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Watch Out for Beneficial Ownership Scams

2024-04-28 – BE&O A&B

The new beneficial ownership law requires businesses to disclose information about the individuals who directly or indirectly own or control a company. But one accountant says to be on the lookout for scammers. 

Courtney Kincaid, the President and CEO of the Indiana CPA Society, says scammers are sending small business owners fake beneficial ownership forms and demanding payments to file them. 

Starting January 1st of this year, many new businesses have only 90 days to report beneficial ownership stakes in their organizations. Existing businesses have until January 1st, 2025, but any changes in ownership must be reported within 90 days.   

But Kincaid says many scammers are trying to take advantage of the confusion and take advantage of small business owners by stealing their money and business information.  

Kincaid says if you receive a notice or form proactively, it is more than likely from a scammer, and you should ignore the request and throw the form away. 

Additionally, Kincaid says not to open emails about beneficial ownership forms and not to scan QR codes inside emails. 

When in doubt, Kincaid says to talk to your lawyer or CPA about the proper way to handle beneficial ownership forms.