Because many companies are putting their information online, business identity theft has become far more prevalent in recent years - however, it's still a widely underreported occurrence.
"Business identity theft is incredibly underreported," Columbia University professor Hugh Thompson tells Minnesota Public Radio. He added that no federal or state statistics track it, and very few victims are willing to report it. "There's a big stigma attached with it," Thompson adds. "Imagine you're a company trying to portray an image of being solid and reliable out to your customers. It's not something that you want to readily admit to." Business identity theft refers to when someone poses as an actual business in order to access lines of credit and possibly commit fraud using false identity verification. Some scammers even go after business' reputations, changing their contact information to obtain credit cards, make purchases and then skip out on the bill. In West Virginia, secretary of state Natalie Tennant is doing her part to curb the growing issue. She's implemented an alert system to notify companies that have filed their online presence with Tennant's office when something is changed. Owners can then confirm or deny that an alteration was made and correct the information if necessary.