SMS against Headaches

Why is it important that Bulgarian citizens and companies subscribe for SMS notifications when changes in their firm and property batch occur?

Think about how organized groups call hundreds of pensioners every day in an attempt to entrap them in tested telephone schemes. Now imagine these same people, instead of digging through old phonebooks, carefully looking through your financial accounts in the Commercial Register – analysing the income and expenses, calculating the profit and then going through your company’s properties in the Property Registry. Imagine how the people behind these groups are well educated and informed, are with mercenary intentions, and have access to an unlimited amount of companies, which they only have to analyse.

Some would say that the access to the company’s documents requires a digital signature which will certainly leave а trace of the person. The annual financial report of the companies and their articles of partnership / company contracts are accessible without authorization. This means that anyone who has Internet access can see the financial state of your company and learn your name, PIN, address, and information from your identity card.

Then why does the government not restrict the access to this information? Such restrictions would contradict the legally established principle of publicity of these registers. Every day physical persons, companies and institutions receive information from the registers which sets in motion the whole civil and commercial turnover. The protection of property rights should not come at the expense of restricting the publicity of the Commercial Register and the Property Registry. Protection should be achieved through fraud preventions.

Since February 2013 the Department of Justice has introduced an information service for SMS notifications when applications for the company’s batch enter the Commercial Register. The same goes for inscriptions, registrations and deletions in the Property Registry. Since 1 January 2015 the service has been for free for company managers and property owners. On the Registry Agency’s website you can find information how to subscribe to the service.

What is the essence of the SMS notification service?

Every time when а request for change in recorded circumstances, а request for the annual financial report or for an announcement of acts etc. enters on the batch of your company, you receive a SMS notification. If someone tries to steal your company or a partner submits an application for your exclusion from the company without warning you beforehand, you will receive a notification about this attempt before it has been inscribed in the Commercial Register.

This notification will give you the opportunity to find legal assistance and to protect your rights before it is too late.

Why is it important?

The SMS notification is a form of prevention. Imagine the following situation. Your company is developing trade activity, it has assets in bank accounts and real estate. One of the above mentioned groups submits a request (the documents are obviously not authentic) for changing the capital’s owner and the company’s manager. 4-5 days later this request is inscribed and you are no longer the owner, but you still do not know it. You do not know it because you do not check the company’s file every day. You probably do this once a month. So, while you are engaged in managing your company (or at least you think it is still yours), the new owners transfer the property and dispose with your bank accounts. Before you know it, the company’s assets disappear. You immediately turn to the procurator’s office and a lawyer. The operations and legal claims that will follow, however, probably will not return you the money from the drained bank accounts. The procurator will not authenticate the documents used for the fraud but he will not be able to find the executant.

In these cases the SMS notification service would give you a big lead – you have about five days to ask the court to stop the register procedure and to hinder the inscription.

The SMS notifications from the Property Registry are just as important. With them you receive messages whenever there are inscriptions, registrations and deletions on your property, when there are requests for a certified copy of the title of ownership or corrections in a record in the information system.

Free or paid subscription?

Receiving SMS notifications has been for free since 1 January 2015 but only if you are the company’s manager or the property owner. In case you are neither the company manager nor the property owner, but the information is of interest to you - you can use the paid subscription. Against BGN 6 you receive 500 SMS notifications for a period of two years. The subscriptions for the Commercial register and the Property Registry are separate.

The advantage of the paid subscription is that you can point out up to 10 company unified identity codes for which to receive notifications from the Commercial Register and respectively up to 10 UIC/PIN for which to receive notifications from the Property Registry. It is not required that you are the manager or owner of these companies or properties – if you are a consultant, accountant, auditor or a lawyer, it would be useful for you to have a paid subscription which will inform you every time one of those 10 companies or persons submits a change, registration, etc. This way you can immediately protect you clients if any wrongful actions are undertaken against them.

The service is also useful for co-owners as it allows every one of them to immediately learn if the other has disposed with a part of the co-owned property, has granted it on lease, has rented the co-owned property and so on.

Young people could keep an eye on both their own property and their elderly parents’, who often become victims of frauds. People living abroad can keep track on their property in Bulgaria. The examples are many.

Should you subscribe?

The described dangers of an untimely realization about inscribed changes are not exaggerated. We cannot deny the arguments that requests for change can be submitted only by the legal representatives or notary authorized individuals; that if the request is sent online, a trace will be left; that notaries and banks check the identity documents and copy information from them and other practices which defend the legal order. However, we should not underestimate the creativity of deceivers, their awareness and decisiveness. Unfortunately, there are too many examples of successful frauds.

Nearly two years the Ministry of Justice and the Registry Agency are popularizing their SMS notification service. This service is reliable, affordable and, most importantly, very useful for citizens and companies. The government is certainly on the right track with this initiative on prevention from property or company frauds. It is important that we, the citizens, support it not only because it is of our interest, but also so that the service becomes higher quality, more modern and more reliable.

Author: Teodor Todorov, Attorney-at-law