Whether you can be "screwed" or not depends on the form of business that you have. If you have a corporation (you did refer to "shares"), many states do not require that the owners' names appear on the certificate of incorporation. The rights of the owners are determined by the state's corporation law, the bylaws, and the shareholders' agreement. If you are in a general partnership, you've entered a murky area, because general partnership certificates do require disclosure of the identities of the owners. Best to review the paperwork with an attorney in your state to get the peace of mind you're seeking.