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Avoiding business identity theft

Jan 23, 2013 Dave King

Avoiding business identity theft

While identity theft has ravaged the consumer population, even beginning to effect children who have never entered a store or bought an item online, businesses are at increased risk of being affected by the crime. The issue is two-fold for companies - personal identity theft stemming from negligent processes can lead to poor reputations and stolen business information can lead to massive financial losses. These problems are especially apparent for companies that manage credit card information.

Businesses need to keep a close watch on accounts payable and receivable while also using strong firewalls and other security software to safeguard networks and data from potential threats. As more companies begin to use social media and other highly public platforms for marketing purposes and public relations, there is an increased need for sound management of all processes. Failure to use these tools responsibly can lead to business identity theft and subsequent issues.

Protecting against social media identity theft

Legal-yogi recently explained several methods of protecting a business from social media-based identity theft risks. According to the news provider, social media has become so popular because it is likely the more affordable and effective platforms to create loyal customers, reach new target markets and improve reputations despite the length of time a business has been in operation.

The source asserted that con artists always try to capitalize on hot trends among companies and consumers, and these threats often become much more effective in their strategies over a relatively short period of time. Businesses need to avoid several common scams, such as criminals taking over company social media pages through a process referred to as 'squatting' and putting dangerous links that steal customers' money.

Additionally, Legal-yogi explained that some scammers will squat on the website for a long time undetected, looking for the most opportune time to ask for money for products that will never be shipped. Criminals capitalize on the fact that very few social media users actually research companies before doing business with themor connecting via the legitimate website.

For obvious reasons, it is the company's responsibility - not the social media provider's - to ensure its pages on the networks are being taken care of regularly and not overtaken by incendiary forces. Further, the source suggested business executives use new software programs that help better detect when a social media page has been compromised by identity thieves.

Business identity theft explained
On its website, Legal-yogi describes business identity theft as the process of taking over a company's corporate personality to successfully steal money from current or prospective consumers. The source explained that businesses have more to lose by way of reputability among consumers, though financial programs can be serious as well.

The website implored business owners to diligently manage all accounts payable and receivable transactions, social media websites, marketing campaigns and more, as criminals can use a variety of access points to successfully thwart security protocols. Further, executives should consider building complex detection and response policies, then educating all employees in these guidelines, to ensure that matters are resolved in a quick and efficient fashion should they occur.

Enterprises need to be proactive in defending systems, as well as customers and employees, from the threat of identity theft. Several federal departments and advocacy groups offer a variety of methods to deter this type of crime. These include the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Identity theft - both personal and business - continues to become an increasingly serious issue, and companies can curtail these problems through responsible processes.