There is no doubt that you have at least heard about someone becoming the victim of identity theft; but did you know that your business can also become the victim of identity theft? Business identity theft, which is also sometime referred to as commercial identity theft or corporate identity theft, is similar to when identity theft happens to an individual. A thief steals information related to the business and then poses as the business to make purchases, open lines of credit and transact other business illegally. The impact to the business owner is immense as the hijacking of a business’s identity can result in damaged credit, business operational problems due to cash flow issues, the loss of time and loss of resources.
Just like identity theft can happen to anyone, it could also happen to any business. Thieves hack into business computers and servers and help themselves to whatever information they can obtain access to that can be turned into financial gains. This can include stealing your business-related financial information, business records and information relating to your customer data.
A lot of identity theft and theft of business data is accomplished through phishing scams. Business owners or employees are lured to fake sites where sensitive information is logged in, or spyware is unwittingly downloaded. Once the desired information is obtained, these digital thieves go to town with their spoils, posing as the business and illegally obtaining money.
How Can You Protect Your Business?
There is no real way of insulating your business from hackers and identity thieves short of operating your business completely offline, and very few businesses can survive using such an antiquated business model. As such, your best means of protection is to take steps to prevent cyberattacks on your business, and if your business is the victim of identity theft, your best approach is to quickly identify the problem and take action to stop the fraud immediately. Furthermore, there are insurance products available for companies to protect themselves from cyber liability.
Preventing and Deterring Digital Theft
The Internet is the equivalent of the Wild West when it comes to privacy. Everything that is posted, sent or transmitted through the Internet can be intercepted and hacked, even if the files being transmitted are encrypted. There are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk. For instance, refrain from communicating financial records, account numbers, passwords and other sensitive business-related data online; password protect your computer and sensitive files, and only use trusted websites when making online purchases and transactions for your business.
Constant Monitoring Of Your Business’s Financial Affairs
Early detection is key to reducing the amount of damage an identity thief can do to your business. Credit report monitoring and setting up fraud alerts for bank and credit accounts associated with your business are a few good first steps for early detection of identity theft. However, upon detection or suspicion of fraud or business identity theft, you should take steps to protect and secure other accounts associated with your business. As soon as the theft is detected and confirmed, you should notify your banks, credit card companies and the authorities, as well as your suppliers, vendors and buyers, so that everyone is put on notice that your business has been the victim of identity theft. Next steps include disputing any charges or fraudulent accounts with the appropriate agencies. Finally, you should get into contact with an experienced business identity theft or cybersecurity attorney to help you deal with your business’s identity theft issues.