News & Resources

Businesses are vulnerable to identity theft

Sep 27, 2013 Dave King

Consumers are advised to take numerous precautions to prevent becoming victims of identity theft, including monitoring their bank statements, credit reports and debit card accounts. However, rarely are they advised on what to do to protect their professional holdings, especially if they own a business, from being victimized similarly.

Business identity theft isn't a novelty nor is it rare. It can occur by someone selling knock-off products or qualifying for credit under a firm's name. These actions are most commonly accomplished through data breaches and hacking committed by both criminals and disgruntled employees, WZDX-54 reported.

And while it may be considered impossible to avoid all attempts at data breaches and identity theft, there are a number of steps that companies can take to lessen the likelihood of this occurring, the news station explained.

For one, companies will want to pay attention to how they protect their federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), which works similarly to a Social Security Number. It can give criminals an all-access pass to identity theft and other types of fraud, according to WZDX-54.

Additionally, any and all documents with pertinent payment information or account numbers should be securely stored, with only a few people having access. In the same vein, many states offer businesses the chance to sign up for alerts when information about their company has been changed on government records.

A growing sector of identity theft that companies should keep their eye on is medical records. In fact, a new survey from the Ponemon Institute revealed that medical identity theft is up by 20 percent over the same time last year, affecting approximately 1.84 million U.S. victims. For businesses that offer health insurance to employees, this could result in thousands of dollars being wasted.