Protecting your company from corporate identity thieves

As a small business owner, I never really thought about the possibility of someone "stealing" my corporation and its credit history and selling it to someone else. After all, I control the corporation and the state has me listed as the Registered Agent, so nothing can happen without my approval. Right? Wrong.

A business owner in Las Vegas found out the hard way that it's relatively easy for thieves to make off with your corporation. Richard Krawczyk owns many "shelf corporations." They're business entities registered with the state but not actively operating. He sells these corporations after they've been registered for a few years. Entrepreneurs like buying them and putting their new business operations under the names because the registration of the corporation years earlier makes the business looked "aged," and therefore better in the eyes of lenders.

But recently one of Krawczyk's corporations was hijacked. In a case of corporate identity theft, his company "Corporate Business Services Inc." had its name changed to "Challenger Biz Services Inc." and the president changed to a California man named Ralph Rogue. Rogue says he bought the shelf corporation from a company called "Corporate Credit Association of America Inc." for $10,000, and didn't know that the corporation was essentially stolen.