As you’re well aware, personal information is a form of currency. Some people use this information to advertise to you, but others may want to steal your identity or engage in other criminal activities. If you are concerned about personal privacy, it is time to take steps to reduce your risk. The State of California provides personal information on the internet that may give thieves more information about you than ever before.
The California Secretary of State started sharing a PDF image of a business’s “Statement of Information” on 12/15/16.
The Statement of Information is a required filing for corporations doing business in CA. A similar statement of information is required for LLC’s.
The statement requires disclosure of the names and addresses of the principal officers of the entity and the agent who will receive service of process on your behalf. If the form is not filed electronically, it may reveal your actual signature.
What can you do? Consider using your business address or a PO Box rather than your home address on this form. Listing your home address on the form exposes your personal security to scam artists and potential criminals. To see how this data appears, click on the link, below.
Some companies appoint a corporation as the agent for service of process for limited liability entities so that personal ownership of a business is afforded an additional level of protection. For example, Facebook, Inc. appointed CSC, Corporation Service Company in Sacramento as their agent for service of process.
State of California – Unclaimed Property
The state also maintains a database of unclaimed property. At last report, the state has more than $8,000,000,000 in unclaimed property. Some of it may be yours. This site can be used to locate forgotten assets that have been turned over (escheated) to the state. If left long enough, ownership of the property changes to the State. So…if you’ve forgotten about a bank account, stock, insurance proceeds, safe deposit boxes, etc., the state hopes you won’t try and reclaim it. The state does virtually nothing to help you get your property back and they make it difficult for you to reacquire the property with red tape, etc.
This website is a wealth of information for hackers, identity thieves, and criminals. Unclaimed property can be searched by name, and it generally lists your address.
Check to see if you have some property at: https://ucpi.sco.ca.gov/UCP/Default.aspx
County and other Websites
If you own real estate, or have had lawsuits or liens filed against you, there isn’t much you can do to hide the internet footprint. It is a matter of public record. There may, however, be a process to disguise or obfuscate your personal information.
If you want more information on how to remove yourself from a website, please check with a competent information technology advisor.