Business Identity Theft
Do you believe you and your company’s identity are safe?
Identity theft is a crime that impacts the lives of over 10 million consumers each and every year and the numbers are increasing. It’s hard to imagine that one out of every 20 consumers is at risk of being a victim this year alone.
But what’s even more alarming is consumers are no longer the only ones being targeted by these criminals. Now business owners like you and I have a new kind of threat to be concerned about that can cause a whirlwind of devastation to a victim’s business.
Business identity theft is the newest threat to small businesses all across America. Imagine if a criminal seized your company’s identity, used it to acquire credit in your company’s name, and then went on a spending spree buying electronics, office equipment, gift cards, and any other items that can be sold for cash.
What type of damage would that inflict on your business?
What if you could no longer acquire any credit while you were trying to clean up and recover from this?
Don’t become a victim!
The following five strategies can help you prevent and detect business identify theft:
- Develop a protection plan – While most businesses focus on developing business plans to grow their company little attention is paid to developing a protection plan. Design a step-by-step plan to protect your company’s identity at the same time putting in place an action plan in the event that you do become a victim.
- Protect company documents – Keep all your company documents and records in a safe and secure place. Get rid of any unnecessary information by using a micro cut shredder for the highest level of security. Also, never provide your company’s federal tax identification number, financials, or bank statements to anyone unless you have made the initial contact.
- Protect company information online – One of the sure fire ways to put your company at risk is by using sensitive information like an employer identification number (EIN), account numbers, financial documents, or personal information via email or the web. If you must provide this information for a specific reason like applying for credit then make sure the site is secure and its certificate is up to date.
- Monitor your business credit report – One of the fastest ways to detect a possible identity theft is to monitor your company’s profiles with DNB, Business Equifax, and Business Experian. You can accomplish this by subscribing to their business monitoring services which give you access to your files 24/7. You should also take advantage of their email alert notifications so you can be notified of any new activity occurring on your company credit files in real time.
- Avoid the “master” user – You should avoid creating any type of “master” user account and password where an employee or individual can gain access to all your company information.
Taking the following precautions can dramatically improve your chances of avoiding business identify theft. If you believe your business is a victim you should contact your local law enforcement agency, the business credit bureaus, as well as your company’s credit and bank providers to report the theft. Also, initiate a business credit repair plan so you can get your company back on track.
As a business owner you should always remain vigilant in protecting your company’s identity as well as your own with identity theft protection. You’ve worked hard to build your business to where it is today and you should work equally as hard in protecting it.
What other ways do you protect your business identity?
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To Your Success In Business and in Life!
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About the author
Marco Carbajo is a business credit expert, author, speaker, and founder of the Business Credit Insiders Circle. He is a business credit blogger for Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp, the SBA.gov Community, About.com and All Business.com. His articles and blog; Business Credit Blogger.com, have been featured in ‘Fox Small Business’,’American Express Small Business’, ‘Business Week’, ‘The Washington Post’, ‘The New York Times’, ‘The San Francisco Tribune’,‘Alltop’, and ‘Entrepreneur Connect’.