Business identity theft is a nightmare for any business owner. The costs associated with having a business’s identity stolen are huge and the impacts of business identity theft could just be enough to put you out of business. The best defense is a good offense, and this is especially true when it comes to protecting your business’s identity. There are some basic steps you can take to protect your business from identity theft.
Maintain a Low Profile
As obvious as this sounds it is extremely important. Maintaining a low profile includes avoiding publicly sharing anything that has the potential to put the company at risk. You should have guidelines in place for employees, especially when it comes to social media—both personal and professional. Properly train all of your team members on common business identity theft practices and things to watch out for.
Always being prepared is the best thing you can do to avoid becoming a victim. You should be regularly reconciling and reviewing all financial statements, business registration information, credit reports, and others—even for closed accounts. If you have the budget, it may be in your best interest to hire a good accountant.
Invest in Security
You may be able to trust your staff when it comes to your business’s security; but there are many other potential weak spots for your business’s identity to be stolen. Investing in good cybersecurity software and technology can save your business thousands of dollars by avoiding a data breach. Cyber liability insurance is another way business owners can protect themselves and their business from the damaging effects of business identity theft and data breaches.
Talk to Other Business Owners
Your business is not alone in its quest for security. Talk to other business owners in your area or industry and learn about the measures they are taking to protect their businesses from identity theft. If you have been the victim of business identity theft, talking about your experiences with other business owners may help them to avoid the same fate. Conversely, you may want to talk to a business owner that has been the victim to learn about ways in which you can avoid it.
What to do if You are a Victim of Business Identity Theft
Remain calm, do not panic. You can recover from this if you take the right steps. Here is what you need to know if you believe you are the victim of business identity theft.
Collect All of the Information that You Can
Firstly, if you believe that your business has been compromised, collect all of the information that you possibly can. Understanding the full extent of the fraud and damage to your business is the first step in fixing the problem.
After you have gathered all of the information possible, file a police report, and submit a complaint with the FTC. Once you have filed a police report and submitted a claim, the next step is to close any accounts that have been illegally opened or affected by the fraudulent activity.
Alert Business Credit Bureaus
Finally, you need to alert at least one of the three major business credit bureaus of fraudulent activity. This will ensure you are notified of any credit requests, stopping the ability for the identity thief to open credit accounts in the name of the business.