicking “Set Up Secure Business Filing.” From there, simply request a PIN that will be mailed to the address already on file. New businesses registering can set-up a password as part of their registration. For more information, please click here.