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How to tell if someone is using your identity to start/own a company?

New York, NY |

I saw my friend filling up an application on Legalzoom to open a company. All he did was entered his name, address for the articles of incorporation and to obtain the EIN he entered his SSN.

I am sort of paranoid when it comes to this kind of information but I was worried that someone might use my identity with SSN to start a company in my name and might do some wrong things. Am I right to be this concerned or is there a way to verify ownership? How can I know how many companies are under my name?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. You sound a bit paranoid. If someone used your social security number for an unlawful purpose and makes false representations to the IRS, they are most likely breaking all sorts of laws, including criminal. Then again, you are not paranoid if someone is really watching you. I am not sure, but perhaps you could send the IRS a Freedom of Information Act request to determine if anyone has unlawfully used your social security number to obtain an EIN.

    Please note that this answer is not intended to serve as legal advice for any purpose. All legal advice rendered by Kurzon LLP is done pursuant to a validly executed engagement letter signed by a partner of the firm. Neither receipt of information presented on this site nor any email or other electronic communication sent to Kurzon LLP or its lawyers through this website will create an attorney-client relationship. As well, no such email or communication will be treated as confidential except as is required by law. No user of this website should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Kurzon LLP expressly disclaims liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this website. Under the New York Rules of Professional Conduct, Section 7.1, portions of this website may be considered attorney advertising. ============================================================================== IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: U.S. federal tax advice in the foregoing message from Kurzon LLP is not intended or written to be, and cannot be used, by any person for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed regarding the transactions or matters addressed. Some of that advice may have been written to support the promotion or marketing of the transactions or matters addressed within the meaning of IRS Circular 230, in which case you should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. ==============================================================================


  2. Unless unauthorized persons have your SSN the risk is very low.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  3. That is a legitimate concern, there are companies that claim to be able to protect you from identity theft

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