When most people think about identify theft, they think about someone stealing the identity of an individual. The theft of personal identifying information, credit card information, and online account login credentials is all over the news these days and these instances of identity theft affect millions of individual Americans each year.
But there is another form of identity theft that preys on the identity of businesses. This type of identity theft is called corporate or commercial identity theft, and it is similar to what happens to individuals when their identities are stolen. A thief steals identifying information about a company or business, and then poses as a legitimate business owner or as an authorized employee, to make fraudulent purchases, financial transactions, or apply for lines of credit.
How Does It Happen?
Cyber thieves easily hack into the weakly secured computers and servers of business to gather the information they need to commit fraud, or they send out phishing email scams to employees of the target business in an attempt to gain the information they need to hack into a business’ computer systems. Old-fashioned identity thieves, on the other hand, might rummage through a business’ trash to get information that can be used to impersonate an employee or business owner.
Impacts of Corporate Identity Theft
The impact of corporate identity theft on a business can be immense:
● Cash flows are often impacted, which in turn impact business operations as employees, vendors and suppliers cannot be paid.
● Lines of credit can be opened fraudulently.
● Credit ratings can be damaged.
● Business reputations can suffer.
● Business relationships and partnerships can be harmed.
Working through a case of business identity theft consumes a significant amount of time and resources. Not only must the problem be identified, but steps need to be taken to notify anyone who may be affected by the fraud that the fraud has occurred, and steps must be taken to stop the fraud from perpetuating further.
Ways To Protect Your Business From Corporate Identity Theft
Protecting a business from cyber threats is a big undertaking, and short of operating a business completely offline, all businesses are exposed to at least some degree of cybersecurity risk. The best defense is a good offense when it comes to protecting your business from corporate identity theft.
● Educate yourself and your employees about the importance of cybersecurity and protecting the business from identity theft.
● Educating employees about password protection, good email practices and other simple security measures for protecting the business.
● Educating employees about schemes and tricks commonly used by hackers and identity thieves to break into business computer systems.
● If an identity theft occurs, quickly take action to notify all employees, business partners and others who may be impacted by the identity theft.
● Consider purchasing business insurance that explicitly covers cybersecurity breaches.
● Consistently monitor for instances of fraud.
Contact An Identity Theft Protection Lawyer
Identity theft happens to individuals and businesses alike. If you or your business become the victim of identity theft, you should consult with an experienced identity theft protection lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the professionals at the Bromberg Law Office, P.C. today to schedule an appointment.