Warning Signs of Business Identity Theft
Identity Theft Warning Signs
Identity thieves don’t just go after individuals. The past few years have seen a dramatic increase in criminals aiming at bigger targets. Preparing your company to understand identity theft warning signs is crucial. By impersonating businesses, they drain accounts, open credit lines, and steal customer information. Thieves pretend to be owners or employees to create false credentials. They might also mimic company e-mail communications, websites, and more.
If successful, business identity thieves can leave a company deep in debt. Including legal and tax troubles, bad credit reports, and a ruined reputation. Luckily, there are ways to safeguard your business from such consequences. Many fall, victim because they fail to recognize warning signs. By the time they do bills are showing up or law enforcement gets involved. By learning to spot the red flags on your own, you can prevent criminals from ever getting that far. Protect your finances by recognizing signs that you might be subject to corporate identity theft.
What are some warning signs of identity theft?
Early signs of corporate identity theft
Criminals often start with scams or by impersonating company higher-ups to collect information. Catching phishes prevents thieves from getting enough information to steal your identity. Watch out for:
- Seemingly official emails to owners or employees. These could be asking for account numbers, passwords, usernames, SSNs, etc.
- Bills and invoices for services you don’t use or items you did not buy
- Urgent requests for wire transfers from a CEO or higher up
- Unverified credit applications
Later signs of business identity theft
The earlier you catch small business identity theft, the better. If a criminal has begun to impersonate your business, you might experience:
- A disruption in regular billing schedules
- Charges or notices for new accounts that you didn’t make
- The IRS rejects your tax return or claims that you have already filed an unfiled claim
- A notice from the Secretary of State saying that your business address or that owner or manager’s names changed
How does identity theft affect businesses?
Business identity cloning can be devastating to a company, especially a small business. The IRS reported in 2016 that there were 4,000 reported business identity theft cases. These cases guaranteed a combined $268 million in costs. Beyond initial cash loss, small business identity theft can sink your credit score. It can upset supply chain payments and schedules. And it can get you in trouble with the IRS and state tax organizations.
Worst case, you might lose all credibility with current and potential customers. When thieves steal customer information by impersonating your website or e-mails, it’s hard to regain trust. Business identity theft can result in personal identity theft.
How can criminal identity theft occur?
The National Cyber Security Society names four ways that business identity theft occurs:
- Financial fraud:
- Thieves use your business name and information to open credit cards.
- Trademark ransom:
- Criminals trademark your logo or name and charge high amounts for you to repurchase it.
- Tax fraud:
- Impersonators file returns for your business, using your subsidies or stealing your returns.
- Website or Identity Cloning:
- Thieves pretend to be your business online to steal customer information.
Business ID theft protection
Comprehensive business ID theft protection involves preventative measures and continuous monitoring. Precautions like strong passwords and turning on fraud alerts for accounts go a long way. You should be cautious about the computers you use to log in to business accounts. Make sure to run current anti-virus and security software on all company devices.
Modern identity thieves have places like the dark web to hide. This means you’ll need reliable monitoring is often out of a business’s scope. This is where Elevated Technology’s business identity theft monitoring come in. We scan the internet’s deepest pages to ensure your company’s information is not out there for sale. We predict criminal activity based on industry trends, to ensure you stay guarded. Our services have allowed businesses in the Houston area to catch the theft early.
Reporting business identity theft
If you find yourself a victim of corporate identity theft, act fast to guard your accounts. Contact your bank and credit card company to let them know that your account is compromised. You should then notify law enforcement and government agencies. Also, report the theft to credit reporting agencies.
Taking the first step: business identity theft monitoring
With such devastating consequences, threats of business identity theft can loom over owners. But, by watching for identity theft warning signs and taking business ID theft protection measures, you can keep the clones at bay. The experts at Elevated Technology are here to help Houston businesses do just that. Contact us today to take the first step with business identity theft monitoring.[addtoany]